Organisation: Stuff / Neighbourly (New Zealand)
Publication Date: 03/02/2018
DescriptionNeighbourly is a free and private neighbourhood social media platform that allows members to interact with their communities across New Zealand and runs like digital community noticeboard. Neighbourly was brought by Stuff in 2014 - Stuff is the largest news site in NZ and owns most of the country's regional newspapers. Owning the Neighbourly platform allows Stuff journalists to share local news and content directly within communities around the country. The problem, we wanted to solve, is how we can continue to serve the needs of local audiences using existing resources and a reduced amount of Stuff journalists embedded in each community throughout New Zealand. Our goal was to create a product that can be used by Stuff reporters and editors to ensure that they have access to local content throughout the country and that content can be accessed quickly and easily. Our solution is called Neighbourly Catch. We have created a dashboard on Neighbourly for Stuff reporters and editors that will allow them to easily discover content that matters to local communities. The system will allow the editorial staff to search through all 550,000 Neighbourly members’ posts and profiles for keywords or names that relate to a story or topic they are after. We hope this solution will allow reporters to add more local contexts to national stories. This will ensure that regions, who don’t have reporters on the ground, can still have insights from their neighbourhood covered in stories and aren’t missed out. Further to this, the dashboard will also offer reporters and editors a look at the top trending posts in each region. The purpose of this function will be to ensure that popular stories and conversations in local communities aren’t being missed - particularly if the area lacks reporters to keep an eye on the local happenings. The trending posts function will list the top ten posts in order of the most engaged audience. This is found by a simple query which adds the likes, thanks and replies of the post and divides by the audience size. This means that smaller regions, such as rural communities, will have the same chance of being “trending” topics than a bigger suburb with more residents/members. Upon creating this prototype over the past two days, we quickly put a call out to Stuff reporters and editors to get their perspectives. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The dashboard will be integrated into the Neighbourly website and mobile app. We hope that once we initiate this first stage, we will be able to look into the opportunity to also hook into social media API’s and also include conversations and comments from Stuff.co.nz.
Technologies used for this project:We built this prototype inside the Neighbourly.co.nz existing codebase. This uses the following technologies: - PHP (Symfony framework) - Mysql (via Doctrine) - Elasticsearch - Apache - Ubuntu Linux - HTML, CSS, JS In this first stage, the Neighbourly Catch dashboard will be integrated into the Neighbourly website and mobile app, which means we can simplify the work surrounding this concept by attaching the tool to an existing system. The function will only be available to Stuff editorial staff who have Neighbourly logins.
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