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GHS Newsroom
  • Webinar recap: Reader interaction ideas for the holidays

  • Christmas, New Year's and year-end story ideas that feature reader stories and photos.

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  • In a Dec. 2 webinar, I shared dozens of reader-involvement story ideas for the holidays, in categories of photos, writing, voting and lists. Here's a recap:
    PHOTOS
    -- Get photos of and a few words about readers' favorite ornaments (a callout ad is coming for this idea by Thursday.)
    -- Get photos of children being unintentionally scared by the mall Santa, or photos of people in town who look like Santa.
    -- Ask for photos of kids in their costumes for local "Nutcracker," "Christmas Carol" or other holiday productions.
    -- Ask for local artists and photographers (professional or amateur) to submit work that you can showcase on Dec. 25th's 1A. Profile the artist inside.
    WRITING
    -- Request that readers send in funny family holiday newsletters they've written or received in the past.
    -- Ask for readers' favorite holiday traditions.
    -- Have kids tell you what they'd like to buy their parents for Christmas -- the answers could range from something sweet, like a new job for Mom, to something more typical, like new cars, electronics, jewelry or houses.
    -- Have readers send in their tech gift questions, and have an expert at the paper or from a local store supply the answers.
    -- Provide a template of Santa and have readers draw him in a new outfit.
    -- Ask for cookie, dinner and other holiday recipes from readers and local chefs.
    VOTING
    -- Create a March Madness-type bracket of holiday songs, TV specials or movies, and have readers vote on their favorites. Narrow the competitor week by week until there's one winner.
    -- Ask local musicians to write and/or record a new Christmas song, and have readers vote for the best online.
    -- Have readers test out/review hot gifts and toys.
    -- Have readers send photos of their gingerbread houses, and ask people to vote on the best decor.
    LISTS
    -- Compile your readers' lights displays photos into a list in print and online -- Google Maps are an easy way to do this.
    -- Ask charities to submit their fundraising holiday cards and ways people can volunteer during the season.
    -- Ask churches to submit times and dates of their special services.
    -- Request neighborhoods' luminaria times/dates or other public holiday festival info.
    -- Ask readers and businesses to provide information on where to buy Christmas trees.
    NEW YEAR'S
    -- Readers' best and worst of 2010.
    -- Reader resolutions -- or why they aren't making them this year.
    -- Favorite reader party food recipes and places to sip champagne.
    Page 2 of 2 - YEAR END
    -- List the top 5 Web stories of the year, and ask readers to guess which was the most-read.
    -- Run your best photos of the year, with a note on each from the photographers who shot them.
    -- Run your front pages of the year.
    What other holiday or year-end ideas are you pursing this year? Let me know, and I may include them in a future GHNewsroom post.

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