Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Innovation at the LFPress

Twice in the last week, the London Free Press has held live online chats on education topics. A Feb. 1 chat was held with Thames Valley District School Board executive superintendent of operations services Karen Dalton regarding the city's high schools and how to navigate the choices from the perspective of a Grade 8 student.
A week later, Feb. 8 , the paper hosted TVDSB's CĂ©line Bourbonnais-MacDonald and the London District Catholic School Board's Sharon Wright-Evans for another live chat. Both are the superintendents within each board currently responsible for the implementation of the full-day kindergarten program.
The livechats can be 'replayed' through the links above.
I don't offhand know how many participants were in the Feb. 1 chat, but Wright-Evans told me Monday evening there were over 70 following the Feb. 8 chat. I've sat in on both to see how they were run and examine potential use within either my own newsroom or even here on this blog.
Live chat isn't new, nor is the Free Press the first media to use it. For example, CBC.ca is a frequent user of the same software being used by lfpress.com. What's impressed me (which should be no surprise to those here) is the newspaper chose to do its first two live chats on education subjects -- choosing a high school and full-day kindergarten.
Topics important enough to launch a new way of interacting with readers at southwestern Ontario's largest-circulation daily newspaper.


Anonymous said...

ER - this is a fantastic idea!


RetDir said...

That's very cool - what a great way to engage in some discussion, although the transcripts reveal a bit of tendency to stick to message as opposed to engaging in real dialogue.