2016 ACE: Award of Excellence
With both major newspapers in the state constantly reducing staff and cutting back on the amount of news that comes from the state's capitol, the Kentucky Chamber felt that it was vital to provide another source of news to the citizens. To help fill this void, the Kentucky Chamber hired a political reporter and started a news website, The Bottom Line.
With both major newspapers in the state constantly reducing staff and cutting back on the amount of news that comes from the state’s capitol, the Kentucky Chamber felt that it was vital to provide another source of news to the citizens. To help fill this void, the Kentucky Chamber hired a political reporter and started a news website, The Bottom Line (http://kychamberbottomline.com).
“We believe we are the first state chamber and possibly the first chamber in the country to actually hire a full-time journalist to cover business and political news for a business audience,” says Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson.
After converting the Chamber’s little-used blog to a news website in January 2015, reporter Jacqueline Pitts began covering the news about business-related legislation at the start of the 2015 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Click the links below for sample stories from the 2015 legislative session:
In addition to traditional news stories, the multi-media site features news videos, educational videos, and voter information. For example, during the 2015 election cycle, when Kentucky was choosing a new governor, The Bottom Line interviewed each candidate on issues important to the business community and the Chamber.
Stories with videos of the interviews can be found in the links below:
In addition to the candidate interviews, the Bottom Line also published a booklet that captured each of the candidates’ interview responses for both the primary and the general election.
Click the links below to view the booklets:
While The Bottom Line does provide some Chamber “members only” content, the majority of the articles and videos are placed online for the general public. While this raises the profile of the Chamber and gives it a platform in which to discuss issues important to the business community, the overarching goal of The Bottom Line is to be an informative, valuable source of business and legislative news for Kentuckians.
The cost of operating the news site is fairly inexpensive, with just a $350 subscription fee to use a Wordpress platform. The majority of video production is done in-house, so costs of each video typically range from $0-$500 for the purchase of stock video, photos and music. Other than the reporter’s salary, the highest costs were in purchasing video equipment – about $2,000 for a camera, lighting and editing software.
The Chamber uses its traditional communications outlets – website, printed newsletter, e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter – to promote The Bottom Line. Through those outlets, particularly social media, the audience of The Bottom Line continues to grow. In 2014, the site received a total of 4,183 visitors. In 2015, the site received 33,850 visitors. In just the first three months of 2016, the site has had 20,672 visitors.
Because of this steep climb in web visitors, the Chamber feels that the site is achieving and exceeding its goal of being a valuable source of business and legislative news for Kentuckians.