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Opinions

Listening to our readers – in new ways and old

  • Author: David Hulen
    | Opinion
  • Updated: July 6
  • Published July 6

We hear from readers all the time. Phone calls, emails, story comments, an ever-growing list of social media channels and platforms. (Do you follow ADN on Instagram? More than 70,000 people do.) And perhaps most meaningful, face-to-face conversations — when we're out in the community doing our jobs and when we're out in the community living our lives.

Those interactions are really important for us here at the ADN. Tips from readers result in stories every day. People give us suggestions all the time on what to cover and how. They add context and help fill in the picture. They tell us when they think we're on track — and when we're not. We're the most-read news source in Alaska, so it's a big, diverse, opinionated audience with a broad range of life experiences. When we ask the crowd a question, we get answers.

Our ongoing coverage of property crime and vehicle theft in Anchorage is a good example. Our stories have consistently been made better by our interactions with readers. We asked for readers' experiences and we heard from many of them. We incorporated some of their voices into our coverage.

Starting a couple weeks ago, we have a new way of connecting with people in Anchorage: Nextdoor. We're partnering with the neighborhood-based social media platform to communicate with readers — and to listen to them. We're part of a group of local news organizations around the country doing this. Use of Nextdoor in Anchorage neighborhoods has grown a lot the past few years (it covers 48 neighborhoods in the city). We're excited to be on it.

Here's where you come in: We currently have a poll going on Nextdoor Anchorage about what kind of coverage you would find most useful from us there. If you're a Nextdoor user, hop on and vote. If not, consider joining. (If the poll doesn't show up in your feed, just search Anchorage Daily News.)

Beyond Nextdoor, we're always looking for ways to serve you better — your story ideas, your coverage suggestions, your thoughts about how we can be more useful. We did two pretty extensive reader surveys last summer: one specifically aimed at print readers and a second, partnering with American Press Institute, that tried to more broadly understand what our readers care about and how they consume news. Thousands of you participated, and the results had concrete impacts on what we did, particularly as we made significant, and painful, shifts in coverage and the print newspaper last fall.

We've been though big challenges in the past year. We're working to continually get better, to be relevant, to adapt, to be sustainable and to serve our community. I'm routinely touched by readers' generosity, smarts and expectations of excellence.

You can reach out to us anytime. Email me at dhulen@adn.com. Reporter emails are at the bottom of their stories online.  Have a story idea? Email newstips@adn.com.

Thanks for reading, thanks for subscribing, and thanks for talking to us.

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