How AL.com built a franchise — and an identity — on FacebookChristine Schmidt, Nieman Lab,
In the run-up to the wild, contentious Alabama Senate special election in 2017, AL.com developed a voice on Facebook entirely distinct from its more traditional newspaper identity. Aiming to connect with a local, social savvy audience, AL.com launched “Reckon” to help Alabama voters learn about the election in a more lively, eclectic tone than the newspaper’s print pages. The goal is to connect accountability journalism with a social media audience that expects interactivity and a conversational tone. Reckon lived on after the election, with a focus on giving local readers another way to connect with and build a relationship with AL.com.
This case study can help your newsroom consider what news stories you consistently own that can be repackaged for different audiences on different platforms. A social media centric, video-driven show may not be within your budget or expertise. It also may not be what you need to produce for the audience you’re trying to reach. But reviewing AL.com’s example will help you see publishing for target audiences in niche verticals as something that lives beyond your website. Your thinking should consider how platforms can play a role in ensuring your niche content reaches your target audience.