WDIV, Graham Media’s Detroit NBC affiliate, is partnering with Nextdoor, the free and private social network for neighborhoods, to boost conversations around local news in communities across the Detroit area.
“It gives us an opportunity to connect with our viewers on a very specific, geo-targeted neighborhood level,” says Mike Katona, Graham’s digital product manager.
WDIV can not only post relevant and interesting news stories to specific Nextdoor neighborhoods in Metro Detroit, but also engage residents in the stories it works on.
Through open-ended questions and Nextdoor polls, WDIV can hear directly from residents about the various issues affecting them.
“Discussing local news with neighbors is an essential way to build a strong community and an informed civic dialogue,” says Dustin Block, WDIV’s digital executive producer.
“We hope that the stories we share lead to further community discussions about the topics that matter most to you.
There are more than 140 Detroit neighborhoods on Nextdoor.
“We had a water outage a few days ago in a certain area, and in addition to doing our normal broadcast about that, we also targeted that section, that neighborhood, that community, posted some information and shared the news about it.”
If there is an article/story that WDIV does not share that residents would like to discuss with neighbors, participants can use the “Share on Nextdoor” icon that will be accessible on all of WDIV’s news stories.
Since Facebook change its algorithms earlier this year to favor posts from friends and family over local news, does this give WDIV an advantage?
“When we are targeting that news message to specific communities that have a built in interest in it, they for sure are going look at the story, share their comments, and participate in a poll,” Katona says.
He adds that right now Graham is working with Nextdoor exclusively in the Detroit and San Antonio markets, and is looking to roll out the agreement in other Graham markets.
“We can reach out to those communities and find out what the pulse of what’s going on there, and build stories off of that, we can throw questions out to those communities and just ask for feedback. It’s us being members of those communities.”
Instead of the “like” icon on Facebook, Nextdoor uses a “thank” button to signal the content they care about.
“It’s a rewarding word to hear,” Katona says.