NPR Digital and KPLU discover Facebook geotagging “a powerful journalism tool”

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Here’s a look from the Nieman Journalism Lab at what geotagging on NPR’s Facebook page did for KPLU in Seattle. In October 2011, NPR Digital Services and Digital Media launched an experiment with the member station, sharing certain content on NPR’s 2.3-million fan Facebook page, but making it visible only to Facebook users in the Seattle region. “Four months into this experiment, we’ve made some unexpected discoveries around Facebook communities and the power of localization on a national platform,” write Eric Athas and Keith Hopper of NPR Digital. The test drove KPLU’s site to record traffic for a single day (January 19), second-highest traffic for a single month (October 2011) and the highest traffic for a single month (January). And Seattle stories had a higher engagement rate (likes, shares and comments) too. “We’re curious if this can be replicated in other markets and are exploring options for scaling it to more member stations,” the two write. “Some questions about this test will be answered when the experiment grows — something we’re looking to pursue. Although we’re still analyzing the results, we’re confident about the potential of this as a powerful journalism tool.”

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