The Sentinel website was viewed more than 3.9 million times in May of 2012, a new record for views in a month topping March of 2011 (when the tsunami swept through the harbor). We also had 511,785 unique visitors to the site. Below is a list of the most viewed pages for the past month. The murder of Shannon Collins on Broadway stunned the community. Reaction to the murder on our site included an outpouring of condolences for the family, and serious discussion of issues of safety facing Santa Cruz.
A few more notes about Sentinel mobile and social interaction – our news apps (free on iPhone and Google Play) received more than 500,000 page views up from 362,247 in April. Since launch in February, we’ve had 1.18 million page views and 7,200 downloads.
We had more than 33,000 views on Flickr, and more than 10,000 video views on YouTube. We also activated a Sentinel Instagram account and quickly added 430 followers. We’ve also just signed up with Viddy, looking forward to sharing.
Thanks to all for finding us online!
The most viewed story on the Sentinel website in May was about the unprovoked murder of Shannon Collins.
Nick Ericksen blasts the top off an unassuming wave Monday evening at Steamer Lane. Tyler Fox photo – www.santacruzwaves.com.
We started a partnership yesterday with Santa Cruz Waves. This comes after bumping into great photo after great photo from Tyler Fox’s website on Facebook and Twitter, and then some exchanges about possibilities, and a couple face-to-face meetings. The idea is that we help Santa Cruz Waves promote a uniquely Santa Cruz site, we share some of their work with our audience (more than 5 million visitors in 2011), and help them grow.
The goal of this partnership is to become the world-wide authority on all things surf in Santa Cruz – led by Santa Cruz Waves, supported by us.
It’s exactly the kind of partnership we’re going to pursue in a variety of areas. Photo and content sharing is a start, business and revenue possibilities are part of the discussion. We plan to collaborate in coverage of big events and on breaking news at the beach. We’ll also regularly run Santa Cruz Waves photos in the print edition.
The reason this makes so much sense to us is Tyler Fox. Read his profile. But also, check out the photos and his site.
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.
For the month of February, we had 3,294,380 page views, up about 300,000 from January and up more than 500,000 from February 2011.
We had 449,495 unique visitors, up more than 40,000 from January and more than 65,000 from February 2011.
One of our favorite photos from the popular 'Only In Santa Cruz' contest in February.
Among projects, we launched the Santa Cruz Community Media Lab – connecting with more than 90 bloggers on the landing page. But running behind that landing page, we’re connecting on twitter, facebook, google+, youtube, tumblr, and building lists, meeting face-to-face and talking about ways to get more voices heard more often in more ways.
Also in February, we’re breaking more news on twitter. Reporters Donna Jones and Jondi Gumz, relatively new to the twitter world, both went past 100 followers, as did the @santacruzfood. Reporter Jason Hoppin broke news of how much a proposed food truck bill would impact the industry in an attempt to offer better meals for kids. Hoppin broke down the data, built maps, and tweeted them to a wide audience before the story appeared in the paper.
Reporter Jessica Pasko went over 1,000 followers. All our reporters know that news breaks on twitter and that they can tweet what they’re seeing and learning directly to our home page.
In other social media, the Sentinel twitter account is approaching 5,000 followers. We’ve maxed out on 5,000 facebook friends, but we’re adding fans (2,269) and subscribers (nearly 800) daily. Our Flickr account has had more than a half million views in the past year, and we plan to make photos and video a bigger emphasis as we go forward.
Our award-winning sports staff also had one of its biggest months of web traffic, we launched a new version of the weekly Guide section, including QR codes linking smart phones to web pages. And, we’ve quietly launched news apps for Android and iPhone – much more about those soon! And finally, we put a GoPro video camera on the helmet of a roller derby ref.