Greetings from the “all the news that’s fit to print” folks or, as it also goes these days, all the news that gets posted on social media.
Because, for a lot of people, connection to the news content produced by your local newspaper, is made through Facebook, Twitter and, increasingly, Instagram.
And that makes for some misperception of what it is that we do and what it is that you’re reading (on social media, I mean, not literally here in your hands, i.e., this column in print).
As you’re probably aware, all the stories that we print in this physical publication also get published (is that the right word?) on our website. And then the people who write those stories (i.e., Mirror editorial staff) are required to post links to them on our Facebook account. That allows us to alert potential readers that the stories are out there and, hey, why not click on the link and it will take you to the website and you can read the story?
Viewed in a benevolent light, you could say we’re letting you know there’s some interesting news to read. The more analytical of you will recognize it’s an attempt to drive traffic (aka, readers) to our website.
That’s because it supports our website’s distribution method. We are a business after all and we need readers to make it all work. It supports my family, my colleagues’ families and the families of the businesses that advertise on our website and in our publication.
The Facebook posts also include stories from our website that we, here, at the Mirror don’t produce. They’re produced by our corporate colleagues in papers all across the Island and B.C. in addition to material produced by Canadian Press and other sources that cover national and international news.
This is relevant because the Facebook post also allows people to comment on the story. Now, that can be a mixed blessing requiring some policing on our part to monitor legal libel and moderate for good taste.
But I’m not here to talk about libel and taste, that’s pretty straightforward. I want to address the occasional comment left on our Facebook posts dealing with local news.
Occasionally, we get people asking “why are we running such-and-such story? It’s not local. Where’s the local news?”
Well, the local news is where it always is, it’s on the website front and centre but alongside all the material from, as we used to say when I lived in Yukon, “outside.” And it’s in print.
We are not producing any fewer local stories just because our website includes material from all across the country (and the world). Campbell River has never had the experience of being served by a daily newspaper but the kind of coverage included on our website is exactly what you would have found in a traditional print daily. But daily papers are a challenging business these days, shall we say. The website is a product we have to produce in order to survive as a business because many news consumers have shown that’s where they want to be. And the owner of this business and its top managers have decided that’s the strategy they’re going to follow.
You know how much input I had on that strategy, right? Rightly so because they know business better than I. I’ll stick to writing.
Worry not, the print product isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and many people still prefer to hold a newspaper in their hands.
But the comment is made that “I thought this was a local newspaper!” Ironically, that comment is being made on a social media account attached to an electronic website. It’s not a local ‘paper.’
The local paper is what you have in your hands (except those reading this column online) and is delivered to your doorstep.
And it’s all local news.