From The Editors: Four New Ways to Engage Our Readers

As we start our fourth year with LA Progressive, Sharon and I are reminded of the various methods we have taken to engage our readers, including launching Twitter feeds, Facebook groups, and our daily newsletter. Here, I thought I’d tell you about three new features we unveiled — and one we’ve revitalized — in the waning weeks of 2011:

  • Friday Feedback: Sharon and I read — admittedly, sometimes quite quickly — each comment readers append to LA Progressive articles, in part because the best of them are quite interesting (and others hilariously infuriating) and in part to weed out obvious spam, vile language, and the occasional death threat. But we know it’s easy for readers to miss these comments buried as they down at the bottom of the page, so we’ve revived our old practice of selecting a particularly pointed comment — or sometimes an exchange of comments like the recent one between Mark Halfmoon and Val Eisman — to bring to your attention each Friday.
  • saturday surveySaturday Survey: From Day One, we have run the occasional survey and frequently post quick polls. Now, because we’ve seen that readers like to share their views on important topics, we’ve formalized this process and will post surveys at least several Saturdays each month. Since October, we’ve conducted surveys on voting rights for the formerly incarcerated, sports and politics, and the death penalty. This Saturday, we’ll report on the current survey, about medical marijuana and the marijuana legalization debate, and will launch a new one.
  • Top 10 Stories: Over the weekend, we published our “Top 10 Stories of 2011,” listing the top accesses to LA Progressive articles last year. Going forward, we’ll certainly begin running a “Top 10 Stories of the Month” feature and will experiment with a weekly listing as well. We know at least some readers like to see how their reading tastes stack up against others, though a weekly list may quickly overload even the most loyal among you.
  • tech tip tuesdayTech Tip Tuesday: Because so much of today’s new media rests on the ever-changing technology underlying it, we’ve engaged Robert Link to report most Tuesdays on interesting developments at the nexus of technology, media, and the law. Building on a long career in technology, now complemented with a law degree, Robert has already addressed such topics as Wikipedia’s expanding role and Governor Jerry Brown’s problematic veto of a law that would limit police access to cell phone records.
  • From The Editors: As you can see from this example, we’ll use this column to talk directly to you about the plans we’re making for LA Progressive and our progress on those plans, as well as to unveil new features and seek your guidance. From the start, we’ve wanted to use our experience with LA Progressive to show others how two people with lots of energy, but no web development experience and no big war chest could evolve an online magazine as we have done. Because our work divides roughly along these lines, Sharon will probably talk more about the web development and business aspects, while I’ll address editorial plans.

Next time, I’ll talk about the authors who write for LA Progressive — how and why we recruit them, how we refresh the author pool, and what editorial strategy we use to develop our editorial profile.

We welcome your thoughts on our work with LA Progressive, posted here as comments, sent to us directly at dick_and_sharon@yahoo.com, or called to 323.226.0622,

Until then,

Dick Price, Editor
LA Progressive 

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