The WFIU/WTIU news team is constantly looking for new ways to reach our audience. Everyday we’re telling stories across platforms – radio, TV, web, and social media. We have experimented with live videos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using Instagram Stories for daily news updates, polls to gauge interest and feedback from our community, and 360 degree videos for immersive news stories. We’re always willing to try something new.
Here are some examples of the innovation our team brings to news reporting every day:
Live discussion with community leaders: downtown development controversy
One of the most controversial issues in Bloomington this year involves regulating new developments downtown, with the local chamber of commerce and the Mayor’s office on opposite sides.
Understanding the significance this issue has in our community, we produced a live discussion that aired not only on our radio station but also on our Facebook page. The Facebook video garnered questions from listeners who were unable to participate in the discussion otherwise.
Continuing coverage: compiling a long-term story into one place
Interstate 69 will eventually run the length of Indiana from north to south, cutting drive times significantly. Near-constant issues have delayed the project several times, and our news team has been reporting on this issue for years.
This year, we compiled a timeline to give our audience a comprehensive look at how this project has unfolded:
360 degree video: driverless bus demonstration
We’re always eager to find a way to incorporate new technology into our reporting. Using a 360 degree camera, we were able to immerse our audience into a demonstration of a driverless bus in Bloomington.
The demonstration was limited to a select few residents, so most people would have been unable to witness the unique bus in action without our immersive coverage:
Live discussion with local expert: syringe exchange programs
Another successful live discussion involves another highly controversial issue across all of Indiana: the use of syringe exchange programs in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C through needle sharing among drug users.
Although our reporting on this issue has been extensive, we felt our audience needed a chance to be part of that reporting process. We brought the director of the Monroe County syringe services program to our newsroom to answer questions live on our Facebook page:
TODAY at 1 p.m. on @wfiu: live discussion about syringe exchanges and the opioid epidemic with Chris Abert from the Indiana Recovery Alliance and @Joe_Hren https://t.co/9DRl1DB2Bd pic.twitter.com/7fQZccdTIC
— WFIU News (@WFIUNews) December 14, 2017
Bringing our audience into the reporting with polls:
The school district that includes most of our coverage area sparked controversy this year by giving alternate lunches to students with unpaid debt for prior lunches. Critics call the practice “lunch shaming” and organized efforts to change the policy.
As part of our reporting, we asked our audience to join the conversation with a poll:
— WFIU News (@WFIUNews) June 28, 2017
An issue that brings all Hoosiers together: pie!
A lot of Hoosiers mistakenly believe that Indiana’s state pie is the sugar cream pie. As one of our reporters discovered, the designation is unofficial but no less significant to the Indiana community.
Although the story about sugar cream pie was produced for television and radio, we knew this story was too big for just our viewing and listening audience. We produced two videos for Facebook that brought Hoosiers the details about our unofficial state pie they were craving.
As it turns out, the story has an even wider appeal than we anticipated: the PBS Food Facebook page cross-posted our behind-the-scenes tour of a pie factory, reaching viewers nationwide.