We are dyed-in-the-wool journalists at the Compass – the dye being newspaper ink, of course. But like media companies around the world, we are utilizing new tools and strategies to bring our readers the information they need in the ways they find most relevant – and convenient.
We are pleased to report that since we reconceived our “digital” strategies, culminating in a complete redesign of our CaymanCompass.com website, which launched in February 2016, we have seen continuous growth in online readership. Nowhere is this growth more apparent than in our coverage of the May 24 election.
Today, we offer a “peek behind the curtain” into the data, which reflect the significant resources our reportorial and editorial staff dedicated to covering this critical component of democracy.
As you will see in the accompanying report on the right side of this page, more than 67,000 people followed the Compass’ online coverage of the May 24 election and the ensuing political struggle for control of the government – a number greater than the population of the Cayman Islands. More than 1 million pages were viewed on our website during the month of May – a first for the Compass, and a milestone for our company.
In the run-up to, and first days after the election, we published nearly 200 election-related news articles, not including additional elements, such as graphs and charts, political cartoons and videos.
One of our first challenges was to provide our online readers with video interviews, which we offered to the field of more than 60 candidates.
Since we did not have a videographer on staff, we hired one. Since we didn’t have suitable video equipment (cameras, tripods, lights, etc.), we bought them. Since we didn’t have a video studio, we built one.
Only then could we begin the arduous task of scheduling dates and times for dozens of candidates to come in for their cameos. Some of the candidates (especially the men) were especially image-conscious (“No, we do not provide hair and makeup services; we’re a newspaper, for Heaven’s sake!”)
Our first “guinea pig” was Bodden Town West candidate Gilbert McLean, himself a well-known media veteran as the long-time host of the Rooster Radio morning show. Mr. McLean arrived on time, sat patiently as we fiddled and fumbled with light and sound checks, and then dutifully and skillfully answered the questions we posed to him. He left feeling rightfully pleased with his performance; we, too, were impressed.
And then we reviewed the raw video. The non-technical descriptor might be “disaster.” As they say in the big leagues, “technical difficulties.”
Being the seasoned media professional he is (and all-around good sport), Mr. McLean was kind enough to come back for “Take Two.” By then, our new video journalist had come on board, and the results were far superior – in fact, quite impressive.
Rest assured that while the election may be over, the Compass will continue to focus upon its core strengths – accurate and fair reporting on our news pages, provocative but responsible commentary on our editorial pages.
Since CaymanCompass.com is already the most visited local news site (by far) in the Cayman Islands, we will continue to expand our coverage and offerings.
Based on our election experience, we are particularly excited about the possibilities and immediacy that video offers. Stay tuned for coming attractions …