Social media has transformed the way we communicate. Instead of calling a friend, many of us text message or provide status updates on Facebook and even Twitter these days. I find even myself in the situation where I must check my Facebook and Twiiter accounts multiple times a day to get up to speed with regards to what my friends and my extension, my community is up to.
Local newspapers realize this social media gaining popularity trend. The Topic, our local newspaper this week even went as far as to tell its readers to go directly visit social networking sites to get the latest information. Case in point – a crises at the local High School was in lockdown mode this past week. A suspect was found to be carrying a gun, which sent the the school and the town in a frenzy. The article states that parents took to Facebook to keep everyone in the loop, so to speak. The police said that parents should stay away from the school, and directed the parents to their Facebook page and Twitter account. The South Simcoe police has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and communicates with their followers very regularly.
I have no issues with using social media to convey information quickly, and especially in an emergency. What I find strange is that the local newspaper instead of being a source of the latest information, instead has referred or cannibalized its business by referring them to social media sites. Why not instead communicate with these stakeholders (the police, in this case) and update your web site so that readers can read the latest from the local paper’s web site? I know it was not intentional. The writter wanted to direct their readers to the latest information. Reports quickly surfaced that the suspect was wondering the halls in the school, and was armed with a gun.
By the way, even though I love social media, I also equally love to read local articles the old fashioned way – yes, print media via the local weekly newspaper! Our local newspapers I feel do a great job in keeping us residents "in the know".
Given that our local newspaper has acknowledged the advantage of getting the latest from social media, what role to they play in providing news?