The water’s fine

“There’s nothing the matter with the water except all the sewers empty into it.”

The Salisbury Post is all a-Twittered

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My internship at The Salisbury Post ended last Wednesday. I came courtesy of the Peggy Allen community journalism scholarship through the J-school at UNC, and I had a wonderful summer working at the Post. I couldn’t have hoped for more. My time there made me further appreciative of the type of journalism community papers provide.

The newsroom wanted to hear from me about the future of journalism and what I learned at the editors conference I went to at UGA in July, so we brown-bagged it and talked shop during lunch. 

I don’t think anything I talked about was particularly revolutionary. I talked about tools journalists are using to help them with their work – RSS readers, Twitter, social networking sites, SproutBuilder, Dipity and a few others. I talked about my goal for the DTH – buying multimedia kits with audio recorders, microphones and Flip video cameras for reporters to use. 

I couldn’t have been happier with how the conversation went. It was the perfect example of how newsrooms can utilize those with different skill-sets to teach others within the newsroom. As an intern, the reporting and writing skills I learned from watching and working with these journalists couldn’t have been beaten. And they can learn from the technological skills I have as a 20-year-old. 

All around the table were journalists who recognize the industry is changing and who want to learn the online skills now needed. There were no curmudgeons at this table. 

After lunch, the Post’s online coordinator, Brad Thomas, and I helped nearly everyone in the newsroom set up a Twitter account. I helped Managing Editor Frank DeLoache set up his Google Reader with RSS feeds. Sports editor Ronnie Gallagher set up a Facebook account.

The atmosphere in the newsroom was electric. Everyone (@frankdeloache, @kathychaffin, @RonnieGallagher, @gayparee and @DeirdreBPS) spent the rest of the afternoon updating Twitter and learning how to use it. I tried to answer questions best I could, and I promised I would type up a glossary of Internet terms and programs they can use. Brad even created a Twitter account for the paper itself. 

It’s only been a few days, but they’re still using their accounts. They’ve even gotten other Post staff to set up accounts. I’m really excited to see as they realize what I realized earlier – how helpful Twitter can be, and the sense of community it creates.

And it’ll help us keep in touch now that I’m back in Chapel Hill, where I’ll spend this year as managing editor for print at The Daily Tar Heel. I’m looking forward to the year and watching the paper grow under Editor Alli Nichols.

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Written by Sara Gregory

10 August 2008 at 10:03 pm

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