From June 2016-December 2017, I worked as social breaking news and social media editor for The Seattle Times. While engaged in daily social media production, I sought to capitalize on social media for enterprise stories. One story was the 2017 centennial celebration of the Ballard Locks. These Locks have significance to the city of Seattle, both as a landmark and, as reporter Lynda Mapes uncovered, a public work that contributed to the devastation of Native American tribes in the Seattle area.
I organized a Facebook Live with Mapes soon after the centennial in order to give the story a belated readership bump. After getting approval from editorial, video and marketing departments, I published a promo post asking for reader questions on the Ballard Locks. For the Facebook Live, I was on-camera to moderate questions, respond to reader comments with links to our coverage and keep the discussion on track and on-time. I wrote a few preliminary questions for the reporter, but mainly I received reader feedback on her story’s perspective. (I wrote this post to summarize the discussion)
It was satisfying to lead a social media endeavor that boosted reader engagement around a complex community issue. The Locks Facebook Live, with 16k views, highlighted the depth of the reporter’s knowledge yet was also highly accessible to social media users. Despite all we know about clickbait and SEO, I believe in the power of social media to engage interested readers with deep, complicated stories that they feel a part of.