Friday, February 1, 2013

Your newspaper? Now, it's your multi-platform news source

As the news business changes and evolves from print to web to mobile publishing, we are changing, too.
One of the changes in recent years has been opening our doors to the public and sharing with readers the insights and analysis of our own work.
That's a two-way street. We also now solicit feedback on issues of interest on Facebook and in other ways to bring the voices of the audience into our reporting.
We've come a long way from "call 323-3000 with your news tips" to "like us on Facebook."
As we continue on that path, we want to share more of the work that goes on behind the scenes in reporting and editing the stories of your community.
Beginning Monday, we're going to make available our reporters to answer questions about the story behind a photo, or the background of a story or the thinking behind an editorial opinion.
You can ask the SoundOff editor why a comment wasn't used or the Opinion page editor how to get a letter printed.
You can ask a reporter how they learned that a car was in the creek or a photographer how he got that amazing sports action photo.
Although we accept criticism, we want this to be more than a gripe session. We hope to let you, as our loyal readers, see what goes on behind the scenes in our reporting. We want to turn back the curtain, so to speak, particularly on the evolution in our industry that is pushing us daily toward new frontiers.  
We'll take questions via Facebook, Twitter, email, Google+, or our website, and we'll answer via  video posted on our website and Facebook.
Our plan is to expand the answer sessions into conversations through Google hangouts or Skype.

We also are making some changes in our Community Media Lab, which is currently open to the public during certain hours every day.
The Community Media Lab is a resource we make available to the public for small group meetings, free Wifi, use of three computer labs for blogging or research and a newspaper archives to view past issues of The Mercury going back to 1931.
Instead of limited hours, we are now making the lab available to the public when you need it. To use our lab for research or for a small group meeting, call and schedule a time, or stop in at our front desk.
In addition, we will be open for anyone to walk in one day a week, every Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just stop by, and our computers and our resources will be available for your use.

Diane Hoffman, community engagement editor, will be happy to assist you in using our archives or arranging a time for a meeting. You can also meet with Diane about how to start a blog or what you can do to get news of your group's events published on any of the platforms we offer, including the newspaper.
We have a library of books you can borrow, for free, and coffee for $1. It's a good space to come in out of the cold.
We want the Community Media Lab to be a resource for Pottstown and the surrounding area to use as a way to interact with us.
Your newspaper is now your website, your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, and your source of breaking news on your phone or tablet.
Times are changing, but what hasn't changed is our commitment to you, our audience.
Keep in touch.