ExpressNews.com is the subscriber website for the San Antonio Express-News, an ambitious and nationally recognized news organization that covers the nation’s seventh largest city and all of South Texas. It was created as an immersive and rich experience for those drawn to the full range and depth of our journalism. The site focuses on enterprise, analysis and deeper coverage of the day’s news, and frequently augments those stories with interactive visualizations, maps, videos, explainers, animations and databases.
With bureaus in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin and Washington, the Express-News is well positioned to tell stories of local, national and global importance: military affairs, immigration and border affairs, energy and oil, to name a few of our master narratives.
Still, competition for readers is exceptionally vigorous; their needs evolve regularly – and quickly. To remain relevant, we must constantly adapt and innovate in how we tell stories online and across platforms. It is not enough to inform our readers; we need always to surprise, engage and inspire them, to spark conversation more than we follow it.
ExpressNews.com aims to do just that with robust presentations of stories.
Three examples that particularly helped readers interact with and explore the site and stories include the use of interactive maps, databases, graphics and videos in projects about San Antonio’s massive growing pains, the safety of the hot air balloon industry and a continuing series about transgender Texans.
Creative uses of technology include using mapping software to chart the course a hot balloon took on its fatal last ride, an animated graphic about ALS and how it overtakes the body and using a Mevo camera (which allows live editing/various camera angles) to live stream interviews with reporters about their work.
Over the last year, the Express-News has more than tripled its social media presence and reach. Because ExpressNews.com is so different from the news organization’s free website, the subscriber team created new Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts about 15 months ago to spotlight enterprise, projects and daily original reporting. The FB account now has more than 24,000 likes, or about 10 percent of the free site’s page, and posts regularly reach between 1,500 and 3,000 people. The last few months have seen enormous growth because of more interactivity with users, more videos and explainers and more fun, engaging posts. A dedicated videographer regularly shoots live footage in the newsroom, at Express-News community town hall events and at San Antonio Spurs games.
ExpressNews.com has earned several best news website awards over the last 18 months, including consecutive First Place Headliner Awards, an Editor & Publisher First Place finish, First Place in Best of the West, several Scripps Howard, Sigma Delta Chi and other Best of the West nods, plus state awards. E&P noted the newsroom is doing it right” with its creative use of NBA Spurs content online, in a weekly magazine and on a television show that airs every week on the local NBC affiliate.