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How The Virginian-Pilot created a new beat around spending money

April 2, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

Shirley Qiu of Metrics for News writes about how The Virginian-Pilot newspaper used data to develop a new beat on helping readers spend money.

Qiu writes, “Jeff Reece, senior editor at The Pilot, put together a team of two business reporters as well as one food writer to start a consumer-focused beat, which would cover things like local retail, dining, business openings and closings, and trends, with deeper dives into consumer culture and where readers could spend their money.

“‘These were topics we already covered, but not particularly well,’ Reece said. ‘… By creating a team that took a more strategic approach, we hoped to better engage local readers.’

“That new strategy led to changes in the types of stories reporters pursue and how they cover them. For example, The Pilot’s food coverage now focuses more on the local dining scene, including restaurant reviews and industry trends, instead of writing about recipes, gadgets or food preparation. Reader engagement with the food and dining coverage has doubled since taking this new approach.

“On the business team, one reporter transitioned from writing generic business stories, like news about CEOs or a business’s quarterly numbers, to more consumer-focused stories, like the opening or closing of stores, and why. As a result, audience engagement to this reporter’s coverage increased 65 percent.”

Read more here.

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