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Brad Flora, Windy Citizen

Social Media and the News

WindyCitizen.com Founder, Brad Flora, discusses how social media is enabling people to define how they consume news.

Windy Citizen’s audience is leading a new revolution. Brad Flora, founder of the online local news aggregation site, calls his audience “the Paul Reveres” of Chicago. He says he designed the site to allow others to find the news they want and wouldn’t find elsewhere.

Flora, who recently won a 2010 Knight News Award for WC’s real-time advertising software, says the key to piquing audience’s interest is to keep things simple. Site visitors can check out the front page to see what local stories are popular (usually fun angles)–such as lighting striking two buildings at once or a Chicken mascot dancing — then vote for their favorites using Twitter or Facebook. To simplify it even more, audiences can elect to follow their favorite posters and read topics of personal interest.

Because audiences are increasingly using Twitter to learn and inform others about current new topics, more voices are having an impact on what’s being said about Chicago, says Flora, a far cry from how information has been traditionally distributed by traditional media.

At the Making Media Connections 2010 conference, Flora shared why he believed nonprofits aren’t getting media attention.

“There’s this overriding theme from a lot of organizations, it seems like in Chicago they don’t feel like they’re being heard or it’s not easy to get their message out,” said Flora. “And that’s very frustrating to me.”

Windy Citizen gets over 100,000 hits each month, and aside from the foundation funds, Flora uses personal funds to run his site. He concludes nonprofits aren’t offering content audiences want to return to the site to read.  According to Flora, nonprofit communicators should listen to what’s being said in their communities and then figure out how to respond to that conversation.

Social News and Nonprofits

WindyCitizen.com Founder, Brad Flora, discusses what nonprofits can do to improve their media outreach efforts.

Category: 2010 NEW News Report, 2010 Report Section 5

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