https://beisdigital.blog.gov.uk/2013/08/28/visit-guardian/

Guardian networks and communities

A few of us took a trip to the Guardian's offices today, as part of an ongoing project to better understand how different organisations use digital to talk to their audiences.

Window of the The Guardian building (credit: Bryantbob/CC BY-SA 3.0)

This is also one of a series of opportunities to help colleagues think differently about digital, beyond corporate websites and Twitter.

It's easy to think that the challenges we face as public servants, communicating with a variety of audiences, are unique to us. Moderation, user content and feedback loops are all things we have to do more of, and do better.

In fact, these things don't get any easier to solve, even when you are a national newspaper whose strategy is built on digital first.

But there was plenty for us to learn and take away, including:

  • audience focused, well moderated communities of interest,
    like the Guardian's Professional Networks, foster constructive debate and rarely attract offensive or inappropriate content
  • content contributed by readers - photos, stories, comments - however well meaning, needs checking and curating, in order to make sense of a topic and produce something useful
  • audiences want to talk to people, not organisations. Guardian content seems to resonate best when there is a by-line, community editor, or named reader for others to engage with

Featured image by Bryantbob on Wikimedia. Used under Creative Commons.

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