Archive for Projects

Role: OCRegister reorganization team

In August 2008 I was selected to work on a nine-person team devoted to reorganizing the Orange County Register’s newsroom staff around content verticals. The team spent about a month researching all the proposed ideas and putting together a plan that was approved by the Register editor and Register deputy editors. The reorganization was put into place in September 2008.

Project: Around Disney blog

Link: Around Disney

Link: Sonya Smith’s posts on Around Disney

In March 2008 the technology reporter returned from maternity leave and I was moved over to the tourism beat while that reporter went on maternity leave. I was given a project: build a successful community around tourism news.

The blog I was given was called OC Resort. The highest month of page views was 10,000. The monthly average was 5,000. Many other websites had laid claim to the passionate and uber-passionate Disney fans. OC Resort was known only as a blog covering the politics of Disney and the city of Anaheim.

I was given five months and my goal was to reach 100,000 page views in a month while building a strong reputation and community. I tried all sorts of coverage hoping to find the right mix. The company bought me a Disney pass so I could visit the parks a few times a week. Every visit I chatted with tourists and walked the whole length of each park looking for any small changes or potential stories.

In my final month on the blog the blog received 92,000 page views – just short of my goal. But, the rest of my goal had been reached: I had successful relationships with the other Disney bloggers, the blog was covering not just the big Disney stories but the nuances to the park and its guests. User-generated content was found throughout the blog and comments were found on almost every post.

Today, the blog is covered by Sarah Tully and Mark Eades at the Register. The blog continues and the innovation continues.

Project: Mobile Moves

Link: Mobile Moves

I began covering technology in October 2007 when the Register’s technology reporter went on maternity leave. After a few months on the job, my editor Kevin Sablan and I began realizing the huge growth and future in mobile. After tossing several ideas around we settled on a crazy idea: to cover mobile applications. Mind you: this was December 2007. Apple did not allow apps to be developed for the iPhone until spring 2008. Sure mobile apps were around before the iPhone allowed them – but Apple made “apps” a regular thing. We were so early to the game that I was able to compile a list of all the apps in development at the time for the iPhone and Android operating systems.

After a few months, and when the tech reporter came back from maternity leave in early 2008, Register editors decided to end the mobile blog. I was moved over to work on sprucing up our tourism and Disney coverage.

Role: web catalyst

In 2005 I began working on the Register’s website. At the time, reporters and editors did not touch the website. Web editors across the newsroom were tasked with shoveling all the print content online. But I wanted to make sure my photos got online – and in color. I wanted to see how many people were viewing our website, the Irvine section of the website and my articles.

I worked with the Central County web editor who was patient and kind enough to show me the ropes of our online content management system and the analytics. She even let me post my own content online when reporters were not allowed to do so. When the first round of layoffs hit, the Central County web editor position was eliminated. I realized that suddenly, no content would be going to the Irvine website section. So, I took it upon myself to post our content online and to teach my coworkers one-by-one how to post content online.

I continued my work online – finding ways to improve our content, the display of our content and the audience interaction with our online content.

Then, in early 2006 I met up with two other people at the Register who shared my impatient mood with our progress in moving online as a company. We called ourselves the three “musketeers” and met twice a month to share online ideas, achievements and setbacks. Eventually, we decided to make a stand. We approached one of the Register deputy editors and asked some of our most burning online questions. He seemed excited at our thoughts – and asked that we send over our ideas for moving online.

Thankfully, I had already written a whole plan of what the Register should be doing to move online. We turned it in and the “web manifest” as it soon became known circulated among top management. We three “musketeers” were appointed roles in addition to our day jobs as “web catalysts.” And the web revolution at the Register began.