“Journalism for the protection of the environment” is the motto of Ambiental Jalisco (“Jalisco’s Environment”), a startup newspaper in Mexico focused on getting citizens involved in ecological issues that are literally in their backyard. Ambiental Jalisco publishes original investigative reporting, and also organises related community activities such as plogging, ie., jogging while picking up trash.
Increasing the public’s awareness of the environment and climate change are goals in themselves. But there is also a larger strategy at work: Ambiental Jalisco is the prototype for up to ten additional local news sites around Mexico, which are planned to become a cross-regional environmental reporting network under the umbrella of a think tank called EnviroPress.
To turn this vision into a reality, however, Ambiental Jalisco has had to navigate a number of platform and workflow difficulties, some of which Sourcefabric was able to help solve.
Ambiental Jalisco was launched with a truly digital-first publishing strategy. “We design our news websites to operate as content aggregators, which means that we want to publish local news and content in a unique communication channel, with almost no external links and with a strong emphasis on social networks,” says founder Alejandro Payan. Short articles or “notes” are published in the outlet’s social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, with a link back to the website. In that sense, the website is more of a secondary destination, as the audience reads content on social media first.
When Ambiental Jalisco first launched its website, it lacked automatic archiving functionality. Another initial challenge was an editorial workflow that required content to be added manually. This not only created extra work for the site’s IT manager, but also limited the speed of publishing and the ability to respond to news in real-time.
As part of Sourcefabric’s media development work, Ambiental Jalisco received a pro-bono Live Blog instance. Our live blogging platform was embedded as a responsive element in the website, providing the dynamic, visually-interactive look of an infinite-scroll format.
Ambiental Jalisco has made the most of Live Blog’s multimedia features and social media integration. Each of their posts features several photos and often a video, along with highlighted pull quotes.
Along with delivering a better experience for readers, Live Blog has also made the editorial workflow more efficient. Payan says:
In other words, now the website’s reporters can publish stories themselves as soon as they are written and approved, rather than waiting for the IT manager to manually update the website.
With enhanced speed of publishing and ease of use, Ambiental Jalisco has been able to increase its output of content and diversify the kinds of stories published. “With Live Blog we deliver information in real-time, to improve knowledge that brings us closer to sustainability,” Payan says. “And what is especially important is that when readers visit the website, they will find information about only one topic: environmental protection in their cities.
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