Over the past week, I've had a lot of fun watching the reaction on people's faces when I tell them the Journal just went up a day in print publication. Many people react as if I told them Elvis Presley is alive and well and will be performing at the Turlock Community Theatre next week. While the extreme surprise is a little offensive, I also understand.
The newspaper industry is little more than half the size it once was. Around the country, longstanding papers are closing up shop or moving to a digital-only format. The ranks of my fellow print journalists are dwindling yearly, and we will soon be a rare breed.
What many people don't realize, however, is that the demand for news coverage has increased exponentially. We are living in a global community, where friends and family members half way around the world can stay up-to-date on every birthday, job change or dinner selection through social media, smart phones and email. This desire for instant knowledge gratification has extended to include the community at large.
People want to know why hundreds of Turlockers have suddenly decided to wear pink every day to work. Residents and visitors to our fair city want to know what officials are doing to fix the pot holes that plague many streets. When the power goes out and doesn't come back on for three days, people want to know why. All of these things, and more, are available in your community newspaper.
Along with keeping up with every elected body in Turlock and the surrounding areas — attending meetings, covering elections, informing the public on policy changes — the newspaper is also still the official record of the families that make up this community. Births, deaths, marriages, accolades and tragedies. Many family Bibles are filled with carefully cutout clips from the Journal that will be passed down from generation to generation.
While I still firmly believe in the value and service of the traditional printed newspaper, I'm also very excited about the new ways we, as journalists, can tell a story.
When breaking news happens, the Journal can simultaneously send out information on Facebook and Twitter, post a photo on Instagram, and put a preliminary report on our website, and then send out an email blast letting our followers know something of importance has occurred in their community.
Social media is good for getting the word out quickly, but we're also telling stories in a whole new format.
The Journal recently ramped up its multimedia content, and we're only getting started. Using video to tell a story gives our audience a different view on an issue. Seeing the commitment and passion when Relay for Life organizers talk about the importance of raising funds for cancer research adds a new dimension to an event story. Watching the dedication of the Public Safety Facility highlights the historic significance of the new downtown location for Turlock's police and fire departments.
This week we launched the Wednesday Night Blitz, a video segment that highlights local high school football teams. The show gives you all the action of Friday night football, without having to find parking at Joe Debely Stadium!
Through all the technological changes and formats, the core of what the Journal provides is still the same — news, sports and community information.