Postman, from Boulder Creek, consults and provides social media strategy, implementation and measurement for progressive companies and non-profit organizations (see Bio).
The Media Lab meetings have been good opportunities for bloggers and Sentinel journalists to talk about their work and make connections. At our March gathering, Nina Simon talked about starting the Museum 2.0 blog, and the ways it changed her life. Going around the room, Media Lab bloggers talked about the way every post seemed to make another connection or another door. We hope our face-to-face meeting offer those opportunities.
The Sentinel website, staff blogs and mobile apps received more than 4.8 million page views for the month of January. Below we’ve included a list of most-viewed stories. The list is topped, unfortunately, by an account of a man who adopted an unusual fighting technique. The story was picked up on the front page of fark.com and received more than 20,000 page views.
Those kind of stories, even when they get some viral attention, don’t drive the most traffic on the site. The Sentinel home page received more than 870,000 views. Photo galleries, led by shots from the Mavericks Invitation, this year and years past, generated more than 110,000 views. The Sentinel calendar (look for February updates to the most-used online calendar in the county) accounted from more than 85,000 views.
Of the total of close to 5 million views, about 20 percent (just shy of 1 million) came from mobile apps for iPhone, Android and iPad that didn’t exist in January 2011, and more than 370,000 came from m.santacruzsentinel.com – viewed on mobile web browsers.
With all kinds of hard work from Kirby Scudder and Wallace Baine, we’ve also launched The Muse blog – for all things related to the Creative Life in Santa Cruz County. Sign up for e-mail updates for all new posts (bottom right of the blog) to be connected with the best art & entertainment coverage.
Thanks to all who visited the Sentinel online, on your phones, tablets, and to our print and e-edition subscribers. We’re taking your news tips and suggestions 24/7.
You may have noticed things look a little different at www.santacruzsentinel.com. That’s because we’ve decided to start the new year right, by going through and doing some housekeeping on our home page (Thanks, Christina Gullickson!). Here are some highlights of how our site is different in 2013:
Bigger headers, with RSS feeds and links to cleaned-up section pages.
New section feeds including Food and Wine, and Home and Garden. Our features department regularly produces helpful and informative pieces that now will be more prominently displayed. Because these are weekly sections, they will be boosted from the bottom of the page to higher up when they publish.
We removed some of the clutter. Many of the items that were creating the NASCAR effect on our home page have either been cleaned up or removed (where possible) for a better viewing and reading experience.
Coming soon: Updates to our social media feeds on every page. We’re going to update and improve our events calendar. Redesign of the entire site, courtesy of Digital First Media, is also in the works.
Suggestions? There are some things we just can’t change due to advertising obligations or our content management system setup (also scheduled to be updated this year), but if you have an idea, it’s possible we can make it happen. Let us know!
PS – We’re also working on a repository of the vast “Weird” news from Santa Cruz – follow @weirdsantacruz on twitter, like us on Facebook and visit the Weird page.
The story of the effort to steer the San Lorenzo River away from the historic Santa Cruz Boardwalk was among the most viewed of 2012 on the Sentinel website. Dan Coyro photo
Crime, surf and sea creatures were among the most popular subjects on the Sentinel’s website in 2012.
The site received more than 41 million page views through early December of 2012 and the Sentinel’s mobile apps (iPhone and Android introduced in February, iPad in November), received another 6 million views.
The Sentinel welcomed more than 4.6 million unique annual visitors to the site.
The most viewed local story of 2012 was on the tragic stabbing death of Shannon Collins on Broadway. Collins, who ran a popular downtown business, was walking during the morning of May 7, on her way to a hair appointment, when she was attacked and brutally murderd. Charles Edwards, who was arrested and charged with the crime, was a felon with a violent history who had been earlier released on parole due to a clerical error. Readers grieved, struggled to understand the senseless loss, and offered their support to Collins’ loved ones.
The story received more than 70,000 page views during the year.
The second most viewed story of 2012 was about a woman who gave birth to a baby girl in the lobby of the county jail. The woman had been arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public on a Sunday afternoon. Jail staff initially refused to book her because she was pregnant and intoxicated. She was evaluated at Dominican Hospital and then brought back to the jail Sunday evening for booking. On Monday, sober and being released, she gave birth in the lobby, with help from jail medical staff. The baby girl was estimated to be 2 or 3 months premature. The Drudge Report posted a prominent link to the story, which was viewed more than 59,000 times.
Fans of “Chasing Mavericks” may have gone home from the movie and searched online for more information on Santa Cruz surfer Jay Moriarity. When they did, one of the top results was Wallace Baine’s 2010 column marking the 10th anniversary of Moriarity’s accidental death. The story was read more than 44,000 times.
Other most viewed stories included an embedded video made by a Santa Cruz fisherman who captured incredible underwater shots of dolphins swimming with his boat. A shark attack on a kayak near Pleasure Point closed beaches and captured the community’s attention and the story drew more than 20,000 page views. It also prompted Sentinel reporter Jason Hoppin to build a shark attack map, detailing all reported shark attacks in California history. The map also received more than 16,000 page views during the year.
The Sentinel’s online audience continues to grow (page views were up 17 percent this year), and our newsroom is committed to delivering news and the community’s stories across all platforms and devices. We break news on twitter, we share community stories on Facebook. We built a Community Media Lab to connect with and highlight local bloggers (more than 10,000 views of that page). We’ve added more than 1,300 followers on Instagram this year. YouTube videos produced by the Sentinel were watched more than 300,000 times.
We published all public salaries in Santa Cruz County, and those databases drew more than 100,000 views. We worked harder than ever to involve our readers in polls, commentary, in tipping us off to news, and to connect with local bloggers and experts in their fields. The Sentinel events calendar was viewed more than 800,000 times.
We’ve been working in a lot of directions on the Sentinel website. You’ll continue to see changes over time, but here are a few that have gone live in the past couple weeks and a few that are in the works. We’re doing our best to connect with your local story, your voice, and being accessible in as many ways as possible.
Media Center: Digital First launched the WordPress based Media Center just before the Olympics. It will allow us to make the most of our local photos in a wide variety of formats (including tablet) and also to bring readers the best shots from around the world on a daily basis.
Presidential Election coverage: New site includes the latest on the Presidential election, local election stories, and content from partners including MediaNews organizations, Pro Publica, The Atlantic, National Journal, and Democracy Live. We’ll also link out to blogs including the New York Times FiveThirtyEight and many more. Readers can also find our local elections coverage, endorsements and voter information broken down in more detail on our elections page, and we’ll carry live local and state results in November.
Readers Choice awards: We’re launching the Sentinel’s first-ever readers choice awards, asking your opinion in hundreds of categories. All voting will be online and we’re building the voting platform now for any device you choose.
iPad app rollout this month: The Sentinel’s iPhone app, launched in February has been popular. More than 3 million page views since its launch. We see even more potential for the iPad app, scheduled to be launched this month in the iTunes store. For a look at the format, check out the Denver Post’s (free) app for iPad.
Redesign: Long-awaited, you’ll see a full redesign of the website in the months ahead.
New content management system: Again, long-awaited inside the newsroom, the new CMS will give us better tools for sharing content with partners, building partnerships in the community, publishing in a wide variety of formats and connecting more kinds of digital content. It’s also integrated with the print content management system, and includes a commenting system through Disqus. Stay tuned on this.
A new toolbar: At the bottom of every page, we’ve updated a toolbar, to include latest headlines, story suggestions, display ads and national content from Digital First (currently from American Homecomings). The updated version is also less intrusive and quicker to load, and also shows readers the “next” story on article pages.
Football season:More live results, more photos, video, a special section and a redesigned Football page.
The Community Media Lab: With all these other projects on our list, we haven’t given the Media Lab the attention it deserves. Still our lab has more than 150 local participants. We’re working on a project to give Santa Cruz artists prominent connections. We’re also working with bloggers writing short profiles of other bloggers, and featuring the best weekly content every Friday.
Cold Water Classic: This year’s event may be the biggest surf event in Santa Cruz history, as we become the focus of the professional surfing world. We’re collaborating with the Santa Cruz Waves team, planning to go all out.
Instagram: We’re just getting warmed up on Instagram, but our longtime photo staffers Dan Coyro and Shmuel Thaler both recently adopted iPhones and are exploring the possibilities. Follow us (@scsentinel), and stay tuned for contests, photo walks and more.
When 15,000-plus runners came to Santa Cruz on Sunday for the 40th annual Wharf to Wharf race, we were ready to meet them. We received more than 40,000 page views on the Sentinel website.
We put to use the following services:
Twitter – asking any and all to use #wharftowharf hashtag, we added that to the page for continuous updates. Our reporters and photographers also used the tag. Through twitter, we posted photos and video (using the twitvid service) as well as other updates. We were also able to send directly to the Sentinel home page by using another tag, #scsnews. We’ve used an advanced search widget to display tweets from our staff using that tag and always ask reporters to break news on twitter.
Storify – we gathered photos, video, tweets from our staff, runners and spectators throughout the day, and embedded the collection in the top of our home page. Our collection has received more than 4,000 views. (See below).
Flickr – We posted staff and contributed photos to the Sentinel Flickr account, where our set has received more than 6,500 views. We took the easily-embedded slideshow and dropped it into coverage and its own article page. We also shared links to the slideshow on Facebook
Google maps – We updated a map we built long ago to include Panoramio photos from various points along the beautiful race route, shot by Sentinel digital intern Eric Brown.
Brightcove and YouTube – We shot video along the route. I got to the race early with a smart phone and a Handycam. I tweeted, collected video, sent photos from my phone (DroidX, which went from fully charged to dead in two miles) and then eventually ran most of last four miles of the race (with my daughter in a stroller) while collecting sights and sounds on the Handycam. We posted the video to our site through Brightcove, embedded the video in an article page and have Brightcove set to automatically post to our YouTube channel.
Instagram (we’re @scsentinel) – we posted just five photos to Instagram, a couple from the race, and a couple of the best from photographer Shmuel Thaler. We also liked every photo we found for Wharf to Wharf and followed anyone who ran and posted about the race. Our photos received more than 200 likes, we picked up more than 50 followers.
Digital producer Christina Gullickson orchestrated the show, handling all of the content flowing her way, and she worked to open the doors to user-contributed photos and promoted all our content on the social channels above.
Sports reporter Andrew Matheson also immediately had final results and compiled his own video, so we had the first stories about the race that were updated in the afternoon
The Sentinel website received 3,521,933 page views and 476,167 unique visitors in the month of June. Both of those are up slightly from June, 2011. Here are the most viewed stories or pages during the month:
We also received 552,484 page views on our news apps (free on iPhone and Google Play), and 1,398 new downloads of the apps.
On YouTube, we received more than 16,000 video views, most popular was Nick Wallenda’s walk on the Boardwalk ferris wheel, but second was the reunion of a Marine and his son, upon his return from Afghanistan:
We also received nearly 45,000 views on Flickr and added more than 200 followers on Instagram (@scsentinel). Thanks for connecting with the Sentinel online!
The iPad is becoming a bigger part of everything we do in the news world.
More people are using it to consume news. More people are using it for social sharing. More people are using it for web browsing, and if you want to show anyone photos of your kids, there’s nothing better.
More people are finding the iPad takes the place of a desktop computer, or a laptop computer. And the iPad’s productivity tools continue to get better.
When the Sentinel offered a plan for employees to buy iPads through a payroll deduction, we wound up with a stack of 26 of them that were handed out last month.
How are reporters using them?
Well, they’re learning. They’re working on typing stories into Google docs and sending them back to the desk (pro tip – work through the Google search app, rather than the browser). They’re working on photo sharing on Twitter and Instagram through the iPad. They’re exploring apps like Evernote (for note taking with multimedia) and Dragon Dictation. They’re looking at photo editing tools through Photoshop Express, video editing with iMovie.
They’re getting their own news through Flipboard and Zite.
They’re looking at Storify as a way of gathering social reaction to events.
They’re looking at AP news.
They’re checking out Cloud On (for accessing excel and Word files).
Sentinel reporters Shanna McCord and Jason Hoppin browse through app stores for iPad and iPhone and talk about productivity tools for journalists.
My advice for journalists – be curious. Imagine how your audience is getting your work and try to shorten the distance between you and the reader. Imagine how the audience of the future will receive your work, and meet them there. I think a lot of reporters are thinking they report, write, send to an editor, who sends to page designer, the story prints and somehow winds up on our website. There are a million ways for reporters and editors to improve you own brand, improve your own digital skills, improve the information you receive about your beat, and serve the audience. With regard to the iPad, it contains all the tools needed to perform your daily work in the journalism world. Consider taking a day to cover your beat using only that tool – progress on the learning curve will be worth the effort.
Make a point of seeing what’s possible for readers, and of thinking about how you can help create that experience for your own readers.
Here are a few of the apps you may find helpful:
Twitter, a must for being informed and breaking news
Storify – for collecting and re-sharing social media and other links
It was with great excitement that we cajoled and argued for the purchase of a GoPro video camera for the Sentinel’s online team. Cool device, cool company, it’s perfect for our community filled with performers and free spirits of all kinds, it’s very Digital First.
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our GoPro camera, which is now at the bottom of Monterey Bay. Reporter Kimberly White took it out on a scuba adventure this weekend, likely got some incredible video of the world below the Santa Cruz Wharf, but the camera and Kim’s dive partner got knocked around. No major injuries, although there was some blood, but the camera went to a watery grave, despite Kim’s partner’s insistence on going back in to search for it.
So, we’re crowd-sourcing the rescue of the camera. We’ll provide some reward if you come across it. We always wanted to attach it to a humpback whale, so perhaps that’s in the works.
Here’s Kim’s account of the final minutes of the GoPro:
“We did a beach dive at Cowell’s Beach, entering the water around 1:30. As we were gearing up on the beach, Chris (my dive buddy) and I were trying to decide who should wear the camera. Since I haven’t been in the water much in recent years, he offered to wear it so I had one less thing to worry about.
We’d been down for about 20 minutes and encountered a lot of surge as we neared the pilings at the dock, and the visibility was less than two feet. We lost sight of each other, and as I was turning in circles to try to find him, I felt something bashing up against my legs and fins (probably a sea lion), all while trying to stay buoyant in heavy surge.
I wasn’t able to find Chris, so I surfaced. I heard a shout and saw him about 10 feet away, so swam up to him and saw he had a huge gash across his forehead. He said as soon as he realized how violent the surge was, he pushed me out of the way so I wouldn’t get caught up in it, then got thrown against a barnacle-covered piling (hence the gash).
We swam back toward shore and as soon as we got back onto the beach, I started asking him questions to make sure he hadn’t gotten a concussion or something. I was so focused on that that I didn’t notice the camera was missing until he yelled that it was gone.
He was determined to go back and try to find it, and I told him not to because it was too dangerous with all the surge and waves. But he said he had to at least try, so he said to call for help if he didn’t surface within 10 minutes. Long story short, he wasn’t able to find the camera. We also wandered among the pilings, hoping it’d washed ashore, but there was no sign of it.
When we got back to the car, I immediately When I went back to the dive shop to return my tanks, I mentioned what happened to one of the employees. He said he spearfishes and can look for it when he’s over there next week (but I’m not holding my breath).”
We learned a little bit from the camera. We put it on a roller derby ref. We took it surfing and snowboarding. We planned to give it a motorcycle ride on the Tour of California rout. We wanted to make it part of the Santa Cruz Community Media Lab, to loan it out to anyone having unique first-person experiences or good ideas. It was scheduled to take a few laps at the opening day of the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville this month.
We were just getting warmed up. We also learned that we should have put some kind of QR code sticker on it, in case it got lost, or a GPS chip, or that we should have used the right floaty attachment. We’ll get another one, “not right away,” said our publisher.
It was a glorious few months, with a few videos (snowboard adventure video will be released posthumously). Below, you’ll find an emotional look back at some of the places our GoPro went during its time with us. We miss it already.
If you find our camera, please get in touch. It’s likely an A1 story, good karma, and there’s a reward for rescuing our waterlogged friend.
The best way to read the Sentinel on your smart phone is on our news apps. They’re free and they’re part of the Sentinel’s commitment to delivering Santa Cruz County news to you in any way you want to receive it. Available now for Android and iPhone.