While working on a long-term investigative project about local law enforcement, WCPO thought about how their users may respond to the story once it was published. They realized they may get pushback for investigating police officers and decided to publish a story explaining why they are holding law enforcement accountable. They also highlight how being a watchdog is part of their mission as a news organization. The news team said the explainer story helped keep the focus on their reporting and what they uncovered instead of anti-cop rhetoric they were anticipating.
While working on a long-term investigative project about local law enforcement, WCPO thought about how their users may respond to the story once it was published. They realized they may get pushback for investigating police officers and decided to publish a story explaining why they are holding law enforcement accountable. They also highlight how being a watchdog is part of their mission as a news organization. The news team said the explainer story helped keep the focus on their reporting and what they uncovered instead of anti-cop rhetoric they were anticipating.
Screenshot from WCPO's Facebook page, showing an article where they asked for reader feedback.
WCPO followed the lead of ESPN and reported that an NFL player would be leaving the Bengals. Turns out it wasn’t true. WCPO addressed the mistake head-on by writing about how the mistake happened on their website. They shared their step-by-step reporting process, which involved relying on ESPN’s citing of anonymous sources. This led them to share their anonymous source policy and ask their audience for feedback. “Should we publish and air stories from other respected news organizations citing anonymous sources,” they asked. They then shared the article with a call for feedback on Facebook.
Screenshot from WCPO's website, showing a post with the headline: "WCPO leadership makes decisions about what stories the station covers every day"
WCPO talked directly to their users about their story selection process. In a post on their website, they talked about what types of questions are involved when they make decisions about what to cover and what not to cover. Included in the note was mention of their approach to stories involving suicide and their approach to covering car accidents. The news team also shared the story on Facebook and received over 100 comments from users.
WCPO wrote a web article explaining the important role trust plays in their relationship with their community. The article discussed their participation in the Trusting News project and highlighted how they are going to try to be more trustworthy. The web article also invited feedback from users.
WCPO wrote a web article explaining the important role trust plays in their relationship with their community. The article discussed their participation in the Trusting News project and highlighted how they are going to try to be more trustworthy. The web article also invited feedback from users.
WCPO discussed their core beliefs as a news organization while updating their "about" page on their website. They told users they loved their city, discussed how they strive for accuracy and said one of their goals is to be transparent with users. The post was also shared on Facebook where it received hundreds of comments. The news organization said the post worked well and "people seemed to relate, ask questions and respond" to them.
WCPO discussed their core beliefs as a news organization while updating their “about” page on their website. They told users they loved their city, discussed how they strive for accuracy and said one of their goals is to be transparent with users. The post was also shared on Facebook where it received hundreds of comments. The news organization said the post worked well and “people seemed to relate, ask questions and respond” to them.
WCPO shared a Washington Post article about President Donald Trump on Facebook and added a note about how they choose to cover the president and politicians. They wanted to highlight how they hold people in power accountable because of how it impacts the public.
WCPO shared a Washington Post article about President Donald Trump on Facebook and added a note about how they choose to cover the president and politicians. They wanted to highlight how they hold people in power accountable because of how it impacts the public.
When WCPO reported on a public official's improper--but not illegal--behavior, they anticipated that readers might question their motivations. So, the news organization published a separate story explaining why editors found the behavior to be newsworthy and how the incident related to larger issues in local government. A call-out reinforced WCPO's commitment to transparent coverage and invited feedback.
When WCPO reported on a public official’s improper–but not illegal–behavior, they anticipated that readers might question their motivations. So, the news organization published a separate story explaining why editors found the behavior to be newsworthy and how the incident related to larger issues in local government. A call-out reinforced WCPO’s commitment to transparent coverage and invited feedback.
WCPO published a story explaining how the editorial board and process works at their news organization. The story discussed what topics they will focus editorials on and their policy when it comes to endorsing candidates.
WCPO published a story explaining how the editorial board and process works at their news organization. The story discussed what topics they will focus editorials on and their policy when it comes to endorsing candidates.
If one of your journalists writes a book about a story they have been working on or produces a documentary, highlight it. Two of WCPO's journalists were involved in publishing a book about "Fiona the Hippo," a local zoo animal that has gone viral. The news organization held a book signing and invited their users. More than 100 people attended the event.
If one of your journalists writes a book about a story they have been working on or produces a documentary, highlight it. Two of WCPO’s journalists were involved in publishing a book about “Fiona the Hippo,” a local zoo animal that has gone viral. The news organization held a book signing and invited their users. More than 100 people attended the event.
Explaining why you're covering a story can help readers understand your motivations. WCPO used language like "we wanted to better understand communities that often are in the news only when crime has occurred there" can speak to those who assume journalists only want to drum up controversy and negativity.
Explaining why you’re covering a story can help readers understand your motivations. WCPO used language like “we wanted to better understand communities that often are in the news only when crime has occurred there” can speak to those who assume journalists only want to drum up controversy and negativity.
Themes:
Newsroom:
Taking the time to respond authentically to comments, especially when people take time to offer real suggestions, can build trust. In this example, a commenter suggested that improvements were needed in how the station chose sources for stories about firearms. When the editor offered his email address and asked for suggestions, a thoughtful and fruitful email exchange resulted.
WCPO created a pro/con pull-out box on their website for a story to clearly show users both sides of a tax issue. By making it look different on their website they were able to drive users attention to it. The story outperformed in metrics compared to normal metrics for stories like this.
WCPO created a pro/con pull-out box on their website for a story to clearly show users both sides of a tax issue. By making it look different on their website they were able to drive users attention to it. The story outperformed in metrics compared to normal metrics for stories like this.
WCPO addiction story
WCPO highlighted their commitment to their community in a Facebook post when they shared a link to a story about heroin addiction. They focused on how this particular story is one of hope.
WCPO discussed the impact their corporate office has on their news decisions. They wrote, “that’s one of a few basic creeds of journalism ethics, and we claim it proudly. At WCPO-9 On Your Side, our journalism decisions – what we decide to cover and how we tell our stories – begin and end every day right here in our Cincinnati newsroom. Our corporate parent, The E. W. Scripps Company, is just a mile away, but our company leaders make it a point to stay out of our local journalism decision-making. They focus on running a strong and secure business; we focus on bringing you the news. You can trust us on that.”
Facebook comments can be an effective way to say directly to your community that you value their trust, then invite and answer questions. WCPO editors did just that. In the comments that followed, some commenters complained in general about bias in the media and fake news. An editor replied by inviting specific examples from their coverage. Not only that, he included his own email address. That shows that the station is open to feedback, but it also keeps the conversation focused on their own coverage, not the media overall.