Wednesday, I sent a note to editors around the state asking them if there’s something new in the last three to six months that they’ve tried. The request actually came from Jennifer Nelson with the Reynolds Journalism Institute who is working on an article about some of the new things newspapers are trying.
Within minutes, I had the response. It came from Alan Gibson at the Clinton County News in Albany. And it proves that technology is available and usable not just for corporate-owned and larger newspapers, that with a little bit of effort family-owned weeklies can have a big impact on their communities.
Here’s Alan’s response that I’ve passed along to Reynolds Journalism Institute:
“We did something last month that we had never done, and we haven’t actually repeated it simply because we haven’t had a reason to. Our recent wet/dry vote (we voted dry – go figure) was of course a special election that pitted the churches against drinkers/retailers and it created of course the typical buzz that it does in every small community. During the vote tabulation, while I was assuming the same chair I have for the past 30 years in the clerk’s office, Brett, who is also always there to shoot the typical “tabulators at work” photo, asked me what I thought about “going live” with the count on Facebook.
“Going live then was something relatively new to Facebook, so I told him to get the wifi pass from the Judge/Executive’s office and give it a shot. It went viral that night as word spread we were doing this. We covered the entire tabulation process and as the social media word spread, the views continued to increase as the election officials continued to bring in the machine totals For several days, I heard from people who told me how much they enjoyed it and many said they even told their relatives and friends who were living elsewhere and messaging them about the results, that the CCN was broadcasting live. I know some readers had kids living in Florida who were watching. Didn’t make us any revenue, but did give us some good footing in regards with community service.
“At one time, Brett said there were over 800 people watching the actual live broadcast and eventually there were over 12,000 people who had viewed it.”