Audience and Engagement: What You Can Expect

Class 1 – 1/29:

First Half – The audience equation: thinking about audience size, value, proximity, how much they are already served, and how they consume. How will you serve them? What topics/events will they care about in the next two months? What is your foot in their door? They could be an interest group, ethnic group, or just a life-place group (like students bored in lecture with laptops open).

Second Half – Stanford d.School teams exercise. Everyone gets a chance to pitch the group on their ideas, people get to choose which ones interest them most, and final project teams are chosen.  We expect to have four groups of about four students each.

Homework: Phase-one action plan (team jobs, first week content strategy, primary and secondary outlets chosen, 8-week coverage sketch w/ tentpoles, web assets, your one-sentence value-prop pitch) due @ noon on 2/2, total implementation of phase-one due by next class.

Class 2 – 2/5:

First Half – Network norms and the changing face of social/web distribution. Also, group presentations of progress, audience growth and next steps. Voice, tone and perspective.

Second Half – Workshop time

Class 3 – 2/12:

First Half – Partners in coverage – what entities might you partner with to increase distribution? Other news outlets? Community action groups? Social accounts of unusual size? How do you find and identify those across platforms?

Second Half – Workshop time

Homework: Populate list of potential partner targets – due @ noon 2/16. Secure one real distro partner by next class.

Class 4 – 2/19:

First Half – Paid Promo: Behind the curtain of how Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and others grew so fast. Also, group presentations of progress, audience growth and next steps.

Second Half – I like, I wish, how might we? An exercise to take stock of where we are in the quarter and how we might reorient in the second half to improve learning and success.

Quick exercise in audience profiles and thinking about finding your people online—plus workshop.

Class 5 2/26:

First Half – The evolving story. How do you make an evolving story serve your audience over a multi-day cycle?

Second Half – Workshop time

Class 6 – 3/5:

First Half – Punching outside your content-weight class: Curating without diluting your own value.

Second Half – Workshop time

Class 7 – 3/12:

Group presentations – where we are, what we learned, who we served.  This will be done in conjunction with other sections, where all the projects will be seen by an audience of students, faculty and a few outsiders.

Here are some examples of projects from last semester, and a list of platforms that might prove useful as we go along:

Her Obamacare:




Track Tolerance:



Ask Syria:




NYC Water Ways:




Some Helpful Links

Online Tools:


Tumblr –









For Timelines:



Mapping Tools:

Google Fusion Tables/ and google maps

Interesting Post on Mapping tools:

Carto db has a free class on online mapping on Dec. 3. It will be streamed online, so anyone can access it!





From Speakers on Finding Sources – by Kate Fink

Public Insight Network:

email: to access

Topsy: to search Twitter history

Tweeps: If you are looking for anything in particular on Twitter:



ProfNet: ( warning: PR firm)

Help a reporter Out: (warning: PR firm)

SourceSleuth: (warning: PR firm)


For Analytics:

Google Analytics:



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