Houston’s Most Social Newsdesks

Social NewsdesksSocial Media is the new frontier, yet many traditional news outlets have yet to have fully accepted Social. Houston is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US, we have the second-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, and many great news sources.

Back in June, I compiled a list of the Top 100 Social Media Influencers in Houston. Using the same methodology, I’ve compiled this list to see who’s got the most pull on Social.

Social Pull measures the the influence of a social media user by the likelihood that their followers will engage with a post and expresses it as a multiple. Where the average user will have a 1x social pull, a user with a 10x is ten times more influential than the average user. Although the number of followers affects Social Pull, the influence and engagement of the followers make a bigger impact. (I’ve listed the Social Pull score along with the descriptions.)

The Analysis

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 12.13.53 AMFor some thoughts about Houston’s traditional media channel’s adoption of social, I turned to Houston media blogger and analyst, Mike McGuff (@MikeMcguff). Mike’s the expert when it comes to ratings, social and the news so I reached out for his thoughts on how the news is adopting social, and some of his thoughts.

As a KTRK employee in 2008, Mike was one of the first people in Houston to get a TV station on social media,  “I started creating Twitter and Facebook accounts and did a lot of experimentation to figure out how these tools could help get more website page views and TV audience eyeballs.” McGuff even livetweeted Hurricane Ike for about 30 hours, “Since there was no power in many parts of the city, Twitter over the phone was one of the few ways people could get info on the damaging storm.”

How did the management react to social? “It was a long struggle with management, because they were not sure at the time if the station should use social media,” says McGuff. “I can understand, because this was very early in social media’s history. Few TV stations around the country were even using it.”

In the end, McGuff’s persistence paid off, “We were years ahead of most of the other Houston TV stations as a result, so the “Houston’s News Leader” slogan extended in social media [when] most TV stations weren’t jumping on the social bandwagon until about 2010…some later. The media generally likes to take a wait and see approach on new technologies.”

Traditional Media Has Been Slow To Adopt Social

“Media companies have been chugging along for many years and have a certain way of doing things, they don’t usually adapt quickly to new trends, says McGuff. “There hasn’t been a need for innovation for the most part because the last decades have been good business wise for media companies. It’s only in the last seven years or so newspapers, and now television stations, have really needed to worry about erosion from the digital world.” I feel they will be adapting at a much quicker pace from now on out of necessity.

“Organizations like the Houston Press are good at building communities and are niche publications with a point of view. The other Houston media properties have mass audiences and must appeal to everyone. The Press can more easily target its content to what its audience likes. I would also think the Press’ readership would be more likely to use social media too.”

Traditional Media Naturally Garners Social Media Engagement

Even traditional news stations are able to quickly grow followers and can easily engage with followers. Mike shares an example, I saw a Houston TV anchor simply say something like ‘How are you doing?’ on Facebook and get a ton of likes and comments. Doubt a plumbing company or insurance firm has it that easy engagement wise.”

What can traditional media do to move forward? “When the media really analyzes how to use social media properly and more effectively, I think it will be a very powerful tool for stations and papers in the future.” says McGuff.

The Ratings…

1. Houston Press: The Houston Press is Houston’s News and Entertainment weekly, and the sponsors of the “Best of Houston” award series. They claim 600,000 readers monthly, but are a clear upset with 1/3 fewer followers than the Houston Chronicle. (38k vs. 62k). Their new media mindedness seems to be rooted in the type of news they cover and their target readership. They do a great job of asking web visitors to add their email address to their newsletter in a popup. – 137x

2. Houston Chronicle: The Chronicle is Houston’s only daily newspaper, making Houston the largest metro with a single paper. Owned by the Hearst Media Group, the paper even sells social media ads and rightfully so. Even though they aren’t the most influential on social media, they do have the largest Twitter following. – 132x

3. ABC 13 Houston: Also know as KTRK-TV, ABC 13 Houston is an ABC owed-and-operated station. Little known fact, the KTRK is derived from the fact that The Houston Chronicle owned a majority stake when the station first started, and modeled it after its radio call letters, KTRH. Although they came in third in the ratings, ABC 13 seems to be doing well on social. – 128x

4. KHOU: KHOU is the CBS-affiliated, Belo Corp owned news station (Belo is pending sale to The Gannett Company). Where the first three outlets on this list were tigtly grouped within 10 points, there’s a 40-point difference between KHOU and ABC 13. KHOU was the second television station licensed in the Houston area.  – 86x

5. MyFoxHouston: KRIV was the third UHF station in the Houston area, and is currently owned and operated by Fox since 1986. MyFoxHouston and KHOU are fairly closely ranked when it comes to social pull.  – 84x

6. HouBizJournal: The HBJ is part of the American City Business Journals group, with 40 metropolitan weekly publications and is based in Charlotte. – 41x

7. ABC13Weather: ABC13’s weather-only Twitter feed –  38x

8. Free_Press: Free Press Houston is a monthly newspaper focusing on arts and entertainment in Houston.  – 34x

9. HoustonPBS: KUHT is Houston’s PBS-member public television station, and the first public television station in the United States. The station s owned and licensed to the University of Houston System. – 32x

10. KPRCLocal2: KPRC-TV is Houston’s NBC-affiliated station, owned by the Post-Newsweek Stations subsidiary of the Washington Post company. Of the four major network-affiliated stations, KPRC is the least socially influential, with 1/6th the score of ABC13’s – 20x

11. Local2Weather: Just a couple points from it’s parent feed, KPRC’s weather feed – 18x

12. FuelFixBlog: The Houston Chronicle’s energy blog,  – 18x

13. KUHFNews: Owned by the University of Houston System and operated by Houston Public Media, @KUHFNews is the news handle for Houston’s public radio station.  – 17x

14. News92FM: KROI is an all-news station owned by Radio One, who also own the 97.9 The Box and Magic 102, according to Mike McGuff. The station started in 2011. – 16x

15. NewsFixHouston: KIAH’s NewsFix is an anchor-less, newsreel-type news program, and the only of the type in Houston. It ranked as the least socially influential of the TV news programs in Houston. – 14x

16. TelemundoHou: KTMD is the Houston-area Telemundo Owned and Operated station. – 14x

17. TexansonABC: A Texans-focused Twitter handle from ABC13. Note that the TexansonABC handle is actually more socially influential than ABC13Sports, ranked at 20. – 14x

18. Local2Sports: KPRC’s sports desk handle.. – 10x

19. KHOUWeather: KHOU’s weather team handle. – 9x

20. ABC13Sports: ABC13’s sports desk handle. – 5x

21. KTRHNews: Better known as News Radio 740 airs primarily talk-radio. KTRH is owned by Clear Channel. – 4x

22. UniRadioHouston: Although we couldn’t find a Univision station handle in Houston, the Univision Radio handle still ranks on our list. – 3x

23. HCNOnline: The main handle for the Houston Community Newspapers. Last year, the HCN network of 28 Houston-Area newspapers was acquired by 1013 Star Communications, based in Reno, Nevada. – 2x
SugarLandSun – 2x
LakeHoustonSun – 2x
VillagerNews – 2x
CypressMirror – 2x
BayAreaCitizen – 1x
PearlandNews – 0.95x
WestUExaminer – 0.92x
KingwoodNews – 0.77x
ConroeCurrier – 0.76x
BellaireExaminer – 0.69x
PasadenaCitizen – 0.67x
FtBendNews – 0.65x
RiverOaksNews – 0.64x
HumbleNews – 0.52x
FriendswoodNews – 0.49x
SpringfieldObserver – .34x
MemorialNews – .34x
DeerParkNews – .28x
TomballNews – .26x
MyDaytonNews – .22x
MyClevelandNews – .18x
MagnoliaNews – .17x
RancherNews – .17x
EastexNews – .12x

24. KHOUSports: KHOU’s sports desk handle – 1x

25. CMoreMy20 – Although Houston’s third independent TV station, KTXH has dwindled. Once a UPN station, My20 is part of the MyNetworkTV and is currently owned by Fox as a sister station to KRIV, myfoxhouston. – .03x

What are your thoughts about the Houston news scene on social? Let me know in the comments!

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