Nov 7, 2011

NewsWorks going strong after one year

Here's a look back over the first year of NewsWorks, WHYY's ambitious hyperlocal news site for northwest Philly. It was the station’s first attempt at online news, and is powered by around $1.1 million from CPB and $100,000 from the Knight Foundation, in addition to several other foundations. Chris Satullo, the station’s executive director for news and civic dialogue, told the Nieman Journalism Lab that traffic to the site peaked in August, with 301,000 unique visitors and 1.9 million pageviews. And in May, WHYY created a NewsWorks radio show based on the web-based reporting — “maybe a first for public broadcasting,” Satullo said — called NewsWorks Tonight.

About 30 citizen journalists contribute to the site regularly. Contributors are trained and paid, between $50 and $150, sometimes more for enterprise or multimedia stories. Daylong workshops for prospective contributors, Correspondents U, have yielded several steady writers.

Satullo says he is consulting “big brains” for questions about the future of the site, including how other pubradio stations can replicate the initiative.

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