Examples of Broadcasts

8 min readJul 30, 2019

Example text messages sent out from different hosts. We will provide a brief description above each highlighting what makes it a strong example of a broadcast. For other documentation, scroll to the bottom.

The Heads Up Text

A straight forward text letting the reader know that something is coming down the pipeline. This gives the reader insight into what you’re working on. Maybe they’ll provide some early tips/feedback you didn’t expect. It lets them know that you’re out and working on something — and they have the inside track.

The “I Hear You”

Your audience will text you. You don’t have to respond to everyone — but acknowledging the texts that are coming in, especially if it’s around a big news event, is something that the audience appreciates. NOTE: inbound texts do NOT go to a personal phone. They go to an email-like dashboard, so when the reporter below says “I heard from many of you in the wee hours” — he’s looking at when the texts were sent. No alerts disturbed his sleep.

The Call for Feedback

Subtext is a two-way conversation. It’s 100% okay to ask the readers for tips, advice and feedback. You can ask something fun — like our example below. Or you can ask for leads or tips on stories. We had one host, who had nearly given up on searching for a source in California, find that source via a follower on Subtext.

We’ve had hosts with 50k followers on Twitter get 10x the responses to the same question asked to a much smaller audience via text. One thing to keep in mind — people are responding via text, so don’t ask for an essay. Ask for feedback in a way they can type out to you with their thumbs.

The Extra Nugget

Even if somebody else has the “scoop of the day” you can provide a little extra insight and analysis.

The Personal/Humanizing Text

This text comes from a reporter who covers the bio-tech industry. It’s humanizing and personal and while it’s not heavy on news/information, it reminds people about the stakes of what it is that this reporter covers.

Additional Thoughts Text

“OTA’s” are organized team activities. This reporter covers a football team and wrote an article about the team activities during the off-season. But there are often little details that are left out of articles which super-fans would love to get. Notice the comfort with using acronyms.

An Extra Moment

This text has information that might not make an article the host is going to write up. But it also has a photo and a quote that gives a nice glimpse into the personality of the subject.

Help My Reporting

The ‘I’ll Get Back To You Soon’ Text

One of the reporters sent a screenshot of our dashboard to show just how many inbound messages they had. Lots of reporters ask if it’s overwhelming to respond to everyone. Even on days of BIG news when the engagement rate peaks, you don’t have to respond to everyone. But you can let everyone know you’ve heard them and that you’re taking it all in. You are the curator of the community. Some hosts use our “Templated response” feature to answer FAQs. Others just send another broadcast out addressing the overall vibe of questions. Some hosts broadcast out when they’re going on vacation or celebrating anniversaries and audiences are ALWAYS understanding.

Not included here was a screenshot of the dashboard showing how many text messages he received.

What Went Into This Story

You can give subscribers an inside look into how you got a scoop. People will understand why you didn’t tell them something as soon as you knew it — if you explain why you had to hold the information back. They’ll feel like they’re in an episode of The Wire. Three images below…..

The 411

This is a text from a reporter on the road. There’s often a TON of information when you’re at a conference. Even just highlighting a speaker who stood out as interesting if you’ve honed an audience that is following your beat (in this case — an industry beat). Who doesn’t want a good recommendation about a company to check out they hadn’t heard of.

Come Chat With Us

There’s a LOT of room to play here. You can do live chats via Instagram, YouTube, etc. You can even create a quick Google Doc and use it as a way to do a live chat! And if you do this and send a text to your audience, the will be the only ones to know about it. This is a GREAT way to build community. Example “Hey everyone, I’ll be chatting on this Google Doc for the next hour. I’m the one typing in red. If you get this before 2pm EST, come say hi. Only subscribers to Subtext will have the link http://bit.ly/31Ev7pW

A Full Little Narrative

It can be done!!! This is a classic “Dog Bites Man” story. It uses an attachment to give needed context, but sums up the story pretty nicely just via text, including reference to a classic SF story that locals would remember. We don’t recommend going for this too often. Remember, these are texts, not mini-articles. But it’s a good example of a story that might not really be worth a full article…. but still gives a nice sense of community/news for local SF residents.

(two images)

A Resource For You

The Cord is a texting service that is a resource for black pregnant women in Chicago. They provide insight into the upcoming birthing experience and resources to help guide the expecting.

A Little Bit of Color

Jeff Adachi was a public defender who was found dead in questionable circumstances. Everyone knew that story. That’s not what this text is about. Instead — this text is about adding some color to the ongoing story/conflict that arose because of that story. Most of this text is color — just the last line is the news.

I Will Quote You

In the spirit of “my audience knows more than I do.” Remember to treat these like sources — you can’t believe everything a source tells you. But if you want to get opinions or ideas, just make an open call.


A quick hit with a fact or piece of information that a regular user wouldn’t have easy access to.

Nothing Today, but I’m Working For You!

Part of Subtext is also getting an inside view into the life/beat of a reporter. Sometimes there isn’t a story. And that’s okay. A part of it is media literacy.

Let’s Play A Text Game

This is a creative use of the texting medium. The host made it into a game “can you identify the business in Lakewood where this photo was taken.” They got lots of great responses. Later they texted the correct answer along with a screenshot with a list of the first names of the people who got it correctly

Invite to an Event!

You’re a reporter and you know where the cool events are. Maybe you’re even at the center of an event via a panel or speaking tour, etc. Offer the heads up first to your texting community. That alone is reason to subscriber.




This is the Medium account for Subtext http://joinsubtext.com/ A service that lets you text with your audience.