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Going deeper into the digital side

November 3, 2013
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

The journalism business has changed quite a bit in the last 12 years. Well, at least let's say the print journalism business has changed in that time.

We still put out newspapers, of course, and will continue to do so for as long as we're able. In the meantime, there is an increase in the digital and online aspects of how we report on our communities.

Multitasking has become a way of life for journalists as most no longer have the privilege of having multiple people cover the same assignment. Where you used to see a reporter and a photographer going to meetings, press conferences and the like, there now often is just the one person, taking notes and pictures at the same time. Throw in some of the more recent instruments in a journalist's toolbelt, and it often is amazing we're able to keep track of anything.

Today's journalists are finding themselves reaching into the digital world more often, racing around to get breaking news posted on the web, posting updates on social media and even filming and editing our own video packages.

The Internet, while once seen simply as a research tool, now is a new avenue for us to promote and enhance our product.

We're constantly looking for new methods and projects, whether it be the aforementioned video or digital copies of some of our special publications.

Our website has developed a great deal over the last decade, adding new features and taking away a few which haven't developed as we'd hoped.

One area in particular is blogging.

It's something I've experimented with at times in the last several months, posting quick thoughts here and there when time has allowed, and I'm hoping to get more worked into it in the months ahead.

I fought the blog for a couple of years, but, ultimately, the blog won. I had always figured "I have my column, why bother putting my thoughts down in another medium."

At the same time, there are those folks that simply only look at our news through our website and the blog is in a more visible spot than this column.

I can make it as short or long as I want, discuss a variety of After all, topics and even include digital links to websites, or post photos and videos; all things I simply am unable to do with our print product.

It even provides a more interactive opportunity as readers are able to comment on the individual posts.

I try not to stick with one topic, much like with this column. Frankly, I just don't have it in me to constantly talk politics or the world's problems. I?need to lighten things up every once in a while. Life doesn't have to be all doom and gloom, after all. There has to be a little bit of sunshine now and again.

Basically, "The Corner Office," (a bit of an inside joke) is a new way to share my thoughts and possibly even give a bit of a glimpse into my life, the events I?cover, the things I see, etc.

I?won't be able to update it every day, or even every week for that matter, but I am trying my hardest to at least get a few posts each month. That in itself can be a challenge, as I sometimes have difficulty even coming up with topics for this column. But, this is the way of the future, as they say.

After all, one of these days, there won't be printed newspapers available anywhere. The only place to get your local "newspaper" will be online, so why not start getting for that point now.

Our current website provides the same local news coverage in our print editions, including community events and local sports. But we also have our social media sites, message boards, the opportunity to comment on the articles, view some video and even purchase some photos through our CU?website.

It's certainly come a long way from our first site, which basically was just an image of each day's front page.

The digital aspects of journalism continue to change, and we are finding ways to change along with them.

There are at least a couple more surprises in the works, which we will, hopefully, be announcing soon.

All in all, it's an interesting time.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

 
 

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