A Peek Inside Eric Aasen's Digital Life

Jul 17, 2014

Credit Lyndsay Knecht/KERA)

People involved in public media share how they wade through the digital news deluge. This month we spoke with KERA Digital News Editor Eric Aasen. Eric joined KERA after over a decade at The Dallas Morning News. According to his Twitter profile, he knows everything there is to know about Big Tex, the country’s quirkiest landmark. Eric shares his must-reads, must-follows, guilty pleasures, words of wisdom and more below:

Three daily must-reads:      

I check JimRomenesko.com every day. I’ve been following Romenesko's journalism blogging for 15 years. He's a workhorse. I enjoy how he folds in both national and local media developments.

For national news, I regularly check in online with The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR. I visit Politico quite a bit.

For Texas news, I check out The Texas Tribune and Texas Monthly, as well as NPR member stations around Texas.

Three things I love online right now:

I love what the National Weather Service in Fort Worth does online. Great Twitter feed. Awesome Facebook presence – the meteorologists do a great job interacting with folks who are posting questions, photos or weather observations. I constantly check them out on Facebook and Twitter during severe weather. We get significant traffic spikes during bad weather, so the weather service is a great resource.

I love Humans of New York, particularly the Facebook page. It reminds me that everyone has a story – and everyone has something interesting to say. Are we taking the time to stop and listen and let it sink in? 

I could spend lots of time on the Social Security baby name site -- you can track the popularity of baby names going back more than 125 years. You can also track names by state. Very cool.

Three accounts you'd pay to follow on Twitter
Jim Roberts – he has a great Twitter presence.
Mark Knoller – he always has interesting White House observations.
CIA -- The CIA just launched its Twitter feed, but it's off to a great start -- the Tweets are clever and funny.

Three guilty pleasures online
Gawker. BuzzFeed. I always laugh when I see a headline from The Onion in my Facebook feed. YouTube – I especially enjoy watching old-school TV newscasts to see how news was covered and presented back in the day. Newseum.org -- for the gallery of daily newspaper front pages. I love seeing front pages of newspapers, especially the day after a big event that's rocked the country. I also check out Drudge Report. On Facebook, I regularly check in with the State Fair of Texas and Traces of Texas, which posts historical photos. And I take random dives into Wikipedia. 

Words of wisdom for shows/stations as they go forward with their digital efforts:

When the news is serious, we should be serious. Otherwise, our online posts should be spirited, conversational, chatty, edgy and breezy. And we should find opportunities to have fun. We should inject energy in our writing whenever we can. We should always remember we are public media and that readers, listeners and viewers expect quality, but we aren't producing scholarly journals -- we're trying to produce smart content that resonates with as many people as possible. We can be smart yet edgy. 

When readers visit our website, I hope it's time worth spending. I hope readers will feel smarter after reading something -- or they'll smile. Or they'll read it and want to share it with their friends online. That's what guides me every day. 

Make time to create something special from time to time -- something big. At KERA, we've done this with 39 Things You Should Do In Texas Before You Die, our most popular post ever. And we're doing this with The Broken Hip, an ongoing health series that's online and on the radio. It takes some planning, but it's worth the effort. 

Make time to create something special every day -- something small. It might be just one sentence in a web story that just sparkles. Or maybe it's a paragraph. Or maybe you found a great photo to illustrate your story to make your post more appealing.