Business Objective

To launch and develop a type of customer relationship management (CRM) product but for newsrooms to access a more diverse citizenry who wants to share their first-hand experiences, expertise and other insights with journalists. The product is called the Public Insight Network (PIN) and is owned by American Public Media.

PIN® can be a useful source-finder on deadline. But it’s most powerful when used early in the reporting process to test hunches, unearth angles, provide important context, even reveal the right questions to ask in the first place. 

American Public Media

Challenges

  • Core cross-functional engineering and product team based in Minnesota while I was based in Miami and NYC
  • Persuading journalists to adopt a tool that mimicked work they were accustomed to manually doing on their own
  • Recruiting diverse sources into the PIN database who were incredulous newsrooms cared about their perspective
  • Limited public media funds and resources
  • Scaling the product for growth and national use

Process

Product Development

The core engineering and product team for PIN worked in agile. I worked on taxonomy for the database and developed intake (registration) forms. Upon releases, I’d test out features, report bugs, and make new feature requests.

Product Launch

I coordinated and produced promotional marketing materials in English and Spanish, placed ads and participated in news segments to encourage readers and listeners to sign up. I also trained other newsrooms such as El Diario La Prensa on how to leverage the PIN to persuade them to buy into the product.

PIN: Join the Crowd
Aired on The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC Radio, Feb 2011

Product Ownership

On a daily basis, I’d collaborate with journalists, editors, and producers to discover trending topics among the network’s members by searching the database and offering suggestions to our engineers on how to improve that experience. I’d also manage email marketing, create surveys and analyze results to uncover stories and sources to highlight. Recruitment was an on-going activity. I’d collaborate with marketing and community engagement teams to leverage events and space/time to encourage sign-ups.

An invitation to join PIN at the bottom of Spanish-language news articles in El Nuevo Herald.

Key Results

  • In the Tristate area (NY, NJ, CT), recruited and nurtured journalist-source relationship with 4,000+ listeners ranging in ages from 30s to 50s. In South Florida, acquired over 1,000 PIN members within six months.
  • Discovered a need for a Bronx beat reporter at WNYC and a proactive audience segment who inspired a later product launched at WNYC focused on education news, SchoolBook.
  • “The Public Insight Network, now swimming in data, launches its own reporting unit”
  • Invited to speak on a panel during Social Media Week in NYC on crowdsourcing news
  • Created branding for PIN, known as Intercambio, which facilitated American Public Media from entering the Spanish-language media industry