What are the stories that college audiences like to read and share?

NPR had an experiment among its 2.3 million Facebook page audiences to find out the types of local stories that are more likely to be read and shared by readers. The experiment identified nine types of local stories that will engage audiences.

Some of these story types (with modifications by me) will work equally well for digital-first college media to engage both print and digital audiences – students and alumni will be  likely to read these stories and, more importantly, share them on social media networks. Moreover, they will also help journalism students brainstorm story ideas for their news writing assignments:

  • Place explainers: What are the characteristics about this campus that the community takes pride in, but lesser known to outsiders or newcomers?
  • Crowd pleasers: Anything that can make the community feel proud about – awards, achievements, milestones, etc.
  • News explainers: For big campus news, other than “what happened,” write about why and how it happened, and its impact on the community.
  • Feel-good smilers: Think “awww,” think “awesome,” think “hilarious.” Most of all, think positive: this category is made up of happy stories.
  • Topical buzzers: A larger, ongoing regional or national topic/event that may affect this campus.

For your reference: NPR compiled its findings – the nine story categories – into an infographic, which is included below:

stories that engage local people

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About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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