Try This at Home

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers useful insights and ideas you can try yourself.

How to get more access to platform companies: Be one of the first to jump on a new product

The Washington Post believes that going all-in on platforms comes with rewards, including more access to the platforms themselves: When Apple News launched, the Post made all of its content available on the app, and has since been able to successfully lobby for its stories to be promoted on Apple’s platform, Lucia Moses reports. “There’s […]

The untapped potential of Facebook groups: An average post in the Boston Globe’s group for subscribers receives twice as many comments as post on the Globe’s main Facebook page

The Boston Globe’s Facebook page has nearly half a million likes — but it’s in the Globe’s Facebook group for subscribers where the newspaper is developing an engaged community. Though the subscriber group is just over a month old, an average post in the subscriber group brings in twice as many comments as a post […]

How journalists can take care of themselves after the election

Now that the election is over, it’s time for journalists to “de-campaign,” Melody Kramer writes. Kramer talks to psychiatrist Jill Shannahan about how to recover from the election and move away from around-the-clock election coverage. Among Shannahan’s advice: Be around people you like, do what feels good to you, take part in intelligent conversations about […]

Some news organizations are finding that comments can lead to increased revenue and reader loyalty, WAN-IFRA’s 2016 report on online commenting finds

Most of the news organizations surveyed in WAN-IFRA’s 2016 Global Report on Online Commenting said that comments are important (53%), but “closing the comment section is increasingly a strong consideration” because of the poor quality of comments. However, the report also found that some news organizations are finding success with comments. At The New York […]

How nonprofit newsrooms can use shareholder reports to show their impact

“The impact of nonprofit news is like any good story — if no one reads it or hears about it … your job is only halfway done,” the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s Lauren Fuhrmann and Mara Jezior write. To that end, the center publishes an annual report every November, which allows the communities it […]

Analysis from Chicago Tribune shows that character count recommendations on Facebook don’t lead to higher engagement

Facebook recommends that posts stay between 100 and 250 characters, saying that those posts see 60 percent higher engagement than posts over 250 words. Meanwhile, social media marketers claim that posts should stay under as few as 40 characters. But after using CrowdTangle to analyze six months of Facebook posts from the Chicago Tribune, deputy […]

Want your reporters to write shorter stories? Start by sending them shorter memos

“If two examples constitute a trend, then a movement is afoot among editors to encourage short writing,” Roy Peter Clark writes. The Washington Post is encouraging its reporters to avoid writing “unnecessarily long” stories by rewarding them for shorter stories, while The Wall Street Journal is making a newsroom-wide effort to “keep story lengths appropriate.” […]

How some publishers are giving chatbots personality: Actors and comedians

One major criticism of chatbots are that their interactions with users are too robotic. But some publishers and brands are addressing that by hiring comedians and scriptwriters to shape the bots’ personalities and make them sound more human. Slack integration Howdy was built with writer and former improv comedian Neal Pollack, while Google just announced […]

Posting rules at the top of the comment section leads to more comments and more civil comments

According to a study of Reddit section r/science by CivilServant, posting the rules for the comment section can lead to more comments and prevent problematic comments. CivilServant’s research found that adding a sticky comment with the rules makes it 7.3 percentage points more likely that a newcomer’s comment will not have to be removed. And, […]

‘How to do good journalism between now and Election Day’

There’s 41 days until Election Day, which may not seem like a lot of time for a news organization to shift its coverage strategy. Melody Kramer suggests some ways that news organizations can change their coverage midstream, including: Devote less time to polls and predictions, spend more time making sure voters are informed on their […]