The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press started a series called The Helper where they highlight people and groups who are stepping up to help others during the coronavirus outbreak. By reporting on positive news that uplifts the community, it shows the organization’s breadth of work, as well as their commitment to their community.
Virginian-Pilot
When encouraging engagement and response to comments on your website or on social media platforms, it’s important to make sure your newsroom is equipped to jump in and help. The Virginian-Pilot created a guide for their reporters and editors to help them better respond to user comments and increase engagement.
Screenshot showing the "Submit News" page on The Virginian-Pilot's website.
The Virginian-Pilot took a look at their contact form system and realized it was clunky. Instead of being forwarded directly to an email address, journalists had to login to a different system to access what was submitted. To fix this, they decided to redirect the “contact the newsroom” option to another form that was more easily accessible for the newsroom. This provided easier access to the tips and feedback from users and increased the likelihood of users receiving responses.
When a snowstorm delayed the delivery of their newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot published a story to their website and social media channels explaining that there would/could be a delay in delivery. The post also linked to a digital version of the newspaper that people could view immediately.
When a snowstorm delayed the delivery of their newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot published a story to their website and social media channels explaining that there would/could be a delay in delivery. The post also linked to a digital version of the newspaper that people could view immediately.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining the difference between news, opinion and analysis in their paper. The discussed how they define each title and how users can tell them apart.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining the difference between news, opinion and analysis in their paper. The discussed how they define each title and how users can tell them apart.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining how it writes headlines. The piece discussed how digital and print headlines may be different sometimes and explaining their approach to subject.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining how it writes headlines. The piece discussed how digital and print headlines may be different sometimes and explaining their approach to subject.
During Sunshine Week, The Virginian-Pilot wrote about how public information laws and FOIA work. They talked about how anyone can request information and provided a step-by-step guide waling people through the process. Sharing this information allowed them a chance to talk more about their commitment to the community and show users they are here to help.
During Sunshine Week, The Virginian-Pilot wrote about how public information laws and FOIA work. They talked about how anyone can request information and provided a step-by-step guide waling people through the process. Sharing this information allowed them a chance to talk more about their commitment to the community and show users they are here to help.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining what an anonymous source is and isn't. They discussed when they may use anonymous sources and also explained why you will not see them use them that often.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining what an anonymous source is and isn’t. They discussed when they may use anonymous sources and also explained why you will not see them use them that often.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining how their "letters to the editor" section works. It talked about how stories are selected and who is in charge of selecting the stories. The explanation post was also published in print.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining how their “letters to the editor” section works. It talked about how stories are selected and who is in charge of selecting the stories. The explanation post was also published in print.
Your commenters can be some of your most opinionated readers, and sometimes they have questions about the comments themselves. The Virginian-Pilot created a FAQ that addressed questions about usernames, community guidelines, bans and more. Plus, having a clear policy can help when they do need to enforce the rules.
Your commenters can be some of your most opinionated readers, and sometimes they have questions about the comments themselves. The Virginian-Pilot created an FAQ that addressed questions about usernames, community guidelines, bans and more. Plus, having a clear policy can help when they do need to enforce the rules.
As journalists, we sometimes forget that words in our daily vocabulary might not be familiar to readers. The Virginian-Pilot created a plain-language glossary, explaining terms like wire, editorial, exclusive, and more. Having this reference can come in handy when readers have questions, like whether "analysis" is news or opinion.
As journalists, we sometimes forget that words in our daily vocabulary might not be familiar to readers. The Virginian-Pilot created a plain-language glossary, explaining terms like wire, editorial, exclusive, and more. Having this reference can come in handy when readers have questions, like whether “analysis” is news or opinion.
Hashtags can let your Twitter followers know what type of story you're sharing at a glance, helping them to frame their expectations before even landing on your website. The Virginian-Pilot created hashtags to better categorize content on Twitter for their users. They created #VPColumn and #VPEditorial for opinion content, and #VPBreaking for developing stories.
Hashtags can let your Twitter followers know what type of story you’re sharing at a glance, helping them to frame their expectations before even landing on your website. The Virginian-Pilot created hashtags to better categorize content on Twitter for their users. They created #VPColumn and #VPEditorial for opinion content and #VPBreaking for developing stories.
Internal meetings helped the staff at The Virginian-Pilot reach an agreement on what terms like exclusive, breaking, developing or enterprise mean when it comes to categorizing stories. Once they came to an agreement a glossary was published online to explain these terms to readers. As a bonus, the news organization said the labeling effort helped them better track performance on these stories, too.
Internal meetings helped the staff at The Virginian-Pilot reach an agreement on what terms like exclusive, breaking, developing or enterprise mean when it comes to categorizing stories. Once they came to an agreement a glossary was published online to explain these terms to readers. As a bonus, the news organization said the labeling effort helped them better track performance on these stories, too.
Are your reporters getting recognized in the journalism world? If so, highlight this good work for your local readers. When a reporter's story was featured by the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization, the Virginian-Pilot highlighted the reporter's work and the real-world impact that resulted from the investigative story.
Are your reporters getting recognized in the journalism world? If so, highlight this good work for your local readers. When a reporter’s story was featured by the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization, the Virginian-Pilot highlighted the reporter’s work and the real-world impact that resulted from the investigative story.
The Virginian Pilot highlighted their journalists' credentials by having them update their online profiles. Information about their journalism experience can create trust and build credibility, while some fun facts show a more human, relateable side. This project would be easy to replicate, so take a moment to check: Do your reporters have bios? And would a reader be able to easily find them?
The Virginian Pilot highlighted their journalists’ credentials by having them update their online profiles. Information about their journalism experience can create trust and build credibility, while some fun facts show a more human, relateable side. This project would be easy to replicate, so take a moment to check: Do your reporters have bios? And would a reader be able to easily find them?