NMWE award winner and UC-Berkeley grad student Bo Hee Kim hired a developer to create a WordPress plugin that would work well with CalPress, the content management system used for the university’s three hyperlocal news sites.
However, she reports, she changed her goals along the way. She expected weather and traffic to be key information needs for the readers of Richmond Confidential, her pilot site. But it turns out most of the site’s readers don’t visit the site daily, so they’d be likely to get this information elsewhere.
Instead, she focused on what would be more relevant to the site’s readers. She settled on a mobile app that would offer readers an aesthetically pleasing way to see the three to five new stories a day the site produces.
“My favorite part of the news-reading portion” of her platform is the ability to resize text so when you spread your fingers on the paragraph of an article, the font will increase while the texts remains within the frame of the cell phone.
She also launched an events calendar and a section called “Best of” Richmond. Richmond Confidential covers an underserved community, where crime is the most frequent news topic. The site, however, also tries to feature positive developments in Richmond. “That’s why a feature highlighting the best Richmond has to offer fits with this news organization’s goals and the needs of residents,” Kim said in a recent progress report. Current categories include maps, parks, views and restaurants, but Kim hopes that future Berkeley grad students will expand that list.
“We’re also trying to engage community members to contact Richmond Confidential and tell us if we missed a spot,” she said.
The events calendar gives trusted organizations access to the WordPress backend with a password so they can submit event information by filling out a form.
“The next step in building out the mobile site, she said, would be a “citizen reporting” component that allows users to easily submit photos, videos and short messages to cover breaking news.”