The KPA President’s Column
By Sharon Burton, Adair County Community Voice
We can probably all agree that the last thing we need is another way to electronically communicate.
Between email, texting and social media apps, it’s difficult to keep up.
But what if you have an avenue in which to communicate that limits communications to important conversations that affect you? That’s what Kentucky Press Association hopes to do with slack.com
(SLACK stands for Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge.)
KPA is using Slack as a way for newspaper people to communicate about newspaper issues. It won’t be active every day. It will be active when it’s needed. It will only be successful if we all participate.
There are already threads designated for editors, postal topics, and sports. The thread that will be vital for our industry in upcoming months is “legislation.”
In recent years we have seen attempts to remove public notices from newspapers and legislation that chips away at our open records laws. Our attorneys advise us that the 2022 legislation session could witness a full-on attack.
We need to be ready. We need to be proactive, but we need members of our industry involved in the conversation.
Forrest Berkshire, editor of the Kentucky Standard, suggested Slack during a board conversation about improving communications among our members. My first thought was probably what many of you thought: I don’t need more ways to get information, I need fewer.
Turns out, I was wrong. After Forrest showed us how he uses Slack to communicate with his staff, I realized the benefit. He even shares a PDF of pages with his team. We all love the opportunity to have another set of eyes on a page before the ink hits.
For us, Slack has become a tool for me to communicate with my staff, too. My favorite thread is “news-budget,” which allows the newsroom (including key freelance writers) and production to stay informed on what is in the works for the week and what will go on the front page, etc. It has definitely improved our efficiency.
If you are in the newspaper business or interested in protecting our open meetings and open records laws, that reason alone is reason enough to download Slack and get involved.
I suggest you find ways to use Slack in your office. That way, it’s open and ready to go when KPA or our members need your attention. Get involved in slack.kypress.com and set your settings so you get notification when something is posted.
If you expect Slack to be active on a daily basis, you will be disappointed. As someone who went through over 1,000 emails one day this week (I get behind, then I give up) I really don’t need another place to get information that I don’t want on an hourly basis.
I do need a place to communicate with our members and anyone interested in our industry. Slack can do that for us.
Get your sports staff to sign up and then newspapers have a place to go to share photos and articles for away games. Managers can ask questions such as, “Have you converted to a VOIP phone system and if so, what’s your opinion (free advice: might want to ask the sales department about experiencing dropped calls instead of just management who is enjoying the savings).
We have the account set up as a free account. It will tell you that your trial period is over. At this point, we are not using Slack in ways that would require a paid account, so ignore the messages and remain on the free version.
KPA’s Slack version available for the entire staff of your newspaper. If anyone has ever wished they could have a conversation with other newspaper people about anything from production questions to national postal issues, this is the place to make that happen. Download Slack and send a request to https://slack.kypress.com/ so you will be ready for some important conversations coming up about our industry.