5 ways to innovate like a Murrow Award winner

August 26, 2019 11:00

Each year’s Murrow Award winners are a prime source for examples of creative, innovative and high-impact journalism. In today’s Murrow Monday, a weekly look behind-the-scenes of Murrow-winning journalism, be inspired by how newsrooms large and small across the country are innovating.
  1. Get creative with technology you already have
It doesn’t require a fancy new gadget to be innovative! Sometimes, using the tools you already use every day in a new way is enough to create a more engaging experience for your viewers, listeners or readers. Take a look at WGME in Portland, ME, for example. The national Murrow winner for innovation found a way to be more relevant, timely and connected with audiences through creative use of a weathercaster’s staple: green screen!

Bringing the green screen into the community both lets audiences into the weather reporting process and meets audiences where they are.
  1. Use tools and platforms your audience uses most
Another great way to “meet users where many of them already are” is to take advantage of platfoms they already use. Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX conducted a year-long investigation into housing loan discrimination, bringing their reporting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit in creative ways. But perhaps the most innovative element of the multi-platform reporting project was an interactive texting tool connected to a podcast. The tool allowed users to text for more information while listening, offering a great one-on-one way to engage more deeply when already on their phones and prone to multi-tasking.
  1. Let audiences choose their path
When scrolling our social feeds, shopping online, reading newsletters – almost every digital experience we have now is highly individualized (including, sometimes creepily, ads). Personalization is an expectation, and interactive, multimedia digital reporting can offer audiences multiple pathways to explore in-depth reporting projects. Just look at TIME’s Guns in America project, which brings dozens of individual stories together through sound, text and visuals.  More examples of interactive multimedia experiences among this year’s Murrow Award winners include the Desert Sun’s Poisoned Cities, Deadly Border project, which offers different experiences based on how much time you want to spend, Overall Excellence winner Seattle Times’ social media story-like interactive reporting on Yakima Valley hops and Univision News Digital’s America First: The Legacy of an Immigration Raid.
  1. Explore animation
Research shows that mixing up the traditional local news format through animation can keep audiences – including younger demographics – more engaged in hard news stories. Murrow Award winners this year took advantage of animation to tell stories that can be visually poor or sensitive for subjects to appear in.  WXIA, for example, used graphic novel style animation in a story about an unsolved abduction, as did Reveal’s Office of Missing Children project about child separation at the border.
  1. Collaborate
Get new, creative and innovative ideas by collaborating - within your newsroom, your station group or your community. Collaborate with your audience through public-powered journalism and you’ll encounter new questions, story ideas and insights into your community. Collaborate with community partners to reach new audiences, like KUNR has though a unique bilingual partnership, a two-time Murrow Award-winning collaboration. Or take collaboration to new heights within your newsroom like KNTV has with a Murrow Award-winning digital innovation team.