Social Media and the Newspaper
Because modern people are in a much bigger hurry to get their information than they used to be, the newspaper is not for everyone. I, myself, have never had a subscription to the newspaper and while I worked there I got it for free. I used it to put a portfolio together for my resume and job interviews. Luckily, people who write and publish newspapers are aware of this fact and probably are in the same hurry for their news to come to them. This is where the internet and social media come in very handy for everyone involved in educating themselves about the world around them.
The Campbell County Observer makes their newspaper available online. It is available immediately for subscribers and a weeks behind for others who want to look at back-issues. A lot of the information, however, is available for all immediately. These would be the classified ads that people pay for as well as public forums and letters to the editor.
Social media is a very important part of, not only, spreading community information more quickly but also helping spread credibility and awareness of the paper itself. Getting people to voluntarily “like” The Campbell County Observer on Facebook is probably the most challenging part because you have to build a fan base. Once that starts to take off, however, the news of family, friends, and relatives having become a “fan” of the page spreads the word of the company all on its own. It is then that we have the power to advertise for our subscriptions, post relevant stories, feature our top employees, invite people to events being held by us or in our community, and stay in touch with our customer fan base.
Having a newspaper is very complicated business for the owners and it takes a lot of effort to get people to invest in it by purchasing space for advertising. So any way that we can boost sales and prove to companies that their ads will be seen is a very important feat. It costs a lot of money for the company to print and distribute and costs companies money to advertise with the paper which makes having the free press of social media all the more important. Being able to “plug” the paper and the people who advertise with us on a very popular site that is offered to us free of charge is an incredible blessing.
Also, having a direct line to our customers both compliments and complaints in a public forum is a benefit. Barbara Fagan-Smith emphasizes the importance of human contact in a technological age. This is achieved very well with comment boards where customers can give direct feedback and communicate with each other about topics and issues, as well. This also gives the owners and operators the opportunity to involve themselves directly with the customers. If they have praises, they post it and everyone will see our positive feedback. However, even if they have negative comments to leave in the public forum it leaves us with the ability to address these problems in a public manner to set a precedence of respect and value to each and every customer which is equally as important.
The internet and social media allow newspapers to do what they never could before and that is reach a much larger demographic of people in a broader area. It also offers news at a much higher speed which, even though is very convenient at times, it means that the entire staff has to be much more on top of their game when it comes to breaking new stories and beating the competition and even word of mouth sometimes. However, introducing social media to an almost obsolete art form is what is, ironically, keeping the newspaper business afloat in a technologically modern world. By keeping up with the times and planning for the future, like Fagan-Smith emphasizes, The Campbell County Observer will always be a relevant news source for our community and continue to grow in spite of the declining numbers in the actual purchase of physical news print papers. Social media was an imperative part in this success.