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Highlights of the past week on latimes.com

June 12, 2012 | 10:10 am

A memo to the newsroom from Managing Editor/Online Jimmy Orr:

Just a quick note to highlight some of the digital activities on latimes.com this past week.

Primary night

The Sacramento bureau and the Metro staff did a great job in providing real-time coverage of the California primary on Tuesday.

Not only did our readers benefit from insightful set-up pieces, but the breaking-news posts throughout the night kept them very much in touch and informed.

City Editor Shelby Grad hosted live morning chats that let our readers participate in the conversation with the reporters who covered the election.

Then we transitioned from written to video chats on Tuesday night when David Lazarus hosted numerous live video discussions with Anthony York and others via Google Hangout.

The centerpiece of our coverage was a conceptual map of California, designed by Tom Lauder and Anthony Pesce, that emphasized population over geography but was still familiar enough to be recognizable as California’s distinctive shape.

Although such maps -- called cartograms -- aren’t very common on news sites, we thought the approach was the best way to cover the state’s first widespread open primary.  Instead of large counties in the north and east dominating the map, despite having little population, our readers got an accurate representation of where political power truly lies.

Our readers appeared to love it.  Not only was it one of the most-viewed pages last week, but it lighted up social networks.

Ray Bradbury

The following day the staff hustled to cover the death of literary legend Ray Bradbury -- who was also a legendary Angeleno -- drawing hundreds of thousands of readers to our site.

From the first word of his death on L.A. Now to numerous posts and stories about Bradbury’s influence across entertainment genres, the effort was comprehensive and engaging.

Once again we used Google Hangout, this time to feature Carolyn Kellogg and Patt Morrison chatting on the homepage and bring readers their expertise on Bradury’s career as well as Patt’s personal stories about her friend.

Check out all the work at: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/ray-bradbury/

Stanley Cup

Next?  Our Stanley Cup coverage.  All hands on the digital deck.  One visit to latimes.com and our readers knew we were at the game -- live. 

In the digital age, people want to know we’re here and we’re alive.  And our live tweeting and blogging effort (not to mention great photos and videos) effectively communicated that.  These efforts were augmented by great analysis pieces and engaging columns.

Helene Elliott, Bill Plaschke, Lisa Dillman, and Chris Foster provided full coverage of games in New Jersey, while Mike Bresnahan, David Wharton, John Cherwa, Melissa Rohlin, and Sports’ two interns, Andrew John and Andrew Owens, joined the team for games at Staples Center.

Live video

Lastly, a note about video.  We’re ramping up.  We’ve been experimenting with different platforms to present live video conversations with our readers.

As noted above, the current experiment is Google Hangouts.

We like it because it provides an efficient way to get a live video chat up immediately.  It allows us to book guests outside the office right away.  It is simultaneously streamed on YouTube.  And it’s socially based.  Our Google Plus followers have doubled in just one week.

We’re still learning.  We’re still experimenting.  But heightened reader engagement is the goal.

Great week, all.  Keep up the good work.

 

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