To follow up on my last post, StateImpact bloggers should be following a regimen of at least five posts a day, but ideally, even more than that. This is key to maintaining vibrancy and life to your site. If you are going to be the definitive destination for a public policy area in your state, there should be no shortage of analysis, explanation and information worth bringing to your readers attention, whether its originated from your reporting or someone else’s.
But I know y’all are balancing a lot of expectations at once. So don’t overthink it. Keep in mind that of your five posts a day, at least two are curated, you have the help of a broadcast partner and the original work you do can come in non-narrative formats. Here are some story types to help get you through the day:
Q and A’s
If you don’t have time to write a cogent analysis one day, why not have a source do it for you? Interviews not only help you establish relationships with your sources and get younew story ideas, they can also make for quick-turnarouon posts. Examples of Q and A success can be found across our network — New Hampshire’s Q/A with a billionaire’s spokesman ended up being a huge talker, and Florida’s chat with the Charter Schools USA head picked up good steam from social media. Instructions on how to format your StateImpact Q/A with the correct style are available on our documentation.
Turn a Comment Into a Post
Some of you are getting as many as 70, 80 comments on your popular posts. Get in there! I hope you’re participating in those comment discussions, but take your appreciation of your community even farther: Pull out a question from the comments to answer in a new post. Or pull out a comment, block quote it in a post, and respond or flesh it out. It’s an easy way to turn around a post that engages your crowd and shows your care about your community.
One of the best ways to “cover” something breaking on your beat is to cover-the-coverage, that is, round up what your fellow newsies have written about it. NPR’s news blog, The Two Way, does this really well. Writers take the accounts of various news sources and put it together in an authortative way. See for example how the Two Way blogged about violence breaking out at Occupy Oakland.
Lists are irresistible on the web, as we’ve discussed before. Lists imply hierarchy, promise specifics and each list item is written in a bite-sized, easily digestible chunk. They are a great way to cohere a number of items that might not fit naturally into a narrative. Try and mix it up with placing a photo with each list item, or making the list items super short.