Week 1 is in the books. How did Ohio's Richland Source do?

Week 1 of the Ohio high school football season is in the books. We serve newsrooms around the country, but have some special x-ray vision into the one where Lede Ai was developed, Richland Source in Mansfield, Ohio. We pulled our own analytics from the first weekend. Here’s how it went.

The playing field

Measured from August 27 - Sept 2 (to give a sense of the curve)

Isolated for sports traffic only, the vast majority is high school football.

Richland Source covers a three county market in North Central Ohio using a combination of traditional reporting and Lede Ai, and then covers the entire state using Lede Ai.

In market coverage = Luke Skywalker + R2D2 and yes, they work well together.

The Source mobilized their small newsroom of six for kickoff weekend and baked Lede Ai into the plans. The combination allowed them to provide feature coverage for 12 games in three markets. How did they do it?

I’m as competitive as the players on the field. Lede Ai gives me a competitive advantage that no one else has and I want to use it.
— Larry Phillips, Richland Source Editor

First, they maximized the human resources by putting their experienced sports reporters in the press box at 6 key games. The rest of the staff fanned out to get pictures at games where there was no reporter.

Where those two options didn’t work, editors had made arrangements to take contributed photos or use file photos. Here’s how it totaled out.

  • 12 games covered

  • 6 traditional feature coverage.

  • 6 games covered by Lede Ai

  • All 12 games had at least one photo

    • 9 came from full time or freelance staff

    • 2 were submitted by fans

    • 1 was file art

Larry Phillips, the leader of this rebel alliance, is pretty direct about it. “I’m as competitive as the players on the field. Lede Ai gives me a competitive advantage that no one else has and I want to use it. Is it going to win a Pulitzer? No. Does it allow us to provide valuable information to our readers faster than anyone else? Yes, and that’s our job.”

Out of market traffic, Lede Ai goes it alone

Lede Ai - which is powered by data from ScoreStream - provided game coverage for over 200 high school football games that were out of market on Friday night. Games like this one from over 120 miles away. The coverage was automatic, delivered without any human intervention, and published at 10:46 p.m., which was faster than anywhere else.

That’s great, how was the traffic?

Richland Source Google Analytics data for their sports section for week one of Ohio high school football season.

Richland Source Google Analytics data for their sports section for week one of Ohio high school football season.

Pretty good, thank you. Overall, the sports section of Richland Source saw pageviews climb 123% to 133,253. Unique pageviews jumped 55% to 24,730 over the same period in the previous year.

And here’s where it gets interesting: Those out-of-market Lede Ai stories with no art and no human intervention accounted for 39% of all of the football traffic in the same time period.

In other words, Luke Skywalker was still piloting his X-Wing, but R2D2 had his back. And together, they won the day.

References:

Google analytics data from week one for Richland Source

Out-of-market high school sports coverage, powered by Lede Ai