When the multimedia showcase was announced earlier this week, I knew it was something I couldn’t miss. I’ve been following some of the Post’s products for awhile and was eager to hear about new projects the paper is working on.
Trove is one of the products I was most familiar with during the discussion. When it first launched a year ago, I signed up, created my channels and even downloaded the app. But truth be told, I haven’t used it in awhile. Looks like I’m not alone.
Ravindran said they discovered that people didn’t have or want to take the time to create the channels and lost interest.
Building off what they learned with Trove, Ravindran said they then launched Post Social Reader, an app that is integrated with Facebook and lets you see what your friends are reading. Using a Trove algorithm, the Post was able to collect and display stories users could read without ever leaving Facebook.
“We all bow to our Facebook Gods at this point,” he said jokingly.
What fascinated me about the social reader is that there are only Facebook ads on the page, and Ravindran said the Post doesn’t receive any money from them. He said his team wanted to build up the content and following before trying to monetize the app.
It’s an interesting approach, especially since most newspapers are trying to get their hands on as much advertising revenue as they can to stay afloat. Does this mean content is King again?
Aside from social media apps, Ravindran also spoke about a website the Post launched to cover high school and recreational swimming leagues, reachforthewall.com. He said one person operates the site and collects data from the leagues to display. Basically, the content is controlled by people associated with the leagues.
I think this is a great idea and allows readers to connect with a website, company and/or brand. The website was fairly cheap to create and generates between 50,000 and 70,000 unique visitors a month, Ravindran said.
Seems like a win to me. Of course, there’s always a concern of false information when it comes to citizen journalism, but it looks like the Post has it under control in this case.
Overall, the social media initiatives discussed this morning really made me think about the user experience. I hope we take a look at some of our NewsOK products and continue to improve them.
Thanks again to Ravindran for dropping by the newsroom. It was a great discussion, and I hope it continues when developing future NewsOK and Oklahoman products.