Two weeks ago, I put together a reader survey asking for your thoughts on Nationals coverage across the Web and what you'd like to see here. More than 150 of you responded, and from those responses, I was able to draw some pretty strong themes about the way you get your Nats news and what you want to see. I'd like to share a few of those themes with you:
Your news experience is almost completely wired - or wireless: There are going to be some biases in the data, because to be taking this survey, you were, by nature, scouring the Web for Nats news. But 88.3 percent of you said you get news from local news websites like this one or Washingtonpost.com. 73.7 percent of you said you check blogs, 55.3 percent said national news sites like ESPN.com and 49.3 percent said Twitter. That's more than TV (46.7 percent), newspapers (40.1 percent) or radio (36.7 percent). Probably a good thing I'm no longer working at a newspaper, huh?
You're getting news frequently, and from a wide variety of sources: 92.7 percent of you said you check for Nats news at least once a day, and 80.8 percent said several times a day or more. And of the nine news sites or blogs I listed, six of them are checked by 30 percent of you or more.
In a fractured media landscape, you want the things you can't get elsewhere: That might mean breaking news - that was far and away the type of story you said you were most likely to read - but it also means game analysis. The theme that came through the loudest from all this was how little interest you have in traditional game stories, or at least game stories that have some element of traditional play-by-play. You want to hear, and talk, about why something happened and what it means. As you might have noticed, I've phased out the traditional game stories here in the last couple weeks; I find some literary value in them, and wanted to see how they'd translate in this forum. The answer appears to be, "Not that well," so they're not coming back. You spoke up, so I'll act accordingly.
You're interested in two-way communication, but it's got to be done the right way: Many of you commented on how you like the transparency and openness I've tried to foster in my coverage of the team, be it through online chats, Twitter or responding to comments here. But if you're going to take the time to comment on things, you want it to be done the right way. A number of you said you're put off by the speed of our in-game chats, or how quickly they're apt to veer off topic. Some of that, I like - the idea is to be the online equivalent of a sports bar, where you can talk with your friends about plenty of things besides the game - but I want to be sensitive to those who don't like to get in-game coverage in that format. So I'm going to play around with a few things there. I'll still do in-game chats several times a week, but some days, I might just let them run as a space where you can talk to each other while I write a series of short in-game updates for people who prefer that type of content. Several of you also said you'd like to participate from Nationals Park, but can't get the chats to work on your phone. I've started posting a mobile site where you can participate, and as always, you can tweet to the chats by tagging with #masnnats.
There were plenty of other great ideas that came out, and I'm planning to pass those along to a handful of people at MASN so we can work on implementing some of them. But you'll start to see some different things crop up around here pretty quickly - like I said when I started this process, I love getting reader feedback and new ideas, and I don't take that lightly. You've got good ideas, and I want this site to reflect as many of those as it can. For example, we're going to roll out a series of profiles on some of the blogs covering the Nats; I talked with Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball last week about his site. That interview, as well as a little back-and-forth between the two of us on the Nats, will be available tomorrow.
Thanks so much for your time, your ideas and your passion about this team. It's what makes this job fun, and it might be the best source of ingenuity available to reporters. Keep checking in to see how we put it into action.
Questions? As always, let me know.