Victory Lap: Nieman Reports Explores Diversity, and a B2B Title Gets a Web Makeover
A closer look at two of this year's Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award winners.
Association / Non-Profit – Series of Articles
In line with its mission of equipping journalists with insights and best practices to help them better cover their communities, Nieman Reports, the quarterly journal produced by Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, published a series of articles addressing an especially prescient challenge for today’s newsrooms: covering minorities — both with accuracy and sensitivity.
Four articles provided an in-depth examination of four different communities — respectively, African-Americans, transgender men and women, Native Americans, and the disabled.
Each of the four pieces were meant not only to reflect upon the ways newsrooms cover these populations, but to provide practical strategies on how newsrooms can improve their coverage. Often, the reports found, the issue is not just that newsrooms are ill-equipped to cover issues facing minorities, but that newsrooms aren’t aware of the issues to begin with.
“We tried to quantify, as much as possible, the actual practical impact of diversity or lack of diversity,” Nieman Foundation deputy curator James Geary tells Folio:. “The thread that connects all of these stories is just trying to raise awareness of all of the different facets of diversity, and how those play into really crucial editorial decision making. It goes beyond how you cover a story, but whether you even recognize that something is a story.”
It’s at times a challenge, Geary admits, approaching such issues with the depth of coverage they deserve while keeping things rooted in practical strategies that news organizations can actually incorporate, but all four articles walk the line with graceful tact.
“It’s relatively easy to identify the problem and to decry it,” Geary continues. “What’s a lot harder is knowing what to do next, giving journalists the tools to think that through and to change if what they’re doing isn’t up to the task.”
One of the biggest realizations for the industry in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election, says Geary, was the need to address other overlooked minorities, like educational or socioeconomic diversity, what Geary calls a “prevailing lack of coverage of Middle America.”
For Nieman Reports, the mission to keep journalists in the know continues.
B-to-B – Site Design
U.S. Builders Review
In February, U.S. Builders Review, a trade journal serving the construction industry, set out to update its website to match the recently redesigned print edition in an effort to meet the evolving needs of both readers and advertisers.
“Our old site was very outdated,” Erica Berry, director of digital marketing and business development at parent company TrueLine Publishing, tells Folio:. “It didn’t have the functionality we felt it needed, and it didn’t give our vendors much credit. We didn’t give them much incentive to advertise.”
The goal was to infuse the site with a responsive, modern-looking design that would showcase the brand’s extensive library of features, case studies, and content from sponsors — a look and feel that would encourage readers to share with their peers.
Given the sheer volume of content — Berry estimates that U.S. Builders Review has a library of over 4,000 case studies alone, and about 6,000 total pages to transfer from the old Drupal site to the new WordPress one — the transition process from old site to new was labor intensive.
“The transfer of content is ongoing,” Berry adds. “It’s all there, but not yet all categorized. We spend a couple of hours every day categorizing.”
The process may be ongoing, but the response has been positive. Readers are sharing, sponsors are buying, and the website will soon expand to include native placements to meet interest from advertisers.
“We have advertisers who want that digital exposure, so we want to make sure we give them those opportunities,” says Berry.