People like penguins wearing jumpers

|| June 5, 2014

Never underestimate the power of community news - especially when it delivers a popular story about penguins wearing jumpers.

The insightful Share Wars team has found an Australian story that has been shared more than 600,000 times - a call for people to knit jumpers for penguins recovering from oil contamination.

The ABC Radio piece describes how recovering penguins in Victoria need the jumpers to keep them warm and ensure that they don't continue to clean oil from their bodies with their beaks.

The story even contains a link to a knitting pattern for the jumpers.

The Share Wars team analysed the story and found that it ticked some of the most powerful boxes when it comes to popular share elements featuring animals acting like humans, interest groups and a call to action. 

The penguin story was traced back to Melbourne's Leader community newspapers. This is an underrated element of news coverage because community news articles - once only seen within their small distribution networks - have been propelled more widely through the popular websites of their parent companies.

Many of the community newspapers had their own websites shut down during a rationalisation by major publisher News Corp. Some of those local papers' online news feeds are now channeled through the major News masthead within their regions, adding interesting content. 

The penguin story is a reminder that shareable stories are often the ones you talk about at barbecues and dinner parties. With many people craving light relief among busy schedules, penguins in jumpers hit the jackpot.