Futures Lab Update #90: Editing Viral Content; and Monitoring State Legislators

    by Reuben Stern
    January 22, 2015
    What goes into making content go viral? Newsrooms are employing people whose job is to task themselves with that concern. Screenshot courtesy of RJI.

    This week we learn about the work of viral content editors, and we see how public data can be pulled together to monitor the work of lawmakers.

    "The thing about it that's really interesting is that there's a lot of human psychology that goes into viral content, because you're really always trying to determine what is it that people en masse find super compelling and super interesting." -- Diana Bruk, viral content editor, Hearst Magazines

    PART 1: Viral content editors

    With social sharing now an important part of news distribution, having a full-time person assigned specifically to the task is increasingly common inside news operations. We learn more about the work and content involved from Diana Bruk, viral content editor at Hearst Magazines, and Annie Colbert, viral content editor at Mashable.
    Reporting by Rachel Wise, Allison Prang and Reuben Stern.
    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]


    For more information:

    PART 2: Access Missouri

    NPR-affiliate station KBIA recently partnered with a team from the University of Missouri to create Access Missouri, a website that pulls together publicly available data about local legislators. KBIA News Director Ryan Famuliner explains how the site offers a new way for the public to keep tabs on their elected representatives.
    Reporting by Tatiana Darie.
    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    For more information:


    A key to success for something like Access Missouri might be getting a coalition of news organizations to steer their audiences toward the site, according to panelists from KBIA’s media criticism program “Views of The News.”

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

    FuturesLabWebBanner-mediashiftThe Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: Access Missouri government accountability local legislators psychology rji rji video lab social sharing viral content virality watchdog journalism

    Comments are closed.

  • Who We Are

    MediaShift is the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes MediaShift, EducationShift, MetricShift and Idea Lab, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.

    About MediaShift »
    Contact us »
    Sponsor MediaShift »
    MediaShift Newsletters »

    Follow us on Social Media