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  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 3 years 40 weeks ago

    Many of the problems we face in community journalism are the same ones our predecessors had to cope with. Reluctant sources, personnel problems, slow ad sales, competition, ethical dilemmas – the problems look different in 2012, but they’re essentially the same old issues re-framed for today’s media world.

    But we do have one unique issue for 2012: Will the next generation of readers read newspapers, or will they even seek out news as we define it, at all?

    So spend a few minutes with these two online articles. They’re talking about young people and where they get – or don’t get – news. And though they take different approaches, they agree that tomorrow’s readers will not approach news the same way our generation has. I remember our saying, a couple of decades ago, that young people may not read newspapers now – but just wait till they get married and have a family and a mortgage. Then they’ll read the paper. And maybe that was true then. No longer.

    Young people frequently think, one of these articles points out, that if something is really news, it will find THEM. And the way it’ll find them is through their social networks.

    What does all that mean for us? At the Center, we do a lot of thinking about that. And while we are not sure about the answers yet, one thing we do know is that it means that every newspaper needs to develop a dynamic social media presence. Social media are not an afterthought – more than 900 million people worldwide are on Facebook, and to be irrelevant on Facebook is to be irrelevant to the lives of many of those readers. And the same goes for newspapers that see Facebook as just another publication platform rather than an interaction with their audience.

    The real question, and the one we’re looking into at the Center, is how to incorporate a social media strategy into the life of every Texas community newspaper. If you can see that your social media strategy is helping you reach new readers and making your newspaper more relevant to your community, we’d like to hear from you. No one has all the answers; we need to look for them together as an industry.

  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 5 years 1 week ago

    Craig Silverman, who wrote the book Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech, says research shows that the most common newspaper errors are misquotes, followed by incorrect headlines, numerical errors, general misspellings, incorrect job titles, and misspellings of names. The one thing that stands out when you look at Silverman’s list is that all are so eminently preventable. And maybe the most egregious is spelling someone’s name wrong – because all it takes is for a reporter to ask about spelling. Most name misspellings are when we assume we know. Someone introduces himself as John Smith, and we assume that’s the spelling, rather than ask – and it turns out he’s Jon Smyth. This Poynter piece on misspelling of names shows why it’s so important, so it’s probably something you should print and distribute among your reporters.

  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 5 years 4 weeks ago

    No state gained more new congressional seats than Texas this year. The Census Bureau has begun the process of releasing information and the first data released is on the populations of the states and the percentage change in that population over the past 10 years. Check out the interactive map that tracks population change, population density and apportionment. And if you find it all confusing, check out this YouTube video on the apportionment process made by the Census Bureau. See also Al Tompkins' Poynter article about how journalists can mine census data for story ideas. You might also want to check out Investigative Reporters and Editors' 25-minute webinar to help journalists make sense of the Census. The webinar costs $5 for IRE members and $10 for non-members.

  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 5 years 23 weeks ago

    Some newspapers and online news sites trying “news cafes” – sending reporters to coffee shops to interact with patrons. The model is a little different everywhere, but basically reporters go into a coffee shop with the permission of the proprietors and set up shop. They write, phone, do interviews. One even has a sign that says “the journalist is in.” The idea is to make the paper and its reporters accessible, to demystify the news process, and to connect with readers. The Poynter story has lots of hyperlinks to various places that are trying this, if you want to get more information on how it works.

  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 5 years 30 weeks ago

    So you heard someone talking about Ruby on Rails and it sounded like a Merle Haggard ballad -- and then you found out it was a Net platform? And you've always wanted a plain-English explanation of SEO, CSS and cloud computing? You're in luck. Poynter has posted a glossary of Internet terms that every digital journalist should know. And even if you don't "need" to know, imagine how impressed everyone in your office will be when you throw terms like metadata and data visualization into the conversation.

  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 5 years 44 weeks ago

    What reader wouldn’t love this? Marlene Skowran’s blog at PoynterOnline shares an idea we should all look at. The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., publishes “topic pages” that aggregate years of news stories. Check this out – no matter what your interest, from local history to sports, you can review lots of news stories with one click of the mouse.

  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 6 years 24 weeks ago

    A what, you ask? My newspaper needs a Facebook strategy? Yes, you do. And the fact that you do is symptomatic of the changes that are engulfing today’s community journalism. This article will take only a few minutes to read, but it overviews the issue, including some ideas on monetizing your Facebook presence.

  • Shared by Tommy Thomason 6 years 29 weeks ago

    So you're wrestling with the issue of charging for your Internet product. Do you want to do it? If so, how much? And if you charge, do you charge everyone, or only those who don't subscribe to your print edition? If that's the discussion around your newsroom, you're in pretty good company; The New York Times is talking about the same thing. This article will show you what the Times has come up with.