In the past six months we’ve started talking about our “communities,” rather than our “audience,” to emphasize the two-way nature of our work.
As we’ve worked to engage with our “core communities” in person and on social media, one concern we’ve heard is: There really isn’t a community in [my state] talking about [my topic] on [social media network].
Which is why we’re excited about what StateImpact Ohio is doing. Continue reading
Bloom Goes Public With Her Twitter Roster
StateImpact Ohio‘s Molly Bloom this week shared a list that she has been carefully curating for months, if not years–her roster of Ohio educators who tweet.
Smooth move, Bloom.
The post was a hit. In terms of traffic, it nipped at the heels of that state’s most highly-visited post (on football, mind you) all week long.
It was also a success in terms of relationship building. The post inspired several Ohioans to shoot back with suggested additions, thus expanding Bloom’s realm of contacts and sources. (She had enough to fill a second post, actually.) It also earned a mention on the Ohio Department of Education’s official weekly newsletter, putting the project on the radar of several new readers and listeners in our core communities.
Molly says she didn’t come up with the idea on her own.
“It was inspired partly by a post Kyle Stokes [of StateImpact Indiana] did earlier this year and partly by the fact that I felt like I was seeing more and more Ohio teachers, principals, et cetera on Twitter,” she tells us. “It seemed like a good time to tap into that.”
We look forward to hearing more from Ms. Bloom and other Twitter superstars this week during our upcoming StateImpact Twitter webinar. Be sure to mark your calendars and call in from 2 to 3 EST this Friday, November 30. Reporters and news directors, check your inbox for more details. And if anyone else is interested in joining us, please drop us a line. Continue reading
Lessons Learned From Ohio’s Data-Palooza
Test score posts get lots of traffic. All of the time. In all of our education states.
And in almost every other StateImpact state, there is some version of test score data (e.g., gas well data, unemployment figures) that keeps them coming back.
So, we decided that it was time to iron out some rules of the road that might help us all improve the experience of sifting through these massive data dumps. We imagined who might be interested in the data, what they might want to know and how we might be able provide them with it, given the tools we have. What we developed was a series of posts, sortable tables, links and pathways that we think will help users quickly find what they are looking for and interpret what it means–and give reporters some solid resources for future stories.
With the help of data maven and StateImpact Ohio reporter Molly Bloom, here are a few maxims that we landed on:
- Keep things as simple as possible. If you are dealing with an annual data release, put the name of the year (or years) up front in the title so that readers can easily find what they are looking for.
- Present only the most crucial information in your sortable table(s). Link out to that bigger data set for further information or, better yet, create other, secondary tables with subsets of the info. Similarly, if the dataset is too large to fit into a filterable table, break it up into smaller chunks (e.g., traditional public vs. charter school)
- Put short, simple, plain-English definitions for your fields (and any institutional jargon) up top, in bullet points, and make the terms bold. Continue reading