Regional Internet Media: Part 3. Filling the site with news

    Having told in the first two parts about general issues and policy issues, it’s not without pleasure that I turn to specifics in the work of the media. I apologize for the delay in the release of this part - there were many cases, and I wanted to think and formulate the material better. It turned out a lot.

    In this part, I’ll talk about where the news comes from, what the editors can do with them, which topics and materials are most interesting and not interesting to readers. But I'll start from another.

    Before you talk about the news, I must say a few words about the editors of the Internet media. In the comments to the first part, my colleague from Poltava wrote the following:

    Unfortunately, the site still does not fully pay off due to advertising, but I think that as the site develops, the site will reach a level of profitability.

    We are talking about a site with 6 thousand hosts per day, which is not small by regional standards, and three journalists, which can be considered an average. At the same time, the site seems to be interesting. But it doesn’t pay off ...

    There are different approaches, but so far the regional market for online advertising does not contribute to the appearance of projects that incur significant costs, so if the phrase “newspaper editorial” is associated with the Daily Bugle from Spider-Man, I will have to disappoint you.

    Starting with an office in the city center and a large staff of journalists is at least risky. I will proceed from the fact that a novice media manager does not have the opportunity to invest any significant money in the project. Neither conscience nor experience allow me to call to spend a million a year on a regional project (since we ourselves are on the path of minimum costs).

    Where does the news come from

    You have finished preparations and are ready to start filling the site with information. Where to get it?

    Here are the main sources of information:
    1. Press services of state and municipal institutions.
    2. Press services of political parties.
    3. Press services of commercial organizations.
    4. Other local online media.
    5. Offline media.
    6. Paid news feeds.
    7. Local forums, blogs, groups in social networks.
    8. Your correspondents.
    I’ll tell you more about each of them, as well as what can be done with the information received.

    Press services of state and municipal institutions

    Administration of the district, city, region, local departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, FSB, FSKN, FSIN, Federal Tax Service, FMS, Ministry of Emergencies and others. This is the main information backbone (or ballast) of most online media. Write down the addresses of the sites of all departments, departments, offices. They need to be visited daily, and some several times. After some time, you will understand how this or that press service works: when it has updates, what information it publishes.

    Press releases, as a rule, can simply be copied with the source, but it’s better to at least rewrite. Firstly, it is important for website promotion (more about this in the following sections, I will simply refer to “promotion” during the course of the article), and secondly, they are often written so poorly that rewriting is simply necessary. Peculiarly reports on the work done, for example, our local prosecutor's office - spherical clerical in a vacuum. There are reverse cases. Personally, I like the way the press service of the regional department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs works. Their articles are almost always published in their original form.

    Some press services publish statistical information. It must be somehow processed, comprehended. You can make infographics. If it works out well, then this may become one of the trump cards of your media.

    When we started, the information was worse. Now almost all structures have sites on which important information is regularly published. Some, however, prefer e-mail to communicate with the media, but as soon as they begin to read you, and these press services will contact you. As far as I know, many of the press services report on the work precisely on the number of uses of their materials in the media.

    Here I would refer the sites of the courts. Courts work with GAS "Justice", which reflects the movement of all cases and access to which is on the sites. Typically, the search is located in the “Litigation” section. You should not look for news there, but on the whole, you have to look there from time to time to clarify one or another moment.

    As an advice, I can propose grouping typical criminal news into one article (but not always, about this in the following parts), and putting daily reports (for example, on the number of fires) somewhere behind the main news feed.

    Rat, copy-paste, or express the opinion of the editors regarding the events covered - you decide. Most likely there will be situations where each of these actions is appropriate.

    Political Party Press Services

    I wrote about politics in the media in the previous parts, because there will be an exclusively news aspect of the work of the press services of political parties.

    There is little interesting news there. There are various statements that there is no need to rewrite or copy paste to unbiased media. You can write an article about the fact that political party X expressed dissatisfaction with official Y, but in the article it is advisable to talk about the conflict itself, or refer to previous articles on this topic. You can ask for a comment from official J.

    In the total mass of news these occupy an insignificant share and worthy informational occasions are rare. Most news from political parties is pure chatter that is of no interest to anyone. True, it is worth reading about the rallies and other actions held by the parties in the original source. The coverage of the rallies has its own characteristics, the main of which is the calculation of the number of participants.

    If you were not at the rally, count from the photos. Photos from the organizers of the rally may be such that it is unlikely that it will be possible to calculate something, so look for alternative photo essays. From the photographs you determine the boundaries of the crowd, on the map you consider the area that it occupies. The usual Soviet elevator, as far as I remember, has dimensions slightly more than a meter on each side. Because of the walls that no one wants to touch, you can consider it a square meter. You’re wondering how many people would have climbed into an elevator at a density like at a rally. So you can roughly estimate the number of protesters.

    I would not recommend trusting the organizers, as well as their opponents. The truth is somewhere between these numbers. At our place, as far as I can tell, the police quite accurately believes, but I can’t say how things are in your region.

    Press services of commercial organizations

    For the most part - it’s quite boring, but still there is some benefit from them. First, serious companies monitor the media. They will see to themselves - they will be delighted, they will take your media on a pencil. Secondly, there are really important news that may interest many. Interesting promotions of Internet providers also deserve attention, because 100% of your audience is Internet users.

    I’ll talk about a possible commercial component of such news in the part about income.

    Other local online media

    It's about your direct competitors and news agencies.

    Technically, you can copy news from them, if the license allows it. The first couple of months, we did something like this until we realized that all this news was copy-paste from the press service sites. Once or twice we had conflicts because of reprints, but this happened because of sloppiness and was settled by deleting the news.

    Another thing is that applying for something, living solely at the expense of copy-paste, is problematic. But the topic of other media as sources of information is broader than simply copying materials.

    If we are talking about an event covered by various media, you need to familiarize yourself with these reports, even if you yourself were present there. You never know what you missed.

    Sometimes on the colleagues site you can find missing news from an official source.

    Whether to review the unique reports of competitors, ask conscience and a lawyer.

    Offline Media

    From the point of view of news , print media are not interesting to you. Reporting and authoring articles can be valuable to you. Try to make contact with newspapers on certain conditions.

    The biased media is likely to gladly give you the right to post their articles, but do you need it? This is a political issue and this was in the last part.

    More interesting things are with the TV channels. The sane quality of the video is that it costs a lot of money in production. This is one of the main reasons why a successful regional television channel is an exception to the rule. I don’t know how to convince the TV channel to cooperate, but if, as in our case, he uploads stories on YouTube, it’s a sin not to use it. By the way, according to our observations, the mention of the site in the television news has practically no effect on traffic.

    Cooperation with radio stations comes down to the fact that they use your site as a source for their news feeds, and in return they say at the end "the news is provided by an online newspaper ...". We have no experience of such cooperation, but, like any other cost-effective cooperation, it is worth considering.

    Local forums, blogs, groups in social networks (hereinafter referred to as social networks)

    The largest resources should be regularly reviewed. This is a fairly important source of both information and attendance, which can work as a boomerang. You find the reason you are discussing on a social network, write an article, put a link to your article on a social network, people follow the link.

    Social networks are an alternative to official information sources. It is not worth trusting him unconditionally. You bear moral responsibility before the readers for the posted material, and it is your reputation that is at stake, especially if the reference goes to the abstract “based on the materials of blogs”. This, of course, is about the direct use of social networks as a source, and not about quoting a message. The media looks funny, which writes a “serious” article, based on speculation from some forum.

    Almost any major event, if it is organized by sane people and it is planned for youth to participate in it, will most likely be reflected on VKontakte. From there you can find useful information.

    Paid news feeds

    It seems to me that if you are doing regional media from scratch with a small budget, then such a source is not your choice, although who knows. We did not work with them, so I will not invent anything. I’ll advise you not to steal from news agencies, because it’s better not to check how good they are.

    Your correspondents.

    One good journalist, free from routine affairs, is likely to be enough for you to compete with other electronic media. If at least once a week you get an interesting story or high-quality analytics, this will already be a good help in the fight for the audience.

    How to choose a good topic for the report, I will tell further.

    News Topic

    The general rule is to keep abreast of local events. You can even try to make some kind of focus group of friends who would say what is interesting and what is not.

    Based on our experience, I’ll tell you about several topics that interest people.

    Local online news

    As I mentioned, your entire audience will consist of Internet users. This means that any important event in the regional segment of the Internet is worth highlighting. Readers are most interested in news about lawsuits related to the Internet, for example, a trial for distributing unlicensed Windows through torrents.

    City life

    Events from the life of the city are of interest to people. The first time we crossed the bar of a thousand hosts per day on City Day. We had a large photo report about the festive parade, as well as a schedule of official events.

    People are interested in information about the living wage, about changes in the operation of urban transport, road repair and, oddly enough, about education.

    Rallies and promotions are an interesting topic, so if possible you should write about them. If the action is civil (not a party rally), then your article will be discussed, that is, at least, the link and N transitions you will receive.

    From the life of wonderful people ...

    Significant interest is caused by news about the violation of the law by law enforcement officials. The life of the authorities, namely their income, offenses, appointments and scandals, attract attention no less. Keep an eye on the annual income statements of officials.


    In criminal news and state of emergency reports, filing plays an important role. If the text is good, they will read it with pleasure, even if the incident itself is cheap.


    It is not very pleasant to approach incidents in terms of “popular / unpopular”, but this is one of the aspects of journalism.

    There are a number of factors that affect the reading interest in road accidents (at the first moment, there is still no question of avoiding responsibility, etc.):
    • Are there any dead
    • Where the accident occurred (the city center is interesting, the outskirts - no)
    • Features of the car (accident with the participation of "Lanos" and "Nine" - not interesting, expensive foreign car or ambulance - interesting)
    • Drunk driving
    • Female driver
    • Famous people involved in the accident
    • Law enforcement officers - participants in the accident
    • Is the movement paralyzed
    • Are there any photos from the accident
    Remember the accident in which the assistant Gref died. Of the 9 points there were seven, or even eight.


    Sports stories, such as matches of a local football team, are worth covering, but the effect of this will only be in the case of high-quality and interesting reports. Otherwise, the fans will know the details of the match even without you, and your meager message about a goalless draw will be of little interest to anyone, although it is worth publishing it anyway.


    Various foul-smelling "sensations", news about maniacs, resonant accidents and other " horse-eater " are popular . I will not touch upon format and correctness issues, each one decides for himself.

    Maybe I missed something, but when you start working, you will quickly figure out what is interesting.

    But, it seems to me, the most boring topics for readers:
    • Ordinary domestic crimes. “Citizen A., in a state of intoxication, committed theft ...” (more serious crimes are more interesting to readers, but the case rests on the presentation of material and yellowness)
    • Current agricultural news. "The collective farm received 30 new tractors ..."
    • Current economic news. “A subsidy from extrabudgetary funds has been allocated for the modernization of enterprises in the region ...”
    • Current activities of the authorities. "The regional Duma discussed the possibility of adopting a draft sketch of the budget sample for next year"

    But, remember, making interesting regional news is a very non-trivial task. The bulk of the events are just domestic crimes and tractors for the collective farm.

    Media files

    With the video, everything is complicated. If you couldn’t reach an agreement with any local TV channel (I wrote about this in Part 2), then, with a limited budget, it’s better to forget about the video. It's harder to forget about photos. At first, we did not illustrate the news with photographs, but then came to the conclusion that it is inconvenient to use the site without photographs.

    There are five photo sources:
    • Search in Google / Yandex.
    • Purchase at the photobank.
    • Press service.
    • Sources of free photos.
    • Your camera.

    Google / Yandex Search

    This is illegal, so it’s best to avoid it. If you take a photo taken by an Ohio farmer, then most likely it will not hurt you. But the authors of the photos of your village do not live on the distant abstract Internet, but next to you and, most likely, read your resource. It may not work out well.

    Purchase at the photobank

    Serious media do this in those cases when it comes to an abstract photo, or about an event that media representatives cannot attend. The main problem is that it costs money, but you and I have no extra money. In addition, it may happen that unscrupulous owners of the photo bank did not verify the authorship of the photo. You may be sued.

    Press services

    Some press services attach photographs to their news, but not all do so. The use of such photos is very narrow, because, as a rule, this is a photo from specific events and it will not work in the future.

    Sources of Free Photos

    First of all - Wikipedia (at least with us). Of course, as in photo banks, there may be unlicensed photographs, but personally it seems to me that the risk of this is small. When using materials from Wikipedia, it is worth noting that most of the photos are distributed under a Creative Commons license, which can impose various requirements and must be followed.

    Own camera

    For us, this is the main source of photos. Of course, often the same photograph is used repeatedly, but this is a necessary necessity. I always carry a soap dish with me, on which I photograph everything: police cars, trash cans, taxis, schools, interesting signs, stray dogs. Recently I scared a girl who was standing at the window and apparently thought that I was photographing her. I was interested in a moldy loaf of bread that lay on the grass.

    Sometimes we take a decent camera and arrange a kind of photo trip around the city. We have all the main institutions (administrations, universities, administrations, etc.) and important places of the city, and, as a rule, not in one copy. This greatly simplifies the work. It was very nice our photo on

    I can advise you to stock up with photos of money in different volumes and interiors (cars, envelopes, pockets, etc.). Very necessary photos.

    On this, perhaps, we’ll finish the news. I will return to the topic of filling the site in one of the following parts, where we will talk about additional (optional) sections of the online newspaper.

    In the next part I will talk about how to attract visitors to the media site. Initially, I planned to write about incomes, but, firstly, income without visitors is difficult, and secondly, there are several things that I would like to check before writing about them;) The next parts, like this one, do not promise quickly, I want to do to the maximum.

    Published parts:
    Part 1. Where to start
    Part 2. What you need to be prepared for

    The approximate content of the following parts:
    Part 4. Promotion of an online newspaper. Start of work, development.
    Part 5. Income of online media. Banners, articles, prices, potential customers.
    Part 6. What can be attached to the Internet newspaper. Add-ons, etc.

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