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California Watch Enhances Reader Engagement With Redesign

California Watch, a reporting initiative launched by the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2009, officially unveiled its redesigned site today and to say it emphasizes reader engagement is an understatement. With a bevy of new features, such as an easier commenting system and adding Tweets automatically to the comment stream, you have to go out of your way to avoid interacting with the site.

“We really wanted to upgrade the viewer experience and our readers’ ability to interact with us,” said Mark Katches, editorial director for the Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch.

But my favorite part of the redesign is the “React & Act” section. Much like a calendar section, this lists where and how readers can interact with the reporters who make up California Watch. For example, the site lists when reporter Joanna Lin will be participating in an Asian American Journalists Association workshop.

This takes down the invisible wall that can sometimes exist between journalists and their audience members. Remember, reporters are just people. It’s easy to forget this if you only read, in print or online, what someone writes — their byline is faceless. At the end of the day, reporters should want to hear from their readers — whether it be in person, via email, or by a phone call.

What other sites do you go to that encourage reader engagement?

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