Over the last several weeks, I’ve joined a small group of journalists from across the country for the Trust101 course from Trusting News.
Why? Well, first of all, I’m kind of a big nerd and I believe that it’s important to never stop learning. When we stop learning, I think we stop growing and we sort of become closed off to new ideas. I don’t want to be like that. The second reason is because our readers are important and even more important is building that trust with you, our readers, and that’s done in several different ways.
During the last month, our group has had open discussions about a lot of topics — engaging better with our readers, helping readers understand the work we do and why sometimes we write a story the way or do or don’t write another story at all. While the answers to these questions all vary based on a variety of factors, I think it’s important to our readers that at the end of the day our goal is always the same — to educate, inform and entertain by providing a source of trusted news for our communities. So that’s where this next part comes in. I think readers need to know a little more about how that works for you and for our news team.
Journalists have been featured in quite of few movies over the last couple of years and I think those movies sort of feed the notion that we have large staffs who wait for the latest and greatest scandal to hit. That’s not really the case. The truth is, we’re trying to do more with less — less staff that is. Less staff means it’s sometimes difficult to make it everywhere we’d like to be and everywhere readers want us to be. We try, but unfortunately, reporters don’t regenerate quite like worms although sometimes I think it would be nice if we did. We want to be at your event but due to a small staff, it’s just not always possible; however, just because we aren’t there, doesn’t mean we don’t care or we won’t share. Send us your photos, meeting information or other community news. We will make every effort to share that with readers as soon we can.
National media seems to have a gray cloud hovering over it anymore, but your local news media is NOT anything like what you see on TV. We want to write the news our readers care about and because we care about the community and those who live here, we strive to do our best. We are human though and that means we sometimes make mistakes. When we do, let us know and we’ll fix it. We don’t want to spread the wrong information, but if we don’t know that it’s wrong, it’s kind of hard to do that.
That leads me to engagement. We want our readers to be engaged and we offer several ways to do that. There’s the old fashioned letter to the editor for those who still like to put pen to paper although we accept emailed submissions as well. The Times Herald also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter where our readers can interact. And if it’s farm photos and pictures of dogs and cats or IU swimming or basketball, you’re more than welcome to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I can promise you though, outside of my adventures with the Beloved Boyfriend, I’m pretty boring.