Our social media outreach consists of numerous online properties ranging from resource sharing to social networking, but five years ago, it all began with our Los Angeles Transportation Headlines Blog.
In late 2005, taking a cue from the transportation headlines email published by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission library in the Bay Area and the Chicago Transit Authority Board Chair’s “Ask Carole” blog, we dove into the blogosphere to shine a brighter spotlight on transportation issues in Los Angeles.
We began collecting news items that might otherwise be overlooked in the mix of print, television, radio and then-growing online media, and used free social media tools to publish them.
In January 2006, we presented “Blogs and Blogging in Transportation” as part of the programming at the Transportation Research Board’s 85th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
What began as a daily Microsoft Outlook email for Metro’s government relations and public affairs employees has grown into a multi-format web product that is now read by contractors, consultants, transit advocates, fans, politicos, students and others interested in Los Angeles’ built environment and transportation development both locally and across the nation.
As the possibility of passing Measure R approached in 2008, things really took off.
More projects, more transit advocacy, more blogs, more research available online, more local transportation conversation — more and more of everything — has made our Headlines central to our many online activities and a cornerstone of public outreach to keep all of our users and potential users informed and engaged.
Six years and two thousand posts later, what keeps the Headlines relevant?
There must be something to it: Our Headlines webpage has witnessed approximately 450,000 page loads since inception and traffic has increased 25% annually.
We’ve identified five top benefits of subscribing to the Los Angeles Transportation Headlines.
Consider the following:
1. The Headlines keep you informed. Obviously, reading the news will keep you abreast of what is going on.
But our Los Angeles Transportation Headlines is the most comprehensive daily resource for local transit and transportation news, as well as research and innovation from around the nation and the world.
Accumulating this information on your own would take an extraordinary amount of time.
We gather news items by leveraging other online technology and publishing them every workday morning.
We’re not perfect. Sometimes we miss an important story, and we don’t disseminate every iteration of the same topic.
But the Headlines are assembled by hand, every single day. There is no software program that creates and sends out this product containing completely unique news in every edition.
You can get up to speed on topics of individual interest, foster conversation around your respective “water cooler,” and use the Headlines to help you track the development of particular transit or transportation issues over time.
However you use it, the Headlines helps readers learn and share information in other ways.
2. The Headlines come to you in the way you choose. We began publishing a daily news product in 2005 via Blogger, and continue that to this day (except holidays).
However, many people find that they prefer an email subscription.
Using subscription management software, readers can sign up to receive a daily email, and unsubscribe as they wish.
You have the power to sign up, sign off, and receive the daily dish in your inbox without ever having to visit a blog website.
But some like to receive their transportation news through RSS feeds and we accomodate that preference as well.
Subscribing through FeedBurner will provide the Headlines content to the XML-compatible reader of your choice, such as My Yahoo!, Bloglines, Google Reader, etc.
3. The Headlines are a news research resource. Did you come across a story but can’t remember exactly what it said? Or where it was published? Or where to find it so you can pass it along to a colleague or friend?
Not a problem.
The Los Angeles Transportation Headlines’ Blogger site features a search box in the upper left corner.
Whether you’re tracking down a specific article, or everything related to a particular topic, or some recent research, this search capability is for you.
Maybe you’re interested only in a particular geographic community or aspect of transportation — a keyword search would help you zero in on relevant news items.
If you’re trying to track down a specific report or other research, you could search the term “PDF” to find documents that have been included in the Headlines.
And if you recall something that was published in a particular news source or on a blog or website, you can search for keywords related to that as well.
4. The Headlines blogroll is extensive and useful. The Los Angeles Transportation Headlines consists of much more than just daily news stories.
Have you ever checked out the tabs under the Headlines’ banner? The site defaults to the daily news items, but you can also find extensive listings for other selected blogs, transportation journals and magazines, transit and transportation advocacy, transit and transportation history resources, and links to other transportation libraries and the transportation research community.
We maintain these resources to keep them fresh and relevant for our users, but blogs and websites do sometimes experience periods of inactivity. We do our best!
5. The Headlines provide an opportunity for continuous learning and staying connected. Los Angeles is embarking on the most ambitious mobility agenda in our history.
Subscribing to the Los Angeles Transportation Headlines puts you in touch with numerous resources you may not yet have experienced and will want to follow or subscribe to on your own.
Various academic disciplines play their part in the planning, construction and operation of transit and transportation projects.
The interdisciplinary nature of transportation brings you news from the worlds of engineering, finance, urban planning, sociology, local and national politics, geology, demographics, and emerging technologies…to name a few.
Whether a daily news digest contains items already of interest to you or not, it will likely include something thought-provoking or feature an aspect of transit or transportation that you may not have considered before.
We’ve been at it for six years, and our readership statistics point to continuing this endeavor for the forseeable future.
If you aren’t already a subscriber, we welcome you to sign up today.