Breonna Taylor newsletter is one facet of Courier Journal’s response to racial justice protests

By Cathy Colliver


Louisville, Kentucky, USA


When you are living through layers of historic moments, marketing news content is not top of mind. Covering what is happening in the best way possible is the focus.

Louisville is at the center of protests inspired by the tragic death of Breonna Taylor. Police shot Taylor during a late-night, no-knock warrant raid on March 13. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he fired a shot at what he thought were intruders. (Kentucky is a “stand your ground state.”) Police say they shot back in self-defense, hitting Taylor five times.

The 911 call released May 28 caused outrage leading to four months of daily protests.

The Courier Journal has been on the frontlines reporting news and updates related to the shooting of Breonna Taylor.
The Courier Journal has been on the frontlines reporting news and updates related to the shooting of Breonna Taylor.

The Courier Journal has covered the investigations and protests from all angles. The protest movement in Louisville persists with daily demonstrations. Protestors continue to call for police reforms, as well as an end to systemic racism. In turn, local and national audiences began following the coverage.

Providing trusted content is the truest thing you can do as a news brand

Now, it likely sounds super weird to talk about marketing related to this news and these events. So, let’s be clear. This is not about the sales and promotions side of marketing. This is about the important work of providing valued content in troubling times.

Faced with complexity and confusion, this trusted content is impactful to the community. And that is at the core of what we do and who we are as a news brand — the Courier Journal, USA Today, and Gannett.

Ongoing coverage has involved the entire newsroom.
Ongoing coverage has involved the entire newsroom.

Covering this has been a marathon effort. It has involved the entire newsroom in one way or another, plus other USA Today Network resources. News staff worked long shifts and often rotated to keep up with the coverage.

The volume of content has been immense, and the audience for that content has also been huge. Digital content on the sprawling developments has generated millions of article views. Subscriber pageviews breaks down into an average of 27 Taylor- or protest-related articles per subscriber every month.

Navigating complex, evolving news events can feel overwhelming

It’s a lot to take in. Even for those following events, it can be easy to miss details in the day-to-day of the pandemic. You might catch a news alert on your phone but not be able to look at it until later. You might spot live posts from our journalists at the daily protests. Investigation press conferences leave many questions unanswered.

Catching up on the latest developments can be hard. Our local audiences want to know and understand what is going on, but it’s a lot to untangle: Our journalists have debunked rumours. Local laws, state laws, and police union contracts are confusing. There are three ongoing investigations, plus a civil suit settlement.

The Courier Journal continues to follow all the related issues to this story.
The Courier Journal continues to follow all the related issues to this story.

There is so much content, the Courier Journal created a landing page for ease of digital access.

An additional focused user experience is on a new weekly newsletter. We have already seen large numbers of Taylor-related article views from our daily newsletter. The Breonna Taylor newsletter provides an easy way to stay on top of developments, plus go deeper. Initial subscriber numbers for this newsletter are small, but growing.

We know the world is watching. We also know the sheer amount of information has been somewhat overwhelming.

At the same time, events continue to evolve:

  • Officials have not yet released key details from the criminal investigation.
  • The grand jury’s decision spurred renewed outrage from protestors.
  • One person shot two police officers the night of the grand jury decision.
  • The FBI is still investigating potential civil rights violations.
  • The police department is conducting an internal investigation.
  • The city council is investigating the mayor’s response to the shooting and protests.
  • Promised police reforms are still in development.

There is more to come and still many unanswered questions. We will continue to follow this historic moment and share the trusted content our readers deserve.

About Cathy Colliver

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