Over the years, The Dallas Morning News has stockpiled a wealth of stories and information about local celebrities, businesses, politicians, and organisations. It wanted to create a way to give readers access to that information in the event that they want to dive a little deeper into the history of a local Dallas personality or business.
That led to creating LocalGraf, a database of information on local entities and individuals. However, readers couldn’t find these pages easily and often relied on a Google search to locate their information. To make it easier, The Morning News created the “In This Story” module, which gives readers access to related stories and background on a person or business.
How it works
Now, when a writer or editor uses a specific tag in the CMS — such as a person or business name — the story automatically links to related content. The module displays a page of information and story links, which encourages readers to spend more time on the site.
For example, Mark Cuban is a prominent Dallas figure, so if a story is written about him, it will include the tag “Mark Cuban.” Then, the In This Story feature provides a list of the stories The Morning News has written about him and also tells more about what organisations he is affiliated with.
This is now done each time a writer or editor writes about notable people, places, or organisations.
One of the most successful uses of this feature has been the company’s page for ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT is responsible for overseeing the Texas power grid and becomes newsworthy in situations such as extreme weather when residents need to be concerned about power outages.
Using public data, The Morning News built out a real-time dashboard of electricity supply and demand in Texas. This now lives permanently on the ERCOT database page, and during extreme temperatures, readers flock to the page to see the dashboard and read the latest stories about it.
In addition to increasing traffic and encouraging readers to spend more time on the site, the DMN has seen good results with SEO, as the number of people who are searching for information on local figures or businesses helps put the database high in Google search results.