Dallas Morning News launches coronavirus help widget — and makes it available to any U.S. newspaper

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At the bottom of every story related to the coronavirus, The Dallas Morning News attaches a widget that directs users to people and organizations in their community who can provide needed assistance.

“We have deployed our widget on DallasNews.com,” Mike Orren, the Morning News’ chief product officer told America’s Newspapers. He added that Vomo, the volunteer platform, provided the code last week (“modeled after ours”) for others to use.

The Dallas-based “social impact platform” Vomo originally created the widget in connection with the Mr. Rogers biographic film, “A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood.” The “Be a Neighbor” widget allows people and organizations to quickly connect with local partners to fulfill needs.

The widget will direct readers to geographically relevant help opportunities.

Newspapers that would like to offer the widget for their COVID-19 related stories can obtain it here: https://www.dallasnews.com/help/product/fwddfw-connects-needs-and-helpers-during-coronavirus-crisis/

Interested newspapers can also contact Orren directly at mike.orren@belointel.com.

Orren said that by Friday the paper had heard directly from about a half-dozen companies, including larger chains.

The widget has been enormously popular from the very beginning, Orren said: “So far, we only have Dallas Morning News traffic, but in 24 hours, we’ve seen more than a million views on the widget and about 500 sign-ups.”

Virtually all of the newspaper’s coronavirus-related stories are outside the paywall on its dallasnews.com site, but it has been a boon for digital subscriptions, Orren said, about doubling the paper's usual volume in the week of March 15.

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