Buttry: How mobile can reach local readers at big events

Steve Buttry
Mobile content and commerce opportunities require more vision and innovation than newspapers have brought to the desktop Web, according to Steve Buttry in a presentation prepared for the American Society of News Editors convention. Speaking later today, Buttry, the Director of Community Engagement at Allbritton Communications, will outline how a mobile-first newsroom might approach news coverage in ways that take advantage of mobile technology and consumer preferences. Slides from his presentation have been posted online and among his proposals is a plan for mobile “big event” coverage that occurs in a location outside your normal coverage area.

A veteran of several stints at Iowa newspapers, Buttry points to Pope John Paul II’s trip to Des Moines in 1999 and the Iowa Hawkeyes football team’s appearance in the Orange Bowl in 2010 as opportunities to engage your local audience even when they are out of town. Buttry suggests that any event “that causes a large number of people to travel from your community to a distant location is the perfect opportunity for a short-term mobile-engagement project that can have profound long-term benefits.”

Buttry calls this type of out-of-town event an ideal opportunity to reach a local audience.

“The people are not going to be reading a print edition of your home newspaper… and they won’t be watching a TV station back home. They will be away from their office computers… But more and more, these travelers will have smart phones that will make great vehicles for distributing your content about the event they are attending, for engaging them in conversation about the event, and for enlisting their help in covering the event and the related community travel experience.”

Among the methods that might be used:

  • Use Twitter hashtags (#Hawkeyes, #OrangeBowl), live chats, SMS shortcodes or e-mail to accept contributions from readers at the event.
  • Present galleries of reader-submitted photos and videos
  • Curate content posted to social media sites such as Flickr and YouTube
  • Organize a Tweetup of locals in the city they are visiting
  • Use text alerts to keep readers advised of event-related news
  • Geotag content to place news articles and reader contributions on a map of the area

>How News Organizations Can Create a Mobile-First Strategy (Poynter Online E-Media Tidbits)

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