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The Washington Post’s ‘ambitious digital initiatives’ shared at #newsrw

13 July 2012 3,094 views One Comment By

Delivering the keynote speech at news:rewired – full stream ahead today, Washington Post’s executive producer for digital news Cory Haik shared with the audience a number of “digital initiatives” which have proven successful for the Post.

Delivering the keynote speech at news:rewired – full stream ahead today, Washington Post’s executive producer for digital news Cory Haik shared with the audience a number of “digital initiatives” which have proven successful for the Post.

Here are just some of those she shared with delegates. The examples below centre on three key themes – social, mobile and data – and are just three of a collection of “digital focuses” for the Post identified by Haik today.

  • @MentionMachine

The first project outlined by Haik was the Post’s news app @MentionMachine, which looks across Twitter as well as “media across the web” and hunts out references made to political candidates.

The app launched in January “and it will run through the presidential election in November”, Haik explained.

She added that the app “leverages the Twitter streaming API to capture and analyse Tweets that include either the candidate’s official Twitter handle or mentions the candidate’s first and last name together in a tweet”.

And this fuels “social reporting”, she says, illustrated with an article related to president Barack Obama’s announcement on same-sex marriage.

We’re raising awareness with our users that social is a critical part of reporting … And we are participating in the conversation.

  • The Post’s social reader

Another social project at the Post is its social reader, which she said is soon to hit 28 million downloads.

Washington Post Social Reader was developed with the simple thesis that you want to know and read what your friends are reading. It’s a free app that lets users experience news on Facebook.

She added the social reader “experienced explosive growth” in its first year.

  • #2012unfiltered with Instagram

Still looking at social, Haik ran through a recent “experiment” which saw journalists and the Post’s audience using Instagram to snap photographs of candidates in the Republican contest campaigning.

The pictures were tagged #2012unfiltered and now the Post has “hundreds of photos of the candidates campaigning”.

  • The White House visitors’ log

Moving on to data, Haik showcased the Post’s White House visitors’ log which collects the records of visits to the White House and currently holds 2.3 million, she said.

The data can be accessed by anyone through a couple of different channels. The White House itself publishes the data. Data.gov, self-described as the official website of the US government, and Socrata.com.

But she explained the Post’s log offers a search facility to enable users to look “very easily for particular words, visits to particular staffers, or visits on a given date”.

We also built in ‘drill down’ links on the search results page so that you can further narrow down the results based of a particular staffer or location.

She added the Post has also “created a set of our own web service API … so that other parties can use our services to query our database”.

  • The Post’s politics iPad app

Moving onto mobile – according to Haik, the Post is “doing a lot in the mobile space”.

In the political arena she added that its politics iPad app “tells you everything you need to know about the latest election news and developments”.

The app is filled with distinctive features – the latest polls, highlighting the ones that are most trustworthy, video of the newest TV ads with a map that shows where they’re airing, plus the Post’s premier political voices.

One result is users can use the app to see “at a glance” the differences of opinion between candidates, she explained.

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  • http://www.laurinus.co.uk Caroline Bloomer

    Very interesting. Now I want to find out more about how the Times UK, Daily Telegraph and others report and moderate their news on the web. (I am a Times subscriber but use its on-line news site very rarely!)

    I already find The Economist’s on-line content, helpfully signposted on Twitter, and the BBC’s technology reporter reliable sources of ‘important’ and interesting material.