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Network News: November 5 – 11

Oklahoma’s Crowdsourced Election Coverage

Last week, we raved about your election coverage. Hope we didn’t embarrass you. We couldn’t help

Logan Layden and Joe Wertz of StateImpact Oklahoma.

ourselves. You played to your niches, focused on down-ballot state election questions and provided your audiences with information they were hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Your content was shared more widely on social media networks than anything else we’ve seen since StateImpact was born. It was awesome.

This week, Oklahoma closed the loop and incorporated some of that social media buzz into their reporting.

“We put question out there on Twitter and Facebook, asking how people voted,” reporter Joe Wertz of StateImpact Oklahoma, explained. They got many responses, including one particularly lengthy comment that that they thought illustrated an important point about a particular ballot measure. They used it as the basis for a blog post exploring why that ballot question ultimately failed.

Wertz’ reporting partner, Logan Layden, doesn’t usually play the Twitter game, but even he was inspired.

“It is great to see people respond to the work that you do,” he told us. “It makes you feel like it is worthwhile. And maybe by using this woman’s comment in a post, it will encourage more comments.”

“I’m gonna be playing the Twitter game a lot more often from now on,” he said.

Music to our ears.

Last Week’s Reader Faves

Most visited stories last week, in raw numbers:

  1. IdahoPropositions 1 2 3
  2. IndianaWhat Glenda Ritz’s Victory Over Tony Bennett Means For Indiana Schools Continue reading

Network News: October 29 – November 4

StateImpact Election Coverage Shoots And Scores

We saw our web traffic grow by more than 50 percent over the past month. That’s right: 50 percent. And a lot of that was because readers liked it and shared it with their friends. A whopping 64 percent more traffic came through social media in October than September–or just about any other month since our founding.

This can be attributed in part to interest in the election, yes. But it is also due in no small part to our reporters’ ability to keep their coverage tightly focused on state election questions.

Our strategy going into the election was to let NPR and others focus on the presidential race while we played to our niches. We set out to own selected down-ballot races. Oklahoma, Florida, Idaho and New Hampshire covered several key ballot measures; Ohio tackled state school board races and school levies; and Indiana focused on their state school superintendent race.

We followed the races closely tied to our beats and analyzed their implications. We set up explanatory topic pages related to each race or ballot measure. And we took care to make those pages SEO-friendly. Last week, as voters got Googling for information on their state-level races, it was these side-door topic pages where they found what they were looking for.  (See below for the week’s top traffic draws.)

The headline for this week is that we have largely succeeded in our goal to be the clearest source of information for state voters on these low-profile but important policy questions. For those who still haven’t made up their minds on the marquee races, there’s no shortage of places for them to go to educate themselves. But when it comes to SQ 766 in Oklahoma or Ohio’s District 5 State Board of Education race, we are it. We talk a lot about StateImpact “filing the void” that vanishing local outlets are leaving behind. That’s exactly what we are doing–and doing extremely well–with our election coverage. Nice job, folks! Continue reading