Editor: social media broadens, doesn’t replace, traditional reporting methods

The Register Citizen
Working in an “open newsroom” means getting earlier and better input from the community when planning news coverage, writes Kaitlyn Yeager.

Yeager, the community and digital engagement editor of The Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., rebuffs the notion that the paper’s invitation for readers to visit the newsroom, and even sit-in on editorial meetings, is an abdication of journalistic standards. (Joy Mayer examined that line of questioning earlier this week on the Reynolds Journalism Institute blog.)

Instead, Yeager argues that the open-door policy is an extension of the paper’s social media efforts and supports the efforts of the paper’s professional journalists:

“In ‘traditional’ journalism, the chain of command would be that a reporter receives a tip via phone, mail, or e-mail, then contacts a few ‘official’ sources for comment, and publishes a story.

“In reality, our current methods are much the same, just broadened. Instead of collecting tips when people are concerned enough to call them in, we’re collecting tips as things happen by making the public aware that we’re listening via Twitter, Facebook, chats during our newsroom meetings, comments, etc., as well as traditional methods.”

Yeager admits the paper, owned by the Journal Register Co., does not have all of the answers, saying it is a challenging time for journalists:

“We’re still learning, just like our readers are still learning. The most important part is that we’re learning with our readers, not separately.”

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