Tag Archives: local news

Facebook Tips for Newsrooms

Do you mange a Facebook page for your newsroom? FB explains in this video how to post updates from a mobile deviceUpdating Your Facebook Pages via Facebook Mobile.

Facebook is a conversation platform, not just a distribution platform. Many news sites post links. The sites that ask questions, use FB for reporting, and respond to comments are building community even faster.

What prompts or content attract reader engagement on Facebook? What topics do well? Local geography consistently attracts readers. 

Did you know …? or Where is this … ? features in print, on a site and on Facebook will stir discussion.
Example: From the CantonRep.com page on Facebook, a short post about a slice of history that sits on a main street in a nearby town, the house where Edison courted the woman who became his second wife (he taught her Morse code so they could communicate in secret): five likes, one comment.
Example: Where is this clock? (TheDailyPelham).

We want to meet you

Announce regular office hours in a neighborhood coffee shop:
Use a Facebook poll to ask readers if they will come to a local fair (and visit your booth)

Spot traffic news

Facebook comment update: Users on pages that use Facebook markup language for a FB module will be able to comment more easily:  http://on.fb.me/qJngWj

From Vadim Lavruski of FB: "The dialogue box that enables a user to add a comment to their Like on a site is now sticky. Before it only appeared if you hovered over the button. This means it will be easier for users to add an additional comment to their Like."

Who to follow?

More tips available from Columbia J-school's Sree Sreenivasan's page, including this list of 10 signs you are becoming a Facebook addict.



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Filed under Social networking

Wanted: Managing Editor to Build 35-Person Westchester Team

A year ago, I posted a note about the need for Swiss-Army-Knife Journalists, multi-media reporters and editors who can use a range of skills to collect, process and distribute high-value information.

In 2011, more candidates than ever are walking into newsrooms with digital experience. Even more crucial, they are arriving with a digital attitude — the knowledge that they will use a variety of tools and platforms to gather and disseminate news and other information. Two foundations of that attitude: continuous innovation and continuous improvement.

Two months ago, I joined a digital startup company, Main Street Connect, that has developed a proven model for local coverage. We are ready to expand from our base in Fairfield County, CT, into Westchester County, NY.

In the next few days we will be posting an opening for the editor who will lead that expansion: A Westchester Managing Editor who will build a 35-person news team and use our demonstrated success to start dozens of new local news sites. The posting:

We're Main Street Connect – the leading innovator of hyper-local online news. This dynamic online local news team seeks an energetic Westchester County Managing Editor to lead the company's expansion into one of the most vibrant local news environments in the U.S.

Successful applicant will:

* Have a strong journalistic background
* Demonstrate deep experience with online news, social media, and SEO
* Report directly to the national managing editor, Carl Lavin.
* Receive generous benefits and equity

To apply:

Send resume, cover letter, and clips to editorial.careers@mainstreetconnect.us, subject line: Managing Editor.

Our company

Main Street Connect (www.MainStreetConnect.us) is a fast-growing, web-based, start-up media company with 10 online news sites already up in Fairfield County, CT. This is an opportunity to be a part of building the next great American digital media company.

Visit our sites:











Learn about our company online at www.MainStreetConnect.us.


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Filed under Hyper-local

Shining A Light On Government

Anthony Dixon grew up in Montclair, N.J., the town where my wife and I raised our children. Anthony later joined the military and was in a transport vehicle in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded. Shrapnel pierced the floorboards, killing the 20-year-old soldier. When I was deputy managing editor for news at the Philadelphia Inquirer, we published an investigation showing that too little armor protected military vehicles in those years. Our reporters tracked down proof that steel companies in Pennsylvania and vehicle assembly lines in Ohio operated as directed by the military on a normal schedule, with weekends off, even while Pentagon officials were saying they were doing everything they could to safeguard the troops.

One order from Washington, one more shift at the assembly plant, one more armored vehicle in Baghdad, and Anthony would be alive today. Lawmakers, families and military officials read our articles and changed policies. Today, troops in the field are better protected.

Nothing can bring about positive change more quickly than quality journalism. Journalism is also the sector of our economy undergoing the most profound disruption. While others may lament the uncertainty and the erosion of incumbent business models, the same technologies that have been so disruptive also provide new opportunities —  opportunities for more people than ever before to use more powerful tools to create and distribute quality journalism.

A friend and neighbor, Steve Engelberg, spoke recently about his work as managing editor of Pro Publica, the non-profit newsroom based in New York that produces powerful investigations that serve the public. Steve talked about the intense data crunching that produced Dollars for Docs, a single database that lists doctors who received a total of $258 million from drug companies promoting pharmaceutical sales. Is your doctor on the list? Now you can find out with one click

Steve noted a stark example of what happens when news organizations are not providing scrutiny. He discussed the case of city employees in Bell, Calif., who were each paid many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in salaries. Eventually, two reporters at the Los Angeles Times, Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives, uncovered the sky-high payments and a web of corruption in the town. No community newspaper revealed the story for the simple reason that there was no community newspaper in Bell.

Terry Francke, an open government consultant, described the long decline in his article, Why the Bell Scandal Happened and What Can Be Done:

These multi-community publications attempted to be the same watchdogs over local councils and school boards that their individual predecessors had been but were spread far more thin.

The former Industrial Post (last known as the Community News) went through several chain companies' hands until disappearing as even an independent name. And whatever close coverage of local news it had into the 1990s has been gone for the past decade.

Some newsrooms are taking an important step and developing ambitious goals for local coverage, with rollouts planned nationally by Patch and MainStreetConnect, state efforts from Oregon to Texas, and more focused efforts dotted across the nation, from Philadelphia to San Diego

Then there are the tools, new software that citizens can use to pinpoint problems in their own communities. Companies that offer such tools include CitySourced and SeeClickFix. Outside the United States, I Paid A Bribe is just one website that puts similar tools in the hands of people who want better government. President Obama praised that site during his trip to India this month. 

Even the most ordinary acts of government have an extraordinary impact on the lives of ordinary people. With the right vision and tools, journalists can continue to shine a light on these actions. One way to pay tribute to Anthony Dixon is to make sure that light shines brightly.



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Filed under Business models, Crowd sourcing, Hyper-local, Web/Tech