Tagged: 'print-digital divide'

Testing Twitter on the Whitman Campus

Last week, the Whitman Pioneer broke out of its weekly publication mold a bit to cover a story about the administration’s decision to cut varsity sports funding to the Alpine and Nordic ski teams. The same day the announcement was made we had an article written by one of the Editors-in-Chief posted, and started spreading the word around campus for students to visit the site and weigh in. As I posted earlier here at CoPress, one of the major goals we wanted to accomplish with our new site was to use it as a forum for student discussion about heated topics; we saw this as a great chance to test it out.

Breaking the News

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Once the story was posted and the official announcement by the President’s Office was made we started to spread the word through a variety of means: posting on Twitter, sending emails to the student list-serve, and good old word of mouth. Our goal was to get students and community members onto the site to read about the decision and comment on it. The results showed some interesting information concerning the roles these different modes of communication played.

First, Whitman is far from a “Twitter-heavy” campus. I know of a few dozen students and staff who use it, and most of those don’t post too frequently. Thus, I was definitely interested in what type of traffic our posts on Twitter would drive to the site. The results aren’t so encouraging though. Out of over 1,200 visitors over a 3-day period only 9 (less than 1%) came from Twitter. Furthermore, these visitors only spent an average of 2 seconds on the site. Not very heartening to someone trying to use Twitter to increase traffic to our site.

While the community may not be awake to the power of Twitter, Whitman is definitely fond of email list-servs. Over the course of a couple days we posted multiple announcements to the general student list-serve about the article. This drove over 100 visitors (more than 10% of our traffic). Also, these visitors were much more likely to spend time reading the article as most spent over 2 minutes on the page.
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We Clicked On: Mixing Up Print and Online

The best piece of news this week, in my opinion, is that News Mixer will be working on WordPress integration. That’s right, the sweet piece of commenting goodness originally launched as NewsMixer.us and recently announced to be integrated with the Populous Project will be coming to the world’s most popular blogging platform and overall Swiss Army Knife.

Around the Network

In the forum this week, Greg asked about strategies for making your print edition an online feature. The idea came out of a Twitter conversation between Greg and Dane Beavers at The Oklahoma Daily, and the specific questions were:

  • After you complete a print edition, do you put a PDF or other such version of it online? Why or not?
  • If you do, is it useful? What kind of traffic does it get?
  • If you do, do you upload as a PDF or using a third-party service such as Issuu or Scribd?
  • If you do, do you tell advertisers that their ads are viewable online?

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Bridging the Print-Digital Divide with QR codes

qr_codeAs I’m sure everyone is aware, there’s been a lot of talk in the media as a whole about the fate of print news as more people (supposedly) turn to the Internet as their favored information source.

This got me thinking quite a bit about exactly why that is. Many who write about the murder of newspapers at the hands of digital media make it seem as if it is inevitable. As if to say, it must be so, because the Internet is much more shinier and newer than newsprint, and therefore must obviously be newsprint’s destroyer.

I find fault in this attribution of Darwinian evolution to our forms of media.

For the most part, our industry has looked at the Internet as either an opposing force or a distasteful side-dish that has to be served in order to appease the people. Again, I don’t believe that either has to be the case. There are ways of harnessing digital content and making it work in partnership with your print content, meshing the two together. Read more →