News industry changes

Friday, February 24, 2012
Editor Lisa Schlichtman

When the Monett Chamber of Commerce hosts monthly Mix and Mingle events, chamber members in attendance have the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business using a catchy tag line. Recently, I was thinking about how to describe The Monett Times using only a few words, and in going through this exercise, I realized once again how much and how quickly the news industry has changed over the past few years.

Local news remains the driving force behind our newspaper operation. That hasn't changed and won't change, because that is our franchise. As Monett's community newspaper, we specialize in news that focuses on what matters to the people who call this town and the surrounding area home. Our reporters and photographers are writing news and capturing images you won't find anywhere else, and that is why it is vitally important that the local newspaper remains healthy and viable.

To stay competitive, we have embraced the latest technology and expanded our news delivery system. Our website has been revamped to provide our readers with the 24-hour access to news they now expect. We used to break all news stories in the print edition first. That is no longer the case. We now post breaking news stories immediately on our website if events occur outside of our print schedule. If we break a story online, we follow up with a more detailed and comprehensive retelling of the event in our print edition.

The content of our website is also evolving, and we are constantly working to make www.monett-times.com more interactive and engaging. In addition to posting the stories and photos that appear in our daily newspaper, we are also developing exclusive online content. Since we take more photos than we have room to publish in the print edition, our photographers upload hundreds of photos from the events they cover into our online photo galleries. We have also begun promoting special online contests, such as the fall football contest, a Cutest Couple contest and our new Nascar contest.

In the past year, we have also begun utilizing social media tools to further strengthen our connection with the community. We have a Facebook page and our sports reporter is on Twitter. These methods of communication allow us to reach a different demographic and give us a way to send out short news updates and reminders quickly to a large audience.

It's an exciting time to be in the news business, and I can assure you The Monett Times is making every attempt to stay on the cutting edge of all technological advances so you can get the local news where, when and how you want it.

So at the next chamber Mix and Mingle, I will use a new tag line -- "The Monett Times: Reinventing the way local news is delivered."

And as always, I welcome your feedback and input as we make changes, because ultimately, this is the community's newspaper. Feel free to email me with ideas and suggestions at editor@monett-times.com, or drop by for a visit. My door is always open.