Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Digitally speaking

I don't mean to boast, but have you been following some of the exciting things happening at the Freeman?

I'll dispense with self-congratulations by emphasizing from the get-go that my role has been little more than to give the OK, duck, and get out of the talented and innovative staff's way.

That said, consider (not necessarily in order of importance):

- Our livestreams, such as Tuesday night's first "Freeman Sessions with Stella May" ... a concert and a fundraiser. Then there are the Kingston mayoral debates coming up Thursday and Friday at 11 a.m. (And you get to ask the questions!) We've also livestreamed public meetings at City Hall and the Ulster County Legislature, among other venues. We're talking events as they unfold on our newspaper's website.

- Twitter reporting, such as the "play-by-play" of high-profile proceedings in Ulster County Court, or scholastic track and field competitions.

- News videos. They're all over the website. No longer are we reporting merely with words and still pictures.

- Advertising videos. Pre-rolls, they're called, appearing right before the news videos. And there are other advertising features like "pencil streamers" and "wallpaper" and "blackouts" and Facebook availablities, among a host of others. We're currently boasting over 300,000 unique visitors to our site each month. If you're not getting your advertising message out in front of this crowd, you're missing the boat.

- Reader comments. Our forums are the talk of the town. It's not unusual for our stories to attract upwards of 100 comments a day. If letters to the editor are among the most popular features in print - and they are - look at all the mini-letters on the web, many back-and-forth between the writers, most appearing within a short period of time after they were submitted. Keep it clean, don't libel anyone and sign up with your real name and you're in. I promise you people (including public officials) will read what you have to say.

- Breaking news. How could I forget? No longer do you have to wait for tomorrow's paper to get today's news. We're constantly updating our site with breaking and developing news. And even before the major local news is posted to the site, it's likely to have been texted, Tweeted and Facebooked. If you're not a part of our social network, you should be.

- Blogs. Check them out here. There's quite a variety and we're adding more all the time.

Get the point? It's a digital world and the Freeman is in the middle of it.
And it's only the beginning. Heck, even an old dude like me is excited.