This Nieman Lab post about Voice of San Diego‘s search for an “engagement editor” got me thinking about all the things somebody in that kind of position could do — and just how far the potential extends.
OK, sure, they’d hang out on Twitter and Facebook, and probably serve as the primary moderator for story comment threads. But that could easily end up being only a fraction of a community engagement editor’s work week. If I were designing the position of community engagement editor for a newspaper, here are some of the things I’d put on the list:
- Manage the news organization’s social media accounts and serve as an evangelist for social media use among the staff, holding workshops to teach interested staff members how Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools can help them with their work.
- Teach staff members about curation tools they can use to enhance their reports.
- Moderate comment threads — not just by monitoring them for inappropriate comment, but also by getting timely answers for reader questions posed in the threads.
- Work with section editors to identify places where reader-submitted material can be used to enhance the newspaper’s content.
- Reach out to schools and community organizations, holding meetings with their staff members to show them how they can get their content into print and onto the news organization’s Web site.
- Organize free community workshops on topics like photography, with the goal of increasing community awareness of the newspaper’s interest in reader-submitted content and improving the overall quality of what’s submitted.
- Identify and recruit people who would be willing to serve as occasional correspondents. The parent who’s bringing a camera to the game anyway and can send us pictures, allowing us to get art for games we aren’t able to staff; the running store owner who might be able to take charge of sending in results from 5Ks and other races.
- Serve as a point of contact for reader-submitted content, giving regular contributors a familiar face to interact with and piloting the flow of information.
- Hold regular “office hours” at places like coffee shops and restaurants to increase interaction between the newspaper staff and the community. When possible, invite another editor to come along.
- Take charge of staffing booths at county fairs, chamber expos and other events that provide an opportunity for interaction with large numbers of people.
That’s my list so far. What would you add?