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2018 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium Newsroom finalist

Austin American-Statesman Sites

About the Project

The Austin American-Statesman keeps Central Texas informed on the latest in breaking news, entertainment, sports, investigative journalism and more across a suite of digital products that includes five websites: Statesman.com, MyStatesman.com, Austin360.com, Hookem.com and 512tech.com.

The Statesman has expanded its digital offerings through the following in interactive innovation:
– Austin Answered: Using the Hearken tool, we are soliciting readers’ burning questions on life in Austin and get to the bottom of their inquiries with informative stories on everything from homemade parking signs to the city’s oldest buildings to the crooked Travis/Williamson County line.
– Texas football game day pages: Hookem.com is a one-stop shop for Longhorns fans during football games, with a landing page for each matchup that incorporates a Facebook group chat, staff tweets, a scoring summary and all related stories and photos.
– Food & drink: The Austin360 Dining Guide and Boozery Guide provide comprehensive directories that incorporate staff reviews, eatery information and maps, allowing users to browse lists or search by venue name or type.

In the past year, the Statesman has broken new ground with the following uses of online technology:
– Drone footage: Use of a drone for photo and video has provided our readers a brand-new, birds-eye view of Austin and Central Texas. Drone footage has ranged from news events such as flooding and an out-of-the-ordinary December snowfall to entertainment-focused material from the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the annual Trail of Lights – events that exemplify the city’s growth over the years.
– Podcasts: I Love You So Much: The Austin360 Podcast launched in summer 2017, bringing listeners the latest on Austin life and pop culture from three hosts and a steady stream of guests, with episodes ranging from enjoying Austin on a budget to the city’s great Scooter War of 2018. The On Second Thought Longhorns podcast recorded its 100th episode this year, with guests including former Texas football coach Mack Brown and Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Nantz.
– Austin360 Studio Sessions: Our sponsored music series showcased another 20 artists in 2017-18 with onsite performances at the American-Statesman video studio that were simultaneously livestreamed to Austin360.com and the Austin360 Facebook page; episodes feature four recorded songs and a post-show interview.

The Statesman has utilized its social media platforms to increase audience engagement in the following ways:
– Facebook Lives ranging from Q&As with reporters covering major ongoing news, such as the March 2018 bombings in Austin, to an instructional video on how to make a solar eclipse viewer
– Soliciting feedback on readers’ experience with daycare operators in Texas for an investigative team project
– Social reaction posts for trending stories: ‘My favorite jewelry’: Fans pay tribute to Texas craftsman James Avery
– Promotion of a reader wildflower photo contest with a Facebook event to encourage submissions/voting
– Creation of the Hookem.com Press Box Facebook group, designed to encourage conversation between Longhorns fans and the Statesman sports staff; this group also hosts a live chat during every Texas football game.