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Copy of How KUT Radio Covers News Online

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Wells Dunbar

on 6 May 2014

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Transcript of Copy of How KUT Radio Covers News Online

An explosion rocks of West, Texas the evening of April 16, leveling large swaths of the small town. Many basic questions left unanswered.
If the news is relevant and important enough, KUT will have a reporter present or heading to the scene.
Local creation of a blog
aggregating the earliest details:
First Step
Second Step
Reporting from scene begins:
Third Step
As situation stabilizes,
reporters return and file
more definitive stories.
Initial, rolling “update”
blog is closed:
Reporters in Austin can begin creating “Day 2” stories: putting breaking news in context, localizing the story.
What Went Right With West Coverage
(from an online perspective)
• Dedicated multimedia on scene with reporter
• Appropriate use of Twitter, social media
What Could’ve Gone Better
• Rolling update blog went too long; could
have been more accessible if broken into days

• Coordination between online editor and
field reporters could’ve been improved.

• With two reporters on scene, duties
could have been better delineated.
Following weeks of debate and protest, State Sen. Wendy Davis
leads an 11-hour filibuster against new abortion restrictions.
Ignored by national media, the story takes off online.

What Went Right with Filibuster Coverage

• Blog performed exceptionally well,
was viewed by thousands.

• Post was not updated until 11:15 p.m. Analytics shows consistently high traffic – tipoff something big was happening:

What Could’ve Gone Better?
Ascertain importance of story, then allocate appropriate resources.
If not immediately obvious, use metrics
to help determine appropriate investment:
real-time stats, retweets, etc.
Are people talking about it?
Coordinate between on-site reporters and online editor.
Single reporter on scene? Discuss how
much can they realistically contribute.
Two reporters on scene? Have one
reporter devoted to digital reporting.
Use Twitter to break news:
•Highlight important aspects of story; do more than link to blog.
Update Appropriately:
•Update blog with discrete,
miniature posts. Title and
timestamp each update.
"Cap" the post when
it's finished.
What’s a print journalist doing editing
the web for a radio station?
What’s a Day at KUT Like?
Morning meeting
Reporting, writing, editing
Noon newscast
All Things Considered
Morning Edition
All the time, the web keeps churning away.
What Sort of Stories Work Online?
One approach:
NPR’s Local Stories Project
set out to categorize & define
stories that get people talking.
The project defined nine story categories.
Here's a “Feel-Good Smiler”
Another approach:
KPLU’s six questions
to consider when
posting online
Digital stories must meet at least
two of the six criteria.
On-Air to Online?
Headline Types:
The Five W’s (and the One H)
The Number
The Question
The Media-Rich Post
How to Write a Headline?

Get Out of That Tiny Headline Field
Work in a Word Doc
Keep Your Headline Under 70 Characters

The script build-out:
The script rewrite:
Photo driven post:
Video driven post:
Audio driven post:
• Coordination between
reporters on-site, editors
could've been better
• Twitter could’ve
been used better
for breaking news
But we can "localize" national stories if we need to.
KUT had been following the story closely
But we didn't invest in the story on Twitter.
Ultimately, reporters on the scene began tweeting:
The main KUT account began RT'ing reporters & tweeting links:
• Multimedia was on-site
to provide images
NPR's Headline Checklist
It's Specific

It's Localized

It Leads to a Reaction
and An Action

It Contains a Clear Promise

It Can Be Understood Fast

It Isn't Clever or 'Funny'


Relive the magic at:
Full transcript