At USA TODAY NETWORK our storytellers are committed to finding new ways to create content that will drive our communities forward. Content Strategist, Jamila Robinson shares how she uses new media tools and resources to translate her passion for journalism into engaging content:
Can you tell me how the tools you use to tell stories have changed since you first started at USA TODAY NETWORK?
“When I started at USA TODAY NETWORK it was exciting because I got to play with the iPod – now I’m getting to play with more advanced technology with Google Home and Amazon Echo to think about storytelling through audio interaction feature. Our innovation team created a new mobile product called the Explainer Tool, and that’s allowing us to dig deeper into storytelling with a gamified action through the swipe left and swipe right functions. This mobile product will help us improve our connection with millennials – meaning that we can connect with our target audience on the platforms where they spend their time and open up new frontiers for storytelling.”
How does the new media technology you have access to at USA TODAY NETWORK help you connect with your audience?
“One of the key functions of my role is looking at how our storytelling can be channeled more parts of our audience’s lives. I love how our team incorporates technology into that storytelling – we are using new products like Audio Interaction through Google Home/Amazon Echo and we’re even bringing our content to life on mobile social media platforms with new solutions. Our commitment to technology advancement makes my role that much more exciting because it makes content more interactive, and allows our audience members to experience our stories in ways that create a real impact.
What role does collaboration play on your team when telling national news stories to local communities across the NETWORK?
“I think USA TODAY NETWORK has positioned itself as an industry leader by using communication technology to leverage the talent that’s across all 100+ properties. In my role, working with features editors, I am able to communicate with teams in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and even California to find out what stories are resonating with their audiences and which stories are really creating an impact. That’s how we can learn the absolute best practices and ultimately engage those audiences as an entire NETWORK. We are so focused on connecting with other team members across the nation, and I think that factor is allowing us to build better products. The idea that local is national really is the underpinning of what I try to accomplish in my role.”
Can you tell me about a powerful story that you think has made an even stronger impact because of the digital media tools you have access to at USA TODAY NETWORK?
“Our work on the 1968 project is currently showing how one year in our history transformed so much of how our country sees itself. The collaboration tools and products we utilize at USA TODAY NETWORK allow us to highlight local impact from different parts of the NETWORK so that we can learn how 1968 changed our communities. Whether it was Detroit coming off of the 1967 riots, or Louisville’s relationship with Muhammad Ali and the impact of Vietnam – we get to leverage the NETWORK to see how this very important year formed our communities. Because of these combined efforts, we get an inside look at an amazing history that really helps us understand how these communities are living now because of that very transformational year.”
What is your advice to someone who wants to drive exciting change through storytelling?
“When I create content I always keep in mind how everything will interact with social media – are we creating content that is shareable, or that matters to our audience members? Whether it’s a video, a tweet, an Instagram post, or an Explainer – when you make audience interaction a priority in your storytelling project you are drawing more people in, and allowing everyone to connect with your work on a deeper level. You have to remember that you are creating content for people to engage with, so it really has to matter to them.”
Start harnessing the power of new media in your content today by joining our team of passionate storytellers!