Editorial - Newspaper's success hinges on connection with readers, sourcesEmployees here at the Echo Press were excited about winning 10 awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. It’s always gratifying to have one’s professional work praised by peers and it was satisfying to be honored in several different categories again this year – advertising, graphic design, headline writing, website (first place for the fourth straight year) and the page you’re reading now, the editorial page.
Employees here at the Echo Press were excited about winning 10 awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
It’s always gratifying to have one’s professional work praised by peers and it was satisfying to be honored in several different categories again this year – advertising, graphic design, headline writing, website (first place for the fourth straight year) and the page you’re reading now, the editorial page.
But those accomplishments don’t happen in a vacuum. It takes loyal readers like you, along with valuable input from our sources and our reader advisory board, to make this paper a success. Without you, we’d just be whispering in the wind. You’re the ones who give us compelling story ideas, share insights, write us letters to the editor, give us encouragement, set us straight when needed and make us the kind of community newspaper we’re proud to be.
We want – need – that strong connection with local residents to continue. Please keep sending us feedback and story ideas – that interesting hobby you or your neighbor are dabbling in, your own professional accomplishment that we can report in our business section, an upcoming event that your organization is planning, a cool picture that you took that we can print as a “Photo of the Week,” a question you have about something your local government leaders are doing, a letter to the editor, an interesting item for the “Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down” editorial, or any other questions and suggestions.
It’s an exciting time for community newspapers right now. The ability to connect with readers has never been more immediate, convenient and insightful.
Just a couple decades ago, we put out the paper twice a week and then waited for feedback. We’d maybe hear some talk at the coffee shops or get a couple letters to the editor but that’d be about it. Today, thanks to the Internet and the explosion of social media, readers can stay connected to the newspaper and what’s happening in the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can comment on stories instantly, follow our reporters on Twitter, interact with the newspaper on Facebook, read staff blogs or start their own, receive e-mail alerts of big breaking new stories, share their thoughts through our online polls, access online archives of past issues and fire off a letter in seconds through e-mail.
By the same token, the newspaper also has much quicker and clearer insights into how readers are consuming information. We can see which stories are the most read, which ones are drawing comments and questions, if readers are e-mailing stories to others, how many page views our website is getting, key words readers are searching for, and demographics of our readers – information we can learn from and use to improve the newspaper.
The days of waiting and wondering how residents will react to a story are long gone. Now, the connection with readers is almost instantaneous. And that’s a good thing because it makes the connection between the newspaper and readers stronger than ever, helping us achieve our goal: Providing Douglas County readers with reliable, accurate, up-to-date information from a source they can trust.