Local: Understanding Markets and Users
Gannett’s local properties span the U.S. and reflect the diverse nature of our country. Understanding each local market’s specific makeup, including user interests, business goals and editorial focus is crucial to creating a vibrant news environment that meets users’ needs.
While incredibly powerful as a network, the number of local properties is a challenge in communication and inter-department engagement. The Local Advisory Council was started to involve local editors more directly with UX and Product. The LAC gives them a forum to voice needs and concerns, and be a part of the prioritization, ideation and development process.
The starting survey below was conducted as part of the Local Advisory Kickoff. It built an understanding of the current situation facing local markets, and enabled Product and UX to work with them to prioritize key updates.
Understanding site usage and local sections helped illuminate specific interests and traffic patterns by location.
Each community is unique. Working with editors, the UX team took a deep dive into 13 of Gannett’s 108 local properties. Each participating UX member “adopted” a site, spending a week getting their news from that property's desktop, mobile and social platforms, as well as conducting interviews with editors and publishers.
The team looked at variables such as size of market, an area’s financial focus, variations in where communities spend their free time, political leanings, and readership patterns. Working with editorial helped provide key insights and identified areas that work, and ones where they felt they lacked necessary tools. It also built a greater understanding of the role and importance of local news in the UX team.