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Deaths, Trades and Oscars — a guaranteed week on NewsOK

by Alan Herzberger Modified: April 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm •  Published: February 25, 2011

It’s been a really busy week. But, really, they’re all busy these days.This week seemed especially long for me because we made a change that irked some of our users. But  in the end, I had an opportunity to speak with dozens of customers who use our website every day. That makes for a busy, but very good week.

Women in Prison

Our series on Women in Prison took another big step this past weekend. One story  in particular became very popular on the  site, thanks to the viral nature of the Internet. It was actually a story by Ginnie Graham of the Tulsa World about “How $31 of pot gave mom a 10-year prison sentence.” You might ask why we published a full story by a Tulsa World reporter on our site (we often publish excerpts of daily articles and link to the World’s website for the full story). Well, the Women in Prison series is a journalistic endeavor from Oklahoma Watch, which is a non-profit, investigative and in-depth reporting team that collaborates with The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World and others. It’s a good series, and it underscores our goals here — to tell stories and share information that makes a difference in our community.

New Death Listings

And now to the fun part of the week. I’ve written in the past about changing the format of our daily death listings. It’s part of a project that has allowed our newsroom to gather statewide death listings in a more efficient manner. It’s all in a database, so we’re now displaying those listings that way on the website. What it means for the users, however, is that the listings don’t look like they’ve looked every day for years. Here was my message to our users. Here are some of their comments: (1) I don’t like your new death listing, IT STINKS!!! (2) Congratulations, the obit listing is now totally unusable! (3) the new method of listing deaths is not progress. It is now impossible to know who has passed on. There was much more, but you get the idea. I responded to everyone. I made a point to show people who don’t like a searchable, sortable listing with a deep archive that we still have a printable listing for today that looks like our old way of presenting the death listings. I received some positive feedback after that: (1) just wanted to tell you, i just tried, the print button, and saw all of the obits, towns, and arrangements. (2) Thank you Alan!!!  I’ll give it a try.  When you’re older you resist change to anything you’re comfortable with.  I appreciation your response. (3) Thank you for your response. I used the print link and yes, it opened it up. I really appreciate your help. Here’s the bottom line. We still have some improvements to make. We need to make these listings more available to users on a mobile device. And we need to change some wording on the “print these listings” to make it more clear. But I’m happy that I was able to speak to some of the users that make our Obits page such a popular destination each day.

50 years ago today

I was sitting in a meeting on Monday morning. We were looking at our Today in History page when a conversation broke out about the main headline in the front page of the newspaper that we presented  on Feb. 21, 1961. The headline we were discussing was, “84,000 Get Furlough From Struck Airlines.” We were all guessing what it was truly about. Here’s what I found out later by browsing The Oklahoman’s Archives: “Three of the nation’s biggest, businest airlines ordered a complete shutdown of operations Monday night as a result of a wildcat strike of flight engineers, the worst tieup in American aviation history.” The Archives are a fun resource.

Blake was back

Blake Griffin returned to Oklahoma City this week. Jenni Carlson wrote a great column about how we knew Blake before he was the fastest rising star in sports. And this video we had from a couple years ago with highlights of his collegiate greatness was a fun watch:

iPad pride

This is just a note to say how proud I am of The Oklahoman’s iPad edition. I read The Oklahoman every day on the iPad, and the information and experience we offer daily on that application is remarkable. Plus, we also have a Live Edition on the app that shows the stories we’re featuring on NewsOK at any given time. It’s worth checking out.

Don’t forget … we’re on the Kindle

We haven’t forgotten. We publish every day on the Amazon Kindle. One day this week, some of the characters in the edition were messed up, making some of the stories difficult to read. It was a problem we resolved quickly. But it did give me an opportunity to speak with another reader of our products. This time, it was subcrriber to our Kindle edition. She saw the problem Thursday morning and let me know about the issue.  And then on Friday, she said this: “Friday’s edition of The Oklahoman on my kindle was fine.  thank you for your prompt response and for notifying me.

Thunder trade on text

I was having a conversation with some colleagues on another floor of our building on Thursday afternoon at about 2 p.m. I received a text on my phone that said, “OKC Thunder trades Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic to Boston Celtics….” Being a sports fan and Thunder supporter, I was shocked. I knew that we weren’t expecting a trade like this on the NBA trading deadline. But I was also thankful that I can count on NewsOK to let me know that it went down. All of it goes to show that being signed up for NewsOK’s text message alerts can come in handy. You learn things that are important to you when they happen.

Oscars coverage

The Academy Awards are this Sunday. And the NewsOK A&E group has been preparing all week with tons of articles, blogs and videos of our predictions, etc. And on Sunday night, we will be showing the live blogs of George Lang and Brandy McDonnell, just like we did for the Grammys. I can do without The Oscars show. The blogs? Those are entertaining. And it’s set up nicely with this video from Dave Morris and George Lang:

Scene & Hurd

I always like to introduce new blogs that join the NewsOK Blogging network. This week, I bring to you Scene & Hurd, from Elizabeth Hurd.  Elizabeth brings you ‘News and reviews from the Oklahoma arts scene.” If you’re into the arts community in Oklahoma, please check out this new blog.

Live video

We don’t do a ton of live video, but when we do … our users like it. On Friday afternoon, we streamed the Oklahoma City Thunder news conference live on our NewsOK Thunder coverage page. It made for quite a page. As I listened to Thunder general manager Sam Presti describe the trades and answer questions about his team’s future, I read our own Darnell Mayberry’s live chat from earlier in the day. Darnell provided some amazing insight from his perspective.

Most-read article

The aforementioned article about “How $31 of pot gave mom a 10-year prison sentence” was the most-viewed article on the site this week. It wasn’t even close, really. But the second most-viewed article? That’s right … the aforementioned trade of Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic to the Boston Celtics for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.

Most-read blog post

I missed this blog post entirely this week. Berry Tramel takes the honor again for his post titled, “OU football: Don’t throw stones at Alabama.” Said Berry: “But this is a wink-wink deal. One of college football’s dirty little secrets. Players are expected to totally dedicate themselves in the offseason, when eight hours a week of supervised workouts are permitted, and in the summer, when no coaches are allowed and everything is supposed to be totally voluntary.” I don’t know how I missed this on Thursday, but it was worth my time today.

Most-watched video

Berry’s here again, this time with his and Jenni Carlson’s Press Row video analysis of the Thunder trades. They even had to use Studio C in our OPUBCO Studios, but they got it done — and they provided some great analysis.

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by Alan Herzberger
Digital Managing Editor
Alan Herzberger is the Digital Managing Editor for NewsOK.com and The Oklahoman. He focuses on content within OPUBCO Communications Group’s variety of digital products. He’s been with The Oklahoman since 1997, when he joined the sports...
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