In 2018, Nexstar founder and CEO Perry Sook laid out his Digital First vision of reprioritizing newsrooms to place a true emphasis on unique and enterprise digital content. In early 2019, his vision was made a reality as the concept was rolled out across Nexstar Media Group. As the newly hired Director of Digital Content, it was my job to help implement and execute the changes, create innovative shared initiatives and share best practices from across the company.
Here are the basics of the Digital First strategy:
- Reimagine our workflow to ensure immediate and unique content delivery (not scheduled newscasts) is the priority.
- Create a unique, local digital experience with clear differentiation from our on-air product.
- Prioritize video to create a complete digital experience.
The prioritization of video and sharing of unique workflow concepts have resulted in a triple-digit growth average on video views across the company — and more than 1 billion pageviews across our network of websites in March and April of 2020. Here are some of the other Digital First success stories from across the #NexstarNation:
18 Murrow awards for Digital First projects across the company
FBI Mob Tapes Latest In WPRI’s Digital SeriesFBI Mob Tapes Latest In WPRI’s Digital Series
TVNewsCheck – November 2019
An audio recording by the FBI inside a home in a quiet Massachusetts neighborhood captured the secret induction ceremony of a Mafia crime family as they took the oath of secrecy to join La Costa Nostra. That recording is the subject of the latest episode of the digital-only series, 12 On 12, by WPRI, Nextar’s CBS affiliate in Providence, R.I.
WCMH Turns Democratic Debate Into Interactive Watch Party
TVNewsCheck – November 2019
The interactive watch party hosted by WCMH, Nexstar’s NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, was also made available to all the Nexstar TV stations. “So if they were watching on desktop, they could click the options with their mouse, or if they were watching on their phone, they could tap the screen to vote,” said Haley Townsend, WCMH’s digital director.
Nexstar ‘Border Report Tour’ Covers A Lot Of Ground
TVNewsCheck – October 2019
In a ground-breaking, comprehensive series of broadcast and digital reports, Nexstar Broadcasting sent a team of journalists on a 10-day mission to offer viewers a unique and revealing look at life along the border from one end to the other. Nexstar’s Border Report Tour started in San Diego on Sunday, Sept. 22, and concluded on Tuesday, Oct. 1 in Brownsville, Texas. Along the way, the team generated more than 50 pieces of original content for digital, hundreds of news stories and more than 130 live shots for broadcast.
Tracking the Tropics Hurricane Stream
During Hurricane Dorian coverage, weekly hurricane season stream Tracking The Tropics, produced by WFLA in Tampa, moved to daily and even hourly to cover the approaching storm. This included using 37 meteorologists and producing live streaming digital programming for more than 100 hours. More than 2 million video views were realized for this program during the Dorian coverage.
Nexstar’s ‘Newsfeed Now’: Trending News, Hand Delivered
TVNewsCheck – September 2019
The idea for the digital-only show came from a brainstorm between Nolan, Sewell, and Austin Kellerman, former KARK news director who is currently the digital content director at Nexstar.
Nexstar Rallied Its Stations for March Madness Coverage
TVNewsCheck – April 2019
One of the advantages of having a national footprint of stations across the country for TV groups like Nexstar is to leverage their content together for national stories, and March Madness is a perfect example.
Each month, we honor a person, group or station making a difference in the digital space with the #NexstarNation Digital First Impact Award. Here’s a list of past winners:
- June 2020: Jeremy Tanner
- May 2020: Karen Sherman
- April 2020: Aaron Nolan and Matt Sewell
- March 2020: Nexstar’s Ohio stations
- February 2020: KRON Digital Team
- January 2020: Gene Kirkconnell, Evan Donovan
- December 2019: Dax Dobbs
- November 2019: Chuck Stanley
- October 2019: Haley Townsend
- September 2019: Steffi Lee, Sandra Sanchez and Julian Resendiz
- August 2019: WFLA Digital Team
- July 2019: Emma Simmons
- June 2019: Alyssa Goard
- May 2019: WAVY-TV
- April 2019: WKRG-TV
- March 2019: Elizabeth White