Embracing the social media monster

November 12, 2013

Bob Strickley

PDT Content Manager

Readers by now have noticed more and more mentions of “Twitter” and “Facebook,” and soon to appear in paper near you “Instagram” and “Vine.” Fear not. This isn’t the future invading the present and taking over your morning paper and cup of coffee. These are simply the newest, fastest mediums of information in the digital age.

A while back the Daily Times news and sports writers started listing not only their phone and e-mail contact information at the end of articles, but also their Twitter handles. What is a Twitter handle? It’s a screen name of sorts with an @ at the beginning. What is Twitter? Simply the fastest, most efficient way to stay informed about things you want to know about. There is no fluff because you decide who you want to listen to in your newsfeed. Of course, as a purveyor of all things southern Ohio and northern Kentucky, you will want to follow the Daily Times staff on Twitter.

Two of the better local examples of Twitter’s immediacy was the election last week and the Hudson House standoff last month. The Daily Times’ writers made the latest polling data available instantaneously. The writers covering the standoff described each dramatic step of that 5-hour event.

Is Twitter going to be a long-term Internet social media presence? Who knows. Lots of money was spent on MySpace and it died a gruesome Internet death by abandonment. Everyone thought Facebook would die out, but it hasn’t and hasn’t exactly been as profitable after being publicly traded. Twitter is something of the same animal. No one knows its future. All I know is when I see some news happening, the first thing I do is Tweet about it.

A couple years ago, a close friend of mine recommended I watch the documentary, “Page One: Inside the New York Times.” In that documentary Brian Stelter — an award winning journalist for the New York Times — told his peers he didn’t know why everyone didn’t use Twitter.

The Daily Times news and sports writers also wonder why readers do not follow its award-winning coverage which frequently starts via Twitter(1). The only way to be more quickly informed about breaking news is telepathy, and I haven’t quite figured that one out yet or each of you would have an inexplicable urge to buy 25 copies of the paper everyday.

The biggest drawback of Twitter is the anonymity it can provide if someone so chooses. So being someone publicly identifiable brings with it the need to have thick skin. Bring your worst, I can take it.

Facebook, on the other hand, provides a more colloquial, community-based transference of news. Everyone can discuss a story with each other civilly or, well, otherwise.

The long and short of it is that each of these mediums are more immediate than say a breaking news segment on TV or reading something in the following day’s paper. Frequently, what we do at the Daily Times is break a story via Facebook and Twitter, write a quick draft with the most pertinent information for the website and then have a more extended, detailed piece in the paper. It’s a step-by-step process to keep the reader as informed as anyone in immediate proximity to a breaking story.

It’s a model that has seen some positive feedback from our readers and I encourage you to jump onto the Daily Times’ swelling Facebook and Twitter bandwagons. Hey, plenty of others are doing it. Safety in numbers, right?

One thing I can promise is you will be a well-informed southern Ohio resident if you choose to indulge in all our avenues of information. We don’t do them as a hobby (though some would argue my personal Tweets about pie and Star Wars suggest I enjoy it). We do it because we want our readers to be the smartest people in the room.

On Facebook, search “Portsmouth Daily Times” and give it a “like” to get daily news and even ongoing reader contests we hold at the paper.

On Twitter search “@PDTNews,” give us a follow and you will know every detail as it happens. See a story you want to know more about? Look at the bottom of the article for the Twitter handle of the story’s author.

The Daily Times isn’t just a newspaper. It is a modern newspaper resembling that new smartphone you spent $300 on, but have yet to utilize its full potential. Read the instructions and get your money’s worth.

The delivery of information might have new and foreign methods, but it does make for a more immediately informed reader. We work for you. Get the most out of those in service of you.


(1) Daily Times News Writers Ryan Scott Ottney and Bob Strickley won Ohio Associated Press Media Editors (OAPME) awards in 2012. Ryan Scott Ottney has also been awarded by Ohio School Boards Association and Lifelife of Ohio for his reporting . Daily Times Sports Writer Cody Leist won two awards from the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association (APSWA) in 2012. Daily Times News Writers Ryan Scott Ottney and Bob Strickley were also recognized by the Ohio State Senate for Tremendous Attainment in reporting in 2012.

Bob Strickley can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 296, or bstrickley@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Bob on Twitter @rjstrickleyjr.