These are a few projects I'm most proud of that I've helped lead or contributed to.
The Evergrey: The project and daily e-mail newsletter
We launched The Evergrey newsletter beta in September 2016 in partnership with WhereBy.Us, the parent company of The Evergrey and The New Tropic, a similar newsletter the WhereBy.Us founders created in 2015. Before officially launching the newsletter a few weeks later, we did extensive reader research and analysis in Seattle to learn more about the behavior and needs of our audience. This post announcing our launch explains more about the original idea behind The Evergrey. Today, the newsletter has nearly 10,000 readers and a 36 percent open rate.
WhereBy.Us: The local teams' editorial strategy
At WhereBy.Us, our model is to have very lean on-the-ground teams that are supported by a centralized staff. Our limited local resources mean that we have to be smart and efficient about what we cover in our local communities and how we cover it. I worked with our local teams to create the foundation for an editorial strategy that we've continued to iterate on as we learn what works and what doesn't in each market. The biggest challenge with this project was deciding what aspects of the strategy needed to be consistent across all our cities and what parts could be customized by each city. Alongside that challenge is trying to figure out what work could be centralized for efficiency and what work absolutely had to be done in each local market to ensure authenticity for each brand.
The Evergrey: Melting Mountains: An Urban-Rural Gathering
Soon after the 2016 presidential election, many of The Evergrey's readers told us how they felt confused and frustrated and wanted to better understand others' political point of views. Using a tool The Washington Post built, we looked up the nearest county that voted exactly opposite to Seattle's King County and found Sherman County, Oregon. We arranged a trip to Sherman County with a group of Seattleites for an afternoon of conversation with folks who had very different experiences and perspectives. The project was challenging in many ways (which we discuss here) including the fact that we had a very short amount of time with each other because Sherman County was so far away. But everyone who participated thanked us for the opportunity to get out of each of their ideological bubbles. Here's a post I wrote rounding up some of the participant's feelings and my own a year later.
The Seattle Times: Under Our Skin
At The Seattle Times, a group of us in the newsroom started having conversations about how we cover conversations about race. As a result, we designed a video explainer-based project called Under Our Skin that featured 18 Seattleites' definitions of words like racist, safe space, politically correct. I helped find the interviewees, conducted a few of the interviews, helped edit the scripts and designed and curated the comments section. Here I am talking about the project with my colleague and project editor on a local TV morning show. Other strategies we used to promote the project included hosting an AMA with the interviewees, presenting at numerous events around town and publishing readers' reactions. The project won many awards, including the 2017 Online Journalism Award in Explanatory Reporting. There were so many impacts it's impossible to list them all, but what made me most proud was hearing from readers who said it gave them a tool to start conversations about race that they wouldn't have had otherwise.
Education Lab: Student Voices, Ignite Education Lab, Education Lab IQ
As the engagement editor for The Seattle Times' Education Lab, a grant-funded project that focuses on promising approaches to education in Washington state, I experimented with strategies to increase reader engagement: I created a Student Voices project, which recruited and trained high school students to write first-person essays that I later edited and published on seattletimes.com; I designed and event managed Ignite Education Lab that featured live storytelling from educators and students; I launched Education Lab IQ, based on Hearken's reader-generated question model, and based on a reader's question, wrote an explainer on education funding, which won third place for Best of the West explanatory reporting on education finance.
Chalkbeat: Measures of Our Reporting's Influence (MORI)
At Chalkbeat, a nonprofit education news site, I helped develop and launch MORI, a WordPress plugin to track the impact of Chalkbeat's journalism. My work included managing a developer, creating instructional materials and training staff and building buy-in, which led to reporters inputting more than 90 reporting impacts over a six-month period. I also contributed to a white paper on measuring journalistic impact with Chalkbeat's co-founders.