I readily admit that Facebook and Instagram are big parts of my everyday, especially the former. This is not only in terms of my personal life, but my professional life, too.
I always have Facebook up here at the office so I can follow Paul's Scanner, as well as be on the lookout for potential news which doesn't come to us directly. Outside of this, I look forward to that sole gratification of seeing likes and shares on my posts. They show that people are interested in what I report on and do outside of the newsroom.
In my line of work at least, this is called "play." Always anticipating these reactions, though, is a problem with how I see my profession when it comes to #SmallTownPR.
I may sound like a jerk here, but I and the Banner Graphic are not obligated to cover those "soft" stories apart from our beats. However, we will always write about them because we have faith in how they might resonate positively with readers. We want to do them because they can be great non-news stuff about people, ideas and initiatives.
The reality, though, is that we can't be ahead of the social media eight-ball. And it can feel like these opportunities are taken for granted by our readers and partners alike.
Covering the Greencastle firefighters who climbed the stands at Blackstock Stadium last weekend touches on my love-hate relationship with social. I take pride in being part of unique moments like this, and I knew it would make for a great shot. It then felt like my being there was for nothing when I saw them post about it soon afterward.
At first, the interaction my photos got on Facebook was disappointing, to say the least. I think it is fair to surmise that after the fire department had something about it on people's timelines, what I had was no longer "news." I had a similar inclination with my report on the incident at Buzzi Unicem two weeks ago, that it really didn't matter.
What these have in common with other stories is they weren't day-of. But you should know that it certainly isn't — and will never be — for a lack of effort or enthusiasm. This job is about passion, not just for kicks. It's always being excited for a challenge.
I support agencies like the Greencastle Fire Department and local organizations and businesses being in charge of their own PR. This is how they can stay connected to the community and their partners. This is not a call to discourage this communication, but rather to promote it. I want to continually strengthen my rapports as a local journalist.
Social media is a great tool for sharing information, and this staff writer believes the Banner needs to use it just as they do. Though it will be gradual, this will take some modernization. Accuracy and providing the full picture still remain the cornerstones.
We still depend on the connections we have throughout this community as a whole. As for me, all I can do is the best that I can. The effort has to count more than the "likes."