Monday, March 21, 2016

Daily newspaper connecting with community through social media and technology classes

A daily newspaper in Northern California last year began offering classes to teach the community about social media and technology. The Record Searchlight in Redding (Best Places map) has offered entry level workshops that include a blogging fair to show people ways to start a blog, use social media to promote local businesses, use a smartphone and edit digital photos.

The workshops, conducted through a partnership with a local marketing firm, cost $10, all of which is donated to local nonprofits, reports Media Life Magazine. "While papers these days are trying to squeeze every cent they can from the advertising side, the Record Searchlight saw an opportunity to generate the sort of goodwill that you can’t always put a price on." Michelle Rogers, content editor at The Record Searchlight, leads the project. She told Media Life, “The drive behind offering the workshops is not financial; it’s about community engagement and face-to-face interaction with our audience. We’ve heard that this type of outreach is exactly what the community needs as some segments of the population are behind in embracing and using social media in their personal and professional lives.”

More than 350 people participated in the first 19 workshops, and dozens of workshops are scheduled this spring, reports Media Life. Silas Lyons, the paper’s editor, told Media Life, “We serve a relatively small and close-knit community, and our brand relies heavily on word-of-mouth. This is the kind of project that turns readers into evangelists, and the impact of that positive experience with us ripples out into the broader community. It has helped to create a more receptive environment for both our journalism and our circulation and advertising sales efforts.” (Blogging workshop)

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