Across The Universe: Fresh, fun ways to produce new content
As some may have noticed, I’ve taken a month-long break from this column.
The reasoning is two-fold. First, as everyone knows, it has been incredibly busy at Lake Tahoe and Truckee this summer, highlighted by the recent Fourth of July weekend that saw thousands upon thousands of visitors and locals recreating and having fun — and, unfortunately, leaving behind tons of trash — throughout the area.
In my world, I firmly believe that when things get busy and we publish loads more digital content and put out larger newspapers than ever before (the Friday, July 1, edition of the Sun, for example, was 88 total pages, a big increase from its average of 52-56), we can spend our best time in the editorial department publishing fresh content and photos and videos that tell various stories about our communities and your views — and not our own opinions.
Secondly, we’ve been doing a lot of work internally adjusting when and how we publish content through our social media channels, on our website and in our print editions. As I’ve written before, it’s a changing world in terms of media out there, and while our print editions are still flying off the racks at near-record speed, we are each day seeing more and more people consuming our content online — and more importantly, through mobile devices.
For example, according to our Google Analytics statistics for the month of June, out of 251,412 page views across SierraSun.com, only 57.9 percent of readers used a traditional desktop or laptop computer; the rest were reading our news and watching our videos on smartphones or tablets. And, for the first full week of June (4-10), of 73,585 page views, only 51.3 percent were by desktop.
What this equates to is something we’ve known for months and years, in that print readership, while steady with older demographics, is starting to decline, especially in the 18- to 34-year-old range. Those people are getting their news in other formats, and not only are these people “web only” consumers, but many are also smartphone-centric — and they rely heavily on social media to get information.
So, with all that knowledge, we’ve been slowly changing the way we publish content for our communities. Over the past few months, we’ve increased the number of photo slideshows online, and we’ve also been highlighting our ever-growing Instagram page, @TahoeSnaps, by publishing fun slideshows and print pages of visitor and resident imagery.
More recently, we’re starting to produce video packages of news issues, events and other goings-on in our wonderful communities. It’s been fun, and as we begin to usher in some new editorial concepts, readers can expect more photos, more video, more hashtags — and sure, even more emojis — as the summer progresses, all while we continue to publish jam-packed print editions with weekly news, sports, health, education and community content.
And we’re always looking for more ideas. So, be sure to hit up our reporters — Kaleb M. Roedel at email@example.com; and Amanda Rhoades at firstname.lastname@example.org — and let us know what we’re missing.
Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspapers. Email him at email@example.com.