Declaring our roundup experiment a success

We’re declaring the experiment we started last month a success. Now when you open a roundup, you’ll find a message from a member of our team pulling some threads together in the Taproot way — with curiosity and desire to understand our community better.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. Here’s a sample of the things we heard:

  • "I love the new roundup format."
  • "I really like the new opening perspective from the editor."
  • "I’m writing to tell you I’m enjoying the new format of the roundup. I think it’s a great addition."

We’re grateful for the evidence that this approach is working!

Our previous format was to include a story at the top of the roundup, which meant there was duplication between the roundups and The Pulse. We want to encourage you to subscribe to The Pulse for a daily look at what’s happening in Edmonton, and to the roundups for deeper dives into what’s happening in tech, food, health innovation, the region, the arts, and business. The new format makes that more likely.

“I like to start my notes to you as if we’re in the middle of a conversation,” Meg Ryan’s character says in You’ve Got Mail.

We think the new format makes the roundups themselves more engaging. Instead of dropping you right into a story, we greet you in a more conversational way without any unnecessary preamble (as we always strive to save you time). I’m reminded of Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail, who writes to Tom Hanks’s character, "I like to start my notes to you as if we’re in the middle of a conversation."

One of the things we’ve learned through the experiment is that this format is a useful way for us to connect the dots. While each edition of a roundup is informative on its own, paying attention to a topic over time yields greater benefits. We notice patterns, connections, and trends that we can share, and the new format is a good way to do that.

What’s next?

We’ll still write stories about our roundup topics even with the new format in place, and you’ll still find them curated into items for the roundups they fit best. Those stories will also make it into The Pulse. But the new format provides us with some operational flexibility that we’re excited to take full advantage of.

For instance, in The Pulse you’ll increasingly find stories like our look at the community sandbox program, which doesn’t exactly fit one of the roundup beats. It also means we can publish stories like today’s about Future Fields securing US$11.2 million in funding whenever it makes sense to do so, not just because it fits a particular day’s roundup.

We’re working on additional improvements to the roundups, The Pulse, and our website, and we’ll have more to share on that soon. If you have any feedback on what would make the reader experience even better, please let us know!

And as always, if you’d like to help us go further faster, become a Taproot member or sponsor. You’ll be helping us build what comes next in local journalism.

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