Mark Davies is a Global News Manager at the Associated Press in New York. Along with his colleagues, Mark is at the centre of the AP’s daily global news output every day. In this guest post, Mark explains how his team use NewsWhip Spike in their daily workflow.
The Associated Press has been sharing news for 170 years. So how is the world’s oldest news cooperative keeping pace in the era of distributed content? NewsWhip helps us in two ways. Firstly, the Spike dashboard lets us surface trending topics and react to them quickly, no matter where in the world the news is breaking.
Secondly, we’ve partnered with NewsWhip to develop a new ‘syndication’ tool that allows us to track use of AP content and analyze how it is driving social engagement for our members and customers. That’s helping us tailor AP content to meet future digital demands.
NewsWhip Spike in use during the AP morning news meeting at New York headquarters, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Corporate Communications)
Local trends, global view: Spike
Operating from 260 locations in more than 100 countries, the AP is well placed to respond to local stories when they go viral, gathering a global audience. Our key to using Spike has been to roll it out to every international and US regional editing desk. We’ve trained editors in all those locations to build a series of saved searches in Spike, so they can constantly monitor breaking news and viral content across their own region (and languages).
Sometimes Spike is our first signal of a social story. At other times, we may already have a brief AP report or access to member or affiliate coverage on a story that is trending. We can react immediately by giving it wider distribution, or opting to do more on the subject. The regional approach also helps us target topics that are of particular relevance to our customers in that part of the world.
At our largest newsrooms – in New York, London and Washington – AP runs much broader Spike searches. Political staff track the US presidential primaries with pages specific to each candidate. Our entertainment, sports and business teams surface trends for their own verticals. And AP’s Nerve Center in New York keeps a global perspective, presenting NewsWhip analytics at key news meetings and using Spike to track longer-term trends in social engagement.
Filling the analytics gap: Syndication
NewsWhip’s syndication product tracks news agency content across the web.
As a news agency, the AP faces unique analytics challenges. Our text, video, photos and digital content are delivered to more than 14,000 newsrooms and some 700 broadcast networks worldwide. That means we can’t deploy the analytics tools common in many newsrooms to tell us how AP content is performing, as it is being consumed via third-party sites.
Recognizing the potential, AP worked with NewsWhip to fill this analytics gap with a new ‘syndication’ tool (above). This matches AP stories against Spike’s vast repository of content, allowing us to track use of AP copy by our customers in real time. Each desk can search for its own stories, giving reporters valuable insight into how their copy is being used. Wider statistics on content use are incorporated into our news meetings. But such quantitative data is just part of the story.
We’re now delving deeper into NewsWhip’s social data, looking at how AP content is driving engagement for our customers on their sites. We’re analyzing stories that did well in terms of social shares, seeing what we can improve. Was it simply a great story that cried out to be shared, or did our customer do something smart to deepen engagement? All AP customers can edit our copy to fit their own style – so did they write a better headline, change the approach or display it in a particular way?
We’re also looking at how different versions of a story rate in terms of social engagement. All those qualitative findings are being relayed back to our journalists as part of regular updates on ways to improve engagement and add value for AP members.
Working with members
A growing number of AP members and customers are also using NewsWhip. So here are a few tips we prepared for members and broadcasters in the U.S., which also apply universally:
Save Multiple Searches – Use filters plus simple search terms to build multiple search pages.
Local Topics and Regional Trends – Get in front by building search pages for local cities, beats and topics. Widen the search to nearby states/regions to see what is trending there. Can you localize it?
Deepen Engagement – Analyze social interaction on stories of interest across multiple sites. Did a competitor have a better approach that drove high engagement? What content works for others in your market? Combine that data with your own analytics for a bigger picture of what drives social success.
Note: In May 2015, The Associated Press became investors in NewsWhip. Editorial meeting photos: Charles Zoeller/AP Photo