Social Media and the Newspaper

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.


8 thoughts on “Social Media and the Newspaper”

  1. Hi Keary!

    Thanks for your blog. As someone who used to work in news and journalism, and as someone who served on the staffs for both her high school and undergraduate school newspapers, I was interested in your topic, “Social Media and the Newspaper.”

    It’s so interesting but yet so sad that hard-copy newspapers are slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur. I don’t think we can deny that. Newspaper Death Watch is an actual site DEVOTED to this very topic. Take a look:

    I really only have one question for you: is there a reason you chose not to include images in this blog? I do think the inclusion of at least one image would bring so life to your piece. I just now went to Google images, and there are so many you could use.

    Otherwise, nice job.


    1. Keary,
      I remember as a boy delivering the afternoon edition of The San Francisco Examiner back in the 1980s which was absorbed some years ago by The San Francisco Chronicle. After reading your blog, it took me back to that time when the world was void of social media-Thank you! News was slow, and the reading relied on the paper’s integrity. Today, you point out that the survival of newspaper companies rely on their social media exposure. I so agree. When you said, “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.” It got me thinking. Does the Observer, The Chronicle, and other newspaper companies must report news in a Facebook or YouTube manner? Meaning, is news reporting still creditable? Or do newspaper companies just use what’s “trending” as their definition of news? At the same time, who is to say newspapers companies before social media were not already reporting on what was trending? I think it is great that, “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.” However, I wonder as to the validly of the journalism practices that constitutes “News” in this social media world. Thank you for you blog.


  2. Hi Keary,
    I tend to forget that newspaper’s have websites that are taking over for the printed version. I guess my family is more old school when it comes to the paper. I found your use of the term “customer fan base” very apt when it comes to any corporation’s social media page. Due to the nature of the (social) media connecting them they are fans (or friends, etc.) but the corporate nature of the information also means that the readers are also customers. Thank you for this term it really sums up for me the interactions between people and businesses across social media.


  3. Keary,

    Your blog is so well written. Your main ideas punch out nicely right at the beginning of each paragraph, and there is a nice balance of focus for each idea, which makes for a nice rhythym to your writing. It is so refreshing to read after plugging through tons of research papers!

    Oh, newspapers have such nostalgia. The rustle of the paper, sitting down with a paper at a breakfast paper, the feeling of holding a sort of time capsule. It is convenient and much better for the environment to get more communication happening online or electronically but I wonder if paper will ever truly be obsolete.

    I think your strongest point and the one that I’m most appreciative of is, as you mentioned, how electronic media allows information to reach a much wider demographic. Essential for healing and rebalancing the disparity rampant in our modern world. We are all more conscious of each other globally as a result.



  4. Hi Keary,

    I have been recently hearing some ideas regarding online newspapers. It is interesting to hear from the perspective of someone who actually worked at a newspaper. I remember when my high school began their very first magazine we used advertising space in order to fund the production of the magazine. So I know first hand how advertising is crucial to the production of magazines and newspapers.

    I actually today watched a comedic video by comedian John Oliver on the subject of native advertising and how embedding certain advertisements or media forms within online newspapers can seem misleading. It made me realize how careful newspapers have to be when incorporating advertisements into their online formats. I also found it interesting how this form of advertising has been around for so long and we as consumers have never really considered it or do not really consider it.

    Thank you for an interesting discussion!


  5. Keary,
    What a nice piece of writing. I was struck with how well organized your blog is, which I assume is because you know your job at the newspaper very well. I was particularly impressed that the Campbell County Observer posts positive and negative comments on the social media sites so that it can deal with customers in a public manner, providing a community forum of sorts. Local newspapers do offer a unique service to their communities in reporting the local news and connecting people. Maybe newsprint newspapers will die out sometime in the future, but that same thing has been said about video and film, books and the Internet, but I wonder if we will just see some expansion into the online world, like the Campbell County Observer did, and simultaneously maintain the printed paper. My husband still reads the printed newspaper in addition to digital magazines.

    Thanks for an insider’s view of local news.



We appreciate your comment on this blog post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s