Cast your mind back if you will to chilly February, amid the growing crescendo/death spiral of pre-election communications. Neil and his team were finishing off the new corporate website, having shunned friends and family for weekends on end. A member of the senior management team came bounding back from a cross government meeting where they had been shown this, and, in a nutshell, they wanted one too.
There were half a dozen or so information sources to play with*:
- Press Releases, ministerial speeches (RSS feed)
- Tweets from corporate accounts (RSS feeds)
- Videos on YouTube (RSS feed with multimedia enclosures)
- Flickr photos (API)
- Podcasts on SoundCloud (added by the team later, again, RSS feed)
- Contact details for Press Officers & key facts on policies (static text)
- Email alerts for media to sign up to via GovDelivery
*We also had a plan to add a couple of extras which were built but not yet used. Case studies published elsewhere online were to be tagged using a corporate Delicious account and imported into the newsroom using the RSS feed for the tag. Urgent statements or rebuttals put out by a Press Officer out of hours sometimes aren’t issued as Press Notices in the normal way, so we set up a private Tumblr site to which these could be emailed, which could be embedded or imported into the Newsroom, again via RSS.
- Version 0.1 (click the image to enlarge) was a good proof of concept, built in an empty page template on our old WordPress site. But there was too much to take in for a notoriously lazy audience.
Early feedback on the prototype from journalists was positive, the Press Office got a nice-looking tool which required literally zero additional work beyond emailing over their contact list, and Neil got one of his much-loved quick wins – and within SiteCore too. Props for this one to Rhys and Ian in the BIS Digital Communications team.
Photo credit: Victoria Peckham