Reporting Community Data
Forums and Feedback
Your website is not only a tool allowing you to communicate with your readers, it’s also a good way to allow your readers to communicate with you and with one another.
Polls and E-mail Surveys
For community websites, some of the best uses for online polls and e-mail surveys are to get an early sense of issues that are surfacing on your residents’ radar screens. That sensibility can then be used as a fulcrum for reporting a full-fledged story, to take the community’s pulse on a particular issue, or to leaven discussions in your forums.
There are many kinds of community data available. Much of it exists in electronic format. With a little work, you can turn these into interesting interactive tools and news exercises for your readers. Stumped for what to develop? Here are a few suggestions.
If you’ve worked with computers for any length of time, you know how easy it is to collect data, and yet how hard it can be to make the best use of that data. In this section, we’re going to suggest some ways you can help your audience understand the raw data you’ve collected. As a niche publisher, you have a special opportunity to gather and share data that might not regularly be available to your audience. Data in its raw form can be useful to a small subset of your readers. But if you take that data and put it into a meaningful form, such as a chart, a graph or a timeline, your audience can more easily absorb, remember and draw useful inferences from what was once just raw data.