After spending most of last month re-posting (or rewriting) old content, Goose’s Gabs is finally back on track with all of my February 2016 writing from the Cape Cod Times. And what a month it was! I got to cover a state swim meet, which I’d never done before, and then wrote my fifth story in less than a year about a local team winning a state championship when I covered Barnstable at the state gymnastics meet this past Saturday.
What made the gymnastics meet even better was an encounter with the mother of one of the gymnasts. I was put on the CCT “Innovation Team” a couple months ago, which is a small team of content-producers and editors who explore different apps, social media, programs and technologies that might be useful for reporters. In theory, our experiences are actually serving as a test case for the parent company, who’ll then come up with guidelines for papers across the country.
The two big technologies I’ve been playing with lately are Periscope, a streaming app related to Twitter, and SnapChat, the photo-sharing app. I’ve created two SnapChat stories so far – one from swimming, one from gymnastics – and during the gymnastics meet a mother came up to me and complimented the photos I’d taken so far.
It seems that a couple of the gymnasts had seen via Twitter that I would be doing this, spread the word, and most of the team followed the CCT SnapChat account so they could see my photos. Even better, they encouraged their parents and families to sign up as well, I think in a few cases even getting them to download an app they wouldn’t otherwise use.
Sure enough, when I looked at the final numbers, I’d gotten about 42 views – more than three times the number who’d viewed my swim photos – and many of them were either Barnstable gymnasts (including some of the best on the team) or shared a last name with Barnstable gymnasts.
We’ll never know if any of this drives traffic to the CCT website, though later we did embed the photos as a slideshow in the digital story. But instances like this, at least to me, are signs that a) we can use SnapChat to reach out to demographics that might not otherwise engage with a newspaper, such as teenagers, and b) promoting our SnapChat account ahead of a big event does generate additional followers and views.
Those are all good things. And as a final good thing in February, I won third place for a sports story at the New England Newspaper Association awards banquet!
Anyway, here’s everything I wrote.
Boys basketball: Canalmen too much for Rams
Boys basketball: Sandwich rallies to edge Falmouth
High schools: Sturgis schools to host “Sturgis vs. Cancer” night
Boys basketball: St. John Paul II defeats Sturgis West, captures C&I title
High schools: Snow wipes out Friday’s games
Super Bowl Predictions
School basketball: Fraser shoots Mashpee to win over Hull
Boys basketball: 33-point game by Ashworth doesn’t rescue Canalmen in loss to Apponequet
Sturgis East and West unite for cancer fundraiser
High schools: Mariners, Whalers meet with first place on the line
Girls basketball: Carly Whiteside scores 22 points in Barnstable’s first league win since 2013
Girls basketball: Clippers clinch league title with win
School notebook: Sandwich’s Collentro will get her kicks at Stonehill
Boys basketball: Happy berth day for Nauset
Girls basketball: Upper Cape’s Amber DiBona scores 1,000th point in 58-42 win
Hannah and Jack Johnson help Nauset swim team reach new success
Cape Cod Classic: Clippers settle for tie in regular season finale
High schools: Swimmers looking to make a splash
School swimming: Johnson leads Nauset at Div. 2 meet
High school swimming: Nantucket girls 10th, Nauset 17th at state meet
Doug Fraser named daily journalist of the year (I didn’t write this, but I’m mentioned for winning an award!)
Boys basketball: Ford’s 41 leads Mashpee to share of title
School basketball: Falmouth to host Endowment Game
School basketball: Falmouth High edges Falmouth Academy in MIAA Endowment Game
Wrestlers grappling for All-State titles
High schools: Barnstable readies for state gymnastics meet
Red Raiders win fourth straight state gymnastics title
Family ties bind Barnstable’s Spalt
Women’s defending champ conquers windy Hyannis Marathon course