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News When People Need It

Much of our reporting is designed to be consumed immediately — either heard over the air, read at the top of our sites or shared in the moment through social media.

But more than half of our site traffic comes from search engines, and few of users’ search terms are related to traditional spot news. Last week, only one of the five top terms was based on breaking news: is bigfoot real; fracking; keystone pipeline; earthquake; aubrey mcclendon.

“Earthquake” is a great example. Every few weeks there’s a small earthquake in Texas. Not strong enough to cause damage, but enough to send people to Google to find out what’s going on.

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has risen dramatically in recent years.

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has risen dramatically in recent years.

Now, a 2.7 magnitude earthquake isn’t something the media would normally give a lot of attention to. But there is a story to tell: Some experts believe an increase in seismic activity in certain areas  is related to how drilling waste is disposed of underground, and waste disposal policy is a natural StateImpact story. StateImpact Texas has had an earthquake topic page for months that has generated ongoing traffic.

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One Month In: A Checklist for Success

StateImpacters, you are making us so proud with all your quality content and great attitudes. Now that our first three sites have been live for more than a month, it’s time for a progress report to see where we are at and where we can improve. Newer states — it’s never too early to get into good habits.

I thought the best way to do this was for you to have a list of questions framed as challenges for your site. I broke them down in various vectors — production, promotion, particulars and habits:

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