Case Study in Innovation: Chicago Tribune

The Tribune Co. may be locked in a bankruptcy battle, but that hasn’t stopped the Trib from conducting some innovative experiments in journalism.  For starters, the Chicago Tribune has recently hired an innovation editor.

Long before Rob Karwath stepped foot on North Michigan Ave., however, the Trib has undertaken some nifty efforts to attract younger readers.  The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye is geared primarily toward Windy City residents in their 20s and 30s, while theMash is a news product for teenagers.

Recently, RedEye Web editor Steph Yiu spoke with my intro to news writing and reporting lab about some of the cool, exciting, trailblazing things they’re doing online.  We covered everything from the RedEye’s Daily Google WAVE to building a loyal audience of readers and connecting with the community through the use of social media outlets like Twitter (follow Yiu @crushgear) during the hour-long Skype call.  RedEye even has established its own social media posse.

As an in-lab assignment, I asked my students to write down short 140-character “tweets” as if they were posting on Twitter about Yiu’s talk. Here are some of the highlights of her talk, through my students’ pens:

-“RedEye is a community of readers, blog followers, twitterers and Facebook users”

-“RedEye is a genuine and community focused news source, check it out!”

-“Build a following by being genuine, responding to your readers, and use all tools to find your niche (Google, Twitter, etc.)”

-“Interact and engage with your readers, says Steph. Got to ask questions and personalize comments and statuses. Great advice!”

-“Steph said the best thing about learning about social media is that it’ll help us get a job! Woohoo! Better keep learning.”

-“90% web traffic for RedEye from Google or social media”

-“Posing questions instead of just posting headlines gets the audience involved.”

-” ‘I would like to say that we are perhaps the first newspaper to have a social media posse.’- Steph Yiu ”

-“Newspapers are all about community, from letters to the editor to social networking.”

-“Google Wave= RedEye jumped on about the week after it launched. Readers taught them pretty much how to use it.”

-“For newspapers that focus on a younger readership, social media is key.”

-“Social networking takes the Letters to the Editor to a new level of community for every topic and interest.”

-“I finally feel like I’m starting to understand the purpose of social media and how it all works. Thanks Steph Yiu!”


Steph Yiu chats with my journalism lab via Skype


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3 Responses to “Case Study in Innovation: Chicago Tribune”

  1. Alexis Grant Says:

    Look at that — I learned something from Steph’s talk, and I wasn’t even there! Thanks for the summary.

  2. Katie Says:

    Woohoo! Steph is awesome.

    – Her intern (who was not paid to say this) 🙂

  3. graybs Says:

    Steph has an intern!? Woah. I want an intern. Or a teaching assistant. Thanks for your comments. We really enjoyed the talk.

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