Methods of collaborative distribution (CJS2022 Day 2)
6:43PM May 25, 2022
So welcome back. We've got two more sessions left in this year's collaborative journalism Summit. And the next one, we're going to explore distribution. So something that a lot of collaboratives do but struggle with is create content together that they want to get out to other partners or just other folks in their media ecosystem or universe to republish, rebroadcast and share. That is not as easy as that may sound. And that's what our next conversation is going to focus on. So I'd like to welcome to the stage James Fraser. James is with the new work news and story collaborative. You saw just a little while ago, during his lightning talk, he's going to host this conversation. So James, the floor is yours.
Please, everyone, so again, my name is James Frazier. I'm with the Newark News and Stories Collaborative. I'm a writer, I'm coach, all-around good guy. And today we have a conversation about the distribution of content amongst media platforms, has been a constant challenge, not only for our cohort, but for obviously, for courts around the country. So I have a nice list of amazing, talented brilliant speakers today. And we'll start with an introduction and then we'll get on with the conversation. So first, I have Tegan windlyn. Editor for the newly created Mississippi River Basin in agriculture, and what it does what it does, based at the University of Missouri
Next, we have Melanie Plender sitting next to me, Director of the Granite State News collaborative, a collective of 20 local media and educational, educational and community organizations across New Hampshire.
first, you know, I want to pass the mic to Tegan, who actually wrote a an amazing, published and amazing article, the struggle to give away stories. Let's see what you have to say.
I'm glad you thought it was amazing. I think it's one of the nerdiest things I've ever written. So I'm the new editor for this collaborative journalism project, the Mississippi River Basin ag and water desk, which you just mentioned, based at the University of Missouri, and we work with report for America. We've partnered with 10 newsrooms throughout the Mississippi River Basin ranging from the Star Tribune at the headwaters or close to it up in Minneapolis, St. Paul, to the lens, which is a nonprofit investigative newsroom down in New Orleans, which is where I'm based, although I'm in Kentucky today on a tour of the lower part of the Mississippi River Basin. And so we've got these 10 newsrooms, we've hired 10 report for America reporters based at the their newsrooms WCI. J, where Coburn is is one of our newsrooms as well, it's funded by the Walton Family Foundation, we're covering environmental issues. And then we're building this big distribution network where we're going to give all this content away for free. So we're inviting news outlets across the country to sign up for our network. And we'll send a blast out when our stories are ready. And they can download those stories and republish them. And so that's kind of what brought me to this problem that we're talking about here. Today, we're not going to serve as publishers, we're not going to publish on the egg and water desk at work, but we're rather going to drive traffic to the originating publications. And the problem, as you may have all heard is that it's really hard to give news away. There's really no streamlined, simple way to share story elements. So I'll pause there unless you want me to talk about what our plan is, but I assume we'll get to that.
Yeah, we'll definitely get to that. We'll do introductions. Now. Let you guys all the speakers, you know, share what you got going on. And then we'll have some questions to get to the bottom of this. Next we have Melanie Plenda.
Yes. Hi. It's great to be here. Thank you. So we are, as you mentioned, the Granite State News collaborative. It's a collective of more than 20 media community and educational partners working together. And essentially sharing content, when we first got started, was largely by email because we didn't have a lot and then the pandemic
hid, and we all agreed to share that, like, cover that together. So as you can imagine, we went from having one or two stories to a ton all of the time. So we needed something that was quick and easy to set up that anyone could use. The most importantly, was free, that everyone know there was going to be no training because we needed to do it quickly. So we essentially set up a Google folder that we now used to store all of the shared stories in a in a kind of communal story library. We have, I kind of pull the stories in and I'm a news clerk, thank god who helps me. And we do this twice a day. We do this seven days a week. And then we have two email alerts that we send out to all the all of our partners and in our distribution network, so that they can know what's going on, we can talk to each other. And then they can just pull what they need out of the Google Doc and use it in their own CMS. So it's pretty low tech, low stress, kind of also, although sometimes we have some challenges. But overall, it's been working pretty well for us.
Indeed, next we have Coburn.
Hi, everyone. I'm Coburn Dukehart. I work at Wisconsin Watch, which is the news arm of Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, really excited to be working with Tegan. I really liked that logo for the ag and water desk. It's the first time I've seen it. It's really awesome. Yeah, so we both distribute.
Mostly we distribute our own content, we also keep trying to give it away for free to as many people that want to access it. We also distribute stories from partner newsrooms. We have some close partnerships with Wisconsin Public Radio, and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, specifically, and then also with a number of good net papers and consortium of newsrooms up in Northeast Wisconsin. So we're both publishing and distributing other people's work and our own work. And we have a sort of unique handbuilt system that I can talk about a little bit later. I recently learned it has some challenges. And I'm also really interested in your Google folder. Experiment, Melanie, because we tried something like that and had some challenges. So I'm happy to hear that it's it's working for you. So.
Right. Nice. Nice. Nice. Thank you. And, Michael, how are you?
Well, I'm muted to start off, but I'm well, thank you. Yeah, I'm Michael Crowl. Hello from Seattle. I wish I could be there. So I am the editor and project manager of the climate collaborative, which falls under the local media Association. It's just over a year old now. I have come on board in the last couple of months as the new project manager. But we're 22 local media organizations and science partners across the country organized by regions committed to covering climate change, in terms of distribution, LMA, and the collab is not centrally producing content, but we are sharing content across all of our partners to join the club, they commit to putting forward at least one non paywalled climate change story a month, and then contributing, excuse me frog in my throat contributing to regional calls, where we talk with experts, and kind of organized coverage decisions by region. This is a little more technical, and I can talk about this later. But we've also built a tool using Accelerated Mobile Pages amp to share content in a little widget across various websites. So any any site can share content, and it can be embedded on a partner website and view without redirecting. So that's something I will talk a little bit about more later, but glad to be here.
Thank you. Thank you. And I love this conversation. Because in a time where content is king, I would imagine that people are scrambling to get their hands on any type of content that they can publish without doing the actual work themselves. Right. So so can you please tell me about your process and how you've been doing it? And what's going on?
Yeah, I think that
when we first got started, it was really just about what is the simplest, most direct way that we can do it because if we had to rely on again, it was during the pandemic, but even outside of pandemic time, you know, editors already have a job, they're putting out their own outlets, publications, we knew that the what the collaborative was producing or what the partners we're producing wouldn't necessarily be top of mind right out of the gate. So this was a way to really make it as simple as possible. And that's how we came up with our process. So I and Joe can can show you our shared Google folder. So you get a sense of of what we do but like basically, every day I go to each the partner outlets and I pull in I literally cut and paste I copy and paste the story I download the photo, download the cutlines
Um, we can go back to the last one, that would be great.
And I put them in these folders, where it has the date and has the outlet, the headline, if you were able to click on one of those folders, you'd open it up, they would have a Google Doc that has the story in it, each story gets our boilerplate, or shared boilerplate, which is partly how we track our stories is by that boilerplate, it also kind of raised awareness about the collaborative itself and the partners. And then from there, this sort of got us around paywalls, this got us around, sort of, you know, the issue of having editors put stuff in because that wasn't gonna happen. And having photos, you have everything in one spot, and then again, I wanted to make it as simple as possible. So every day, we, when we started the updates every day by email, and everyone's on our distribution list, that's how we communicate, there's corrections. If there's new stories, if we win a fancy award, we can tell tell each other and use that Fred, you know, if there's something that's coming up where we need to kind of CO produce something or coordinate coverage, so we're not duplicating efforts, we can do that, in that shared in this shared email that goes out twice a day. And that was the other key thing was having the link to the folder, always in front of them. And that was key to also, it made it simple for them. But it also reminded them everyday that it was there, they didn't have to go looking for it. And I think that was kind of key to them,
being willing to use it, and ultimately being willing to use the content that was in it. And just want to a couple other things. I'll point out this, what's up on the screen right now is our tracker, we were manually tracking this, but now we have a data reporter and who thankfully made us a little
a web scraper, actually a tool that we can kind of track our stuff. And so we keep it in this spreadsheet. And then the last thing is we keep the that's the that, yes. So that's our collaborative ready to edit folder. And that's where our freelancers can kind of work on their stories and put their stories when they're ready to edit, but it keeps it separated from the main folder so that we're not accidentally putting unedited content into there. And yeah, so we just kind of, that's how we operate. One last thing is that in our main folder, we have like a little, we have a Projects folder. And inside there is where each of the individually CO produced projects. So when a partners are working together on something, they have sort of little workspace within the the folders that they're able to use. And that's a good way that we've been able to kind of work with each other on those projects. Simplicity is a beautiful, it is very simple. I you know, I'm actually interested to hear the other folks in case, other things are less clunky and better. But I like Well, next
I want to bring up Tegan. So since you wrote this masterful piece of piece of artwork, in March, I want to know, you spoke about how one of the challenges is that the different media team media groups use different platforms to share. So what has happened, what has been the approach since you've been in that article? What has been your approach? And how have things changed in the way you approach this situation?
Well, we've had the privilege of a lot of lead time on this project, our reporters start on June 1, so we haven't actually produced any content yet. And I was tired in October. So I've had a great opportunity to speak with some of our colleagues at Wisconsin and watch and investigate Midwest and resolve Philly, and the Colorado news collaborative and local media Association, a lot of other collaborative journalism outlets. And it's kind of heard the same thing from a lot of them is that we're writing this really great stuff and want to share it widely. But it's not that easy to do. So I'd love to hear more from Melanie, on on what your pickup rates are. But I come from Public Radio, where I've worked for the past 14 years at radio stations up and down the river. And I've done a lot of collaborations as a reporter and as an editor, with reveal, and NPR and ProPublica. So I kind of come into this with some experience of what it's like to do the work too. And a lot of the work in those cases was just transferring files around and getting things in the right format and building stories out on various content management systems that it really took a lot of hours for a time. So we're trying to do with this project is avoid some of those problems and make it really easy for the subscribers that are not technically subscribers, but just whomever signs up for our distribution network to download and then put the stories on their website. So we're going to use three tools. You may have heard of some of these one is the APS story shear tool. And that is like a website that gives logins to users and an easy to use interface that hosts all the elements the photos and video potentially and print in one place. So all of our subscribers will get logins the login and they can grab All the elements from there, and it's very intuitively organized, and it looks a lot like the password protected AP Member site. And we're gonna send out an email blast, which seems to be something that everybody does. And let people know that those stories are ready for download. And then we're also going to use an embed tool that Michael mentioned, made by distributed Media Labs. So websites that are amped it's a certain format that he can talk more about. But they can embed this banner on their website that basically auto populates with ag and water desk content. And on our end, we're going to be organizing a story collection that drives traffic back to the originating news sites, Cal matters and a few other outlets have used this. And it remains to be seen exactly how well this is gonna work. I'd like to hear your perspective as well, Michael on it. But I think that it could work really well, especially for our 10 core newsroom partners, most of them are amped already. And they're very engaged newsroom partners, and there's no cost to us. So it's kind of an imperfect system. And it's going to still take a lot of our time and labor to use this three pronged approach. And I also worry about, especially with smaller outlets, not having the time or capacity to log log into story share, or maybe not having an amp website, how they're going to download our materials. So I'm interested in ideas. I'm thinking maybe we're just going to attach a Word doc to the email blast so that if you're a small town newspaper, and you're not even digital, you're not Digital First, your print first, you can at least just grab that Word doc without having to log into story sharing and navigate that system. But that's our plan.
understood the elaborative was efficient, it sounds like it's getting is getting done.
I hope so. We'll find out when we write our first story, I guess,
Indeed. Indeed. So, Miss Coburn, I want to ask you because you are the multimedia director. So you are creating content. And I can imagine anybody if anybody wants people to get this content is definitely you. So tell me more about your process. I know you have some slides as well.
Sure I have some slides and I hope they're not too repetitive. There's with what other people have said because there's some overlap with our system. So let me see if I can find my
slides. Okay, can you all see the first slide?
Can I get a yes, sir.
Yeah, you're good to go.
Okay. Okay, so this is just our logo slide just to say who we are nonprofit news organization. And we distribute our stories through sort of a homegrown distribution system, and also through a variety of partnerships. Okay, so this is just sort of a quick look at where our stories have appeared over the past 10 years, mostly in Wisconsin, but all over the country. So we do get national pickup, which is pretty exciting. And then one of the things that we have implemented is a WordPress plugin called the republication tracker tool. So some of you may be familiar with this, it's available to anybody that has a WordPress site. It was developed by I Nn. Labs, I'm not sure that it's still being supported. So that would be one caveat. But it's just a button that goes on your web stories, says republish this story, you click on it, and it just serves up the whole, you know, HTML code, including the text in the photos, that somebody can just cut and paste and throw the story directly onto their site. So this is something that we make available on all of our stories. And, you know, we just encourage people to anybody to take our stories, as long as they follow a certain set of rules that we also link off the site, in terms of not changing the content, not separating the photos and videos and multimedia elements from the story. So that's one thing that we do on all our stories. We do a ton of partnerships and collaborations. This is just a quick slide, showing, like many of the collaborations we do and then we obviously hope that the partner that we work with distributes the story, as well as distributing through our own system. We just started working with Wisconsin Public Radio, as I mentioned on a podcast. So that's a new distribution for us that they're sending out audio, we decided to work with them. So that they would they already have an established podcast feed with Apple news and Spotify and all the you know, audio distribution network, so we elected to have them we produce the content and then WPI distributed it. So this was a rare partnership where we actually didn't distribute our own the majority of our own content, but we realized that it would have a broader reach if we'd let someone else distribute it. So that was the tactic we took on this project. We also recently just signed up with Apple news and Microsoft start and through I NN have a relationship with newsbreak And Flipboard, who automatically pick up our stories. So that's another way that we're just like pushing our content out onto the web hoping to get it in front of as many different people as possible, wherever they get their news so that they wouldn't necessarily be relying on it traditional media newspaper or website to see our stories. And then those stories will link back, you can read them in that native platform or link back to our website. Okay, but the main, like historical distribution method that I inherited when I started here, and honestly, before this conference started, I didn't even know how it worked. So I needed to look into it. So I could tell you all how it worked. And actually, I was surprised by what I found. But we also have a, we have two websites. So we have our public facing website. And we have a separate partners website that is password protected, you need a login, it sounds similar to the story share. We upload
Word document versions of our stories, as well as high resolution photos, and videos and graphics is as high resolution as we as the website will support. Because when Wisconsin was started, our main method of distribution was through print newspapers. And so we wanted to be able to provide as high res as possible for them, which is a different file than we're serving up on our own website, which would be a smaller web file. So I actually have when I'm preparing a story for production, I have multiple folders like one which is the high res version one which is a lower res version one, which is like a web only version. So I have a lot of different folders. We also sent so when somebody comes to our what we call our downloads page, they'll just see literally a link to the story, a cutline document, and then a list of photos, we also embed the caption directly into the photo. So people who are used to getting it that way can get it through the metadata. And then we also send out an email blast, we have over 300 editors on our list, we need to update this list. This is sort of a ongoing project where we're sort of still have this like legacy list of Wisconsin newspaper editors. But we know that there's so many new publications that we're not reaching right now. And then the big sort of oh, so then the one thing that we do is this happens through WordPress, we use a WordPress plugin called pa press to do this. And the one thing that this enables us to do is that for every photo and every word doc and every element that we put, we can see who downloads it. So the Edit, we can see the name of the person that that downloads every single file. And we put this in place even before I started here, because if we had to make a correction or an update, we didn't want to just provide the file to everybody. And then if we found that we had a typo or a factual error, before publication, we we didn't want to have to contact like 300 different people and say we made a mistake. So this allows us to only contact the people that we know downloaded the content. And the other thing that we're doing is we often send out our stories under embargo. So we'll usually put it out about three days before we publish giving editors again, a chance to do the layout plan, their print publication plan, their online version. And so often, if we find an error or typo before we publish, we can email that person before it ever goes out to the public. So this has been really invaluable. We don't often have corrections, but when we do, it's really great to only have to be able to email like two people, or three people or five people instead of 300 people and say we had an error. And then our stories appear, you know, all over the internet, different publications will publish them in their own CMS. So like I said, we use this plugin called called pub press tracker, which was developed by a company called press point, we pay $100 a year for it. And the main thing I found out right before this conference is that the developer is not supporting this plug in anymore, and it is no longer available for purchase or use by other media organizations. So that is a really big bummer. Because I was hoping to be able to come come to this conference, I'd like sell it and say it's such a great system. But it's no longer available. But it also means that we are relying on a system that's no longer supported. And you know, if the developer decides he's not going to support it anymore, then we don't have that system anymore. So I'm really interested in the systems you all are using. And we're still looking for a system that you know allows us to serve up high res files is password protected, and that we can track who downloads each element. So that's where we are and I'll stop sharing my screen now.
Right that's a lot of moving parts. Yeah. Yeah. Lastly, we have we have Michael and the thing that I wanted to ask you know, I want to know about your process. This but the the idea of such an important conversation. You know, in New Jersey, we only have three seasons now. So something's happening. Tell us about your process to get this information out.
Right? Well, you're exactly right. I mean, climate change is the issue of our time, right. And if you're not covering climate change, you're not covering the biggest story in the world. And that's why our partners have signed on to this. And we want to make sure that we remove as many barriers as possible to making sure that we can focus on the complicated nature of the story, not the sharing of it, right. So we can pull up those slides that I've sent in, you can just skip right to the second slide to hear Joe. So this is the tool that we have built for story sharing. And I'll have some screen caps to show you in a minute here. But basically, all of our partners content is organized in five regional collections. They are put together in a what I would call semi automated way that come off RSS feeds that are tied already to topic specific verticals on a website, like climate or environment or something like that. And it was built for Accelerated Mobile Pages. So any site that is amped as they say, can go into this tool. It was built by distributed Media Lab for us. With a Google News initiatives grant, we can go to the next slide, and I'll give you a look here. So these are a couple of the regional collections that we have put together, we've got the Gulf, the West, the Great Lakes, there's also southwest, we've got some the SE as well. But this is what it looks like embedded on our website, it is only two lines of HTML code that's injected into the website, and allows this to display. The beauty of it is a website needs to be amped to put into this. But it does not need to be amped to host this. So any website can put this in. And I'm told it has virtually no impact on load times or anything like that, because the code is a pretty light lift. But what's exciting is you've seen this before, right? It looks like sponsored content, it looks like a related content thing at the bottom of any news story you've seen for years. What makes this special is it keeps you with our partner organization viewing trusted content. So we can go to the next slide. Say you click on one of these in the Great Lakes region. If I was on planet, Detroit's website, which is a great place to see this, they have it posted right at the bottom of their homepage, the view, if I'm on that website, and I click a click on Detroit story, this loads as a lightbox I have not left planet, Detroit's website. And I'm viewing partner content from another partner in the collab and they're getting credit for it. And it's loading as it would load on click on Detroit's website. So when you're scrolling through this, you're seeing all the images have come through all of the videos, the text is formatted as it was and everything's cleared, it takes away those problems of are the photos cleared for my use, did we introduce an error in the copy paste, and it just basically automates or centralizes, because I'm still touching it a little bit to make sure that the right stories are at the top, that kind of thing. But it helps take out that heavy lift of like manual copy pasting rights, all that stuff that's really tough, especially on small newsrooms with limited staff, right. So that's what we're really excited about is it lets the content just be shared with anyone that wants to share it. And the also beauty of it is you don't have to be a partner with the climate collaborative to host this, if you want to have those little strips of stories on your website, you can go to distributed Media Labs right now and embed one of those for your region. And you're getting content. We can talk more about this too. But the next thing that we're talking about for this, if you want to advance the slide is a way to monetize it to we're going to have a couple tears, we're still rolling that out right now and kind of figuring out the details. But the big picture is there's like a low tier where partners that embed this are basically doing no work on their end, and getting a little bit of money from traffic, right? There's going to be a mid tier where it's you can see it's that bottom one like a Go green vertical that's kind of evergreen sponsored or like evergreen sustainability content, that kind of thing that would be relevant to people that are already engaging with climate content, and then an opportunity to basically directly sponsor it for your news organization.
And that's pretty exciting. So that that would include obviously more work from an individual organization sales team, but it's a higher return. So we're kind of offering those up right now and seeing where the interest is. But yeah, to Joe's point in the chat, it is a potential thing. We don't pretend to have it all figured out. This is a pilot. It's a new tool. It's been up and running on people's sites for a while now. But the monetization thing is is a new tool for us and we're just kind of figuring it out and seeing where it goes. You can advance to the next slide, which is just a repeat so you can see these again, but these have a couple of different ways they can display their horizontal like this, or they have the opportunity to go in a vertical display. And they can go anywhere on a site, some people have them on their home pages, I have a link that I will drop in the chat to K stat. In San Antonio, if you'd like to see it in the wild, they linked the this on their like climate landing page, so you can interact with it. Same thing with Planet Detroit. But yeah, it can be at the bottom of a specific article, it can be on a homepage, it can be on a topic page. And it just gives people an opportunity to interact with our content that requires no editorial input. It's just one person, semi automating this so that it goes out to anyone that's embedded these, so we're really excited about it.
What, what, thank you, thank you. We're actually going to jump into the questions portion of this. And I'll let Melanie
actually I had a question for all of you guys. So how a lot of these some, you know, it's a way for like more streamlined way to share content digitally. But what about the folks who what about your print partners? Or? Or even like, I know, for our partners, they use our content in their newsletters, or they you know what he means? So is there a way is there an additional way that they can share that content other than these, these methods?
Well, sorry, I think Coburn and I both kind of detailed that she showed the back end download on her website. And I didn't have a slideshow, but we're using the AP story share product, which is a paid product, we have to pay for that product. So we did some additional fundraising in order to do that. And we're going to buy like a bulk membership, essentially, and then give out free logins to all of our subscribers. So they'll log in and be able to get high res elements there as well as the copy. And then like I mentioned, we might attach a Word doc to keep it simple for those folks like the small town newspaper in rural Wisconsin, where I'm from, they don't even really have a website, he only publishes print with his two employees. So that's kind of how we're thinking about it.
I'll say, in terms of sharing other content, we're we're more manual in that way if folks want to collaborate in the process of reporting a story. That's one of the reasons we're organized by region. And I do see Eric's question in the chat. I'll give you a link in a second here. But if that's hands on, right, when we're doing hands down reporting and sharing resources between partner newsrooms, we're connecting them directly. I'm kind of the go between of like, who's giving what, where is this going to live. And that's why we're organized by region is because climate is such like a universal story, but also a hyperlocal story, right? Like we experience climate change in the southwest much differently than in the Northeast or something. And it's different stories and different topics. And so we're that's why we have regional calls once a month, where we get our partners from one region on together to talk about, what are we working on? How can this story, you know, be improved from input, but that is admittedly a more manual process. But it's kind of a, you know, both sides of the coin.
I deal with one of the underlying questions that that's that's been frequent throughout the summit is about funding. So how do we fund the efforts, especially more elaborative ones that have so many moving parts? How do we fund the distribution efforts? Anyone?
I mean, this, go ahead, please, I'm sorry.
I mean, for us, it's it, it, it's having a person, I mean, it's having it's having the actual collaborative, exist, but also, you know, having a person to to put the stuff in the folder to make sure that we're communicating and when there are, you know, so that's where our funding needs to always comes from, is that sort of operational part. And you know, for right now, you know, we use we use the Google folder, and that that works for us right now. And it's free, but you know, down the road, that is a key part of getting our work out, you know, and so to each other. So, at some point, we may need to revisit and
imagine because once you get to enough space, you need to purchase
more space. It's presently not that expensive, but but we also we archive our stories and things like that, but I mean, there are downsides for sure. And like, you know, yeah, like making sure the folder doesn't get too close, you know, cluttered and making sure that we have it like all our stories archives to put stuff find them, but they're not right there. Yeah. Michael?
Yeah, I was just gonna say on the point of funding, like our our tool came from a Google News initiatives grant, right. There's interest in sharing something like this because we know it's a known problem that collaborating across various technical backgrounds and CMS and all this stuff, there's a lot of hiccups that get introduced just by folks working with different tak and that's where amp was kind of the magic, the magic thing that's so similar between almost any website that either is amped or can be amped. But that's why I think Google News initiatives had interest in a project like this. So
another question that was that was proposed was, and I know Coburn, and you've touched on this, and maybe maybe you all have, at some point in your in your conversation, but about editing, whether it's editing the text, or editing photographs or videos, from from your, from submissions, how do you go about editing, especially as an influx when you have so many partners? How do you go about editing? And getting it out?
Yeah, are you talking about editing the actual content? Yeah, I mean, we do have, you know, we have in house editors and reporters that are working on our own story, if it's a partner collaboration, sometimes we will actually just get permission ahead of time to edit the story. Like if it to make it more Wisconsin centric, or add a local Wisconsin source, something like that, sometimes we will add our own reporting to make it more Wisconsin focused. And so when and then just in terms of like, when I'm planning the photos, I just tried to make a selection ahead of time. So I'm only distributing like, you know, the best photos or five photos or something along with a story. So we're not just like dumping a ton of content on people. So so each of our stories are very carefully edited, and fact checked, actually, before we before we get them out the door, again, to try to minimize any sort of typos or factual errors that we might have. So we do have every story we put out, I mean, at least three or four people are looking at the story, the photos, the cut lines, before anything goes out the door, because again, like our names on it, and because it can get distributed anywhere and show up in any newspaper, like across the country, we just want to make sure we're just as factually accurate as we can. So just I saw somebody put a question in about early possible early release, and why we're doing that for some partners. I want to make, I think, I'm not sure if I totally get the question. But like, again, like our system was sort of set up when when Wisconsin watch was mostly serving print partners. And so it's, again, a little bit of a legacy system, where, you know, we were giving print partners a couple of days, to just lay out their paper and plan, you know, what their coverage was going to be. And so we would all publish at the same time, it was early access, just in a sense of like, just for layout purposes, but we'd set an embargo date and time, and we wouldn't publish until that same day. So that's sort of the history of why it was that way. And anybody can become a media partner. For us, it's not a terribly exclusive list, you just have to request it, and we'll put you on the list. And then, you know, we publish at the same time any newspapers is free to publish or any website and then after it's live on our site, anybody can republish it. So it's, it's a little bit early access, but just for the sake of planning, if that, that helps answer that question. It's not like they can publish sooner.
To you, Michael, on the editing, an idea of adding more specifically corrections, corrections.
For us. I heard one of the panels mentioning not wanting to, like, let everyone necessarily know when you've messed up, and I just sort of leaned into it from the jump, but like, we were just like, you know, people, everyone's gonna make mistakes. So we just, we use our email updates. And if there's a correction, they know, to tell me or to tell Rachel, we'll get that out as quickly as possible, whether it's us or or our partners, and we do try to tell him, you know, what was the error? Are you gonna get to, you know,
for our purposes on corrections, the beauty of AMP is that it's loading it fresh every time, right? So it's, I'm not editing the content, because I don't have oversight over these partner organizations. Other than that, they join our collaborative, right, they are creating it with their own editorial process that they have to stand behind the content, right, we are partnering together because we trust their editorial processes, obviously. But if they're issuing a correction in that tool, it'll update, right. So it'll be there. Everything has gone through, and it'll refresh as soon as they refresh. So you know, I'm sure there's a little technical delay there that is kind of behind the scenes, but it's loading live every time so we don't have to worry about pushing something out. It's it's living in the format that it lives in.
We're going to use Google Drive for editing purposes, and I'll be the primary editor for regional content on our desk, but I'll be working closely with the 10 editors at our partner newsrooms and then my boss Sarah Shipley. I also be a sort of backstop editors, but also lots of editors involved in terms of corrections. I was trained at Wisconsin watch as the intern there for a couple of years. And they have an extremely fastidious fact checking process that takes hours and hours and hours. So hopefully, we won't have a lot of corrections, because I'm going to be applying a similar method. But that's part of the reason why we chose AP story share, because there are some basic legal protections built into the agreement that our subscribers will sign like copyright protection. So we're hoping that that will protect us a little bit in the case, say where we publish a freelance contributors photo, and maybe the originating outlet didn't have full rights to use that. So hopefully, that doesn't happen. But some of that's written into those agreements, which was kind of partly why it was worth paying for.
Absolutely. I do have a question from Richard took Coburn. How does Wisconsin Watch collaborate with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service? Ideally, this is a series of questions. So I'll let you answer the first question. Yeah, that's
a Oh, it's a series. Okay. So the first question is, we are partners, we're also financial partners, we just got a joint American journalism project grant together. So we share content, we publish their stories they publish, and then they publish ours, but anybody can publish ours. But we also, you know, will republish their stories. And we also have a joint texting project called news 414, where we're distributing. You know, your news you can use to specific neighborhoods in Milwaukee through a text based service. And so people that are subscribed to that service can contact a reporter just on their phone, if they need specific information. Especially we're focusing on issues of housing and food insecurity. And so then we're also sort of like using that information to inform reporting that then shows up on both the NS site and on our site, and our reporters are working back and forth together collaborating. So it's, it's, you know, it's a partnership that just sort of crosses a lot of different different lines.
I like that you mentioned the text service, because text message marketing, and ways of communicating has such a high the message have such a high opening rate. So that's that's actually great. Then the next part of the question was, is there an example of a favorite collaboration? Oh, gosh.
I mean, my favorite one, I think, is just our most recent one with Wisconsin Public Radio, and also the new news lab in Northeast Wisconsin, where we got funding from the Green Bay Community Foundation, and also Microsoft to do reporting and to put out this pocket investigative podcast we've been working on for three years. So we've had reporter producer, editor, fact checking, and legal all was funded by Wisconsin watch, are provided by Wisconsin watch. And then W. W. PR provided the music, the engineering, the mixing and the distribution and the marketing. So that was huge lift that like neither of our organizations could have produced that content on our own. But by working together, we were able to put out this great podcast called open and shut, please subscribe. It's really good.
Nice. I do have a question. And it's really for everyone. We'll start with Michael. About the click through rate. So so on on the bottom on the bar at the bottom of you know, of the screen that you propose, what is the click through rate? Have you studied that? Have you studied the metrics in app?
Yeah, thanks for that question. I have heard. I don't have a number for you off the top of my head. I know it is growing because this is a new tool. And it kind of depends on the placement, right. I mean, some folks feature it very prominently on their sites, and it's in multiple spots, and it gets a lot of eyeballs, some some people have it just in one spot. I know it's growing. I don't have a metric for you. I think it kind of depends on the region and the content. And yeah, I guess the short answer is I don't have a number. But it's something that we're working to learn more about, especially as we launch and we look at this monetization process. And, you know, I mean, it also would depend right on the number of the traffic of your outlet. So yeah, that's, that's kind of a it's an iffy answer for you, but I don't have a number for you, but we're understood.
And, but that is a question, survival question. Because no matter even though, you know, we are attempting to get this content out, we will still want to study the metrics on it. And that really, that concludes our panel. I want to thank all of our panelists, Melanie Tegan. Ducard coborn, Ducard, Michael Crow, and and thank you guys so much, and thank you to the summit. I'm happy to be here. My name is James Fraser. Peace.
James, you're amazing. Thank you. And yeah, that was such an interesting conversation because this is distribution is something That so many news organizations collaborative struggle with that there's tools being built and if anyone wants to find more tools being built I think we've got some folks around the country who would love to be guinea pigs.