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Local journalism > social media

We see the headlines all the time — layoffs here, reduced circulation there — newspapers across the country shutting their doors for good. But amidst those grim tidings on the national level, community newspapers are still going strong and, in many cases, are thriving.

For a local newspaper, social media can be both a challenge and a powerful tool. On the one hand, social media allows journalists to connect to the community and keep a finger on the pulse of what people are saying and doing locally. It allows reporters to share stories, reach a broader audience and instantaneously broadcast important stories to readers. When readers start sharing, the reach for those stories grows rapidly, and sometimes exponentially.

On the other hand, social media has also democratized the flow of information almost to the point of being essentially decentralized. One has to look in 100 different places to find what is happening in the community. Everyone has a voice and an opinion, but the posts shared on Facebook are not verified for factual accuracy. Misinformation can spread like wildfire, and it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

So why bother picking up your local newspaper? Why spend part of your day visiting www.thewashingtondailynews.com instead of Facebook? Here are a few simple reasons:

Factual accuracy — How do you verify what you see on social media? Part of good journalism is doing the due diligence to verify the accuracy of the information that appears in the newspaper or online. Being human, this process is sometimes subject to error, but the Daily News is always happy to set the record straight. When was the last time you saw a correction on Facebook?

Convenience — The newspaper brings so many happenings in our community together in one place. Whether planning your weekend with the community calendar, reading the latest local headlines or checking in on your local high school sports team, it’s all right here.

Community spirit — as a platform, social media can certainly be an avenue to help promote community spirit. However, the social media giants of Silicone Valley are far removed from Beaufort County. As a news organization, the Daily News is committed to and invested in the community.

All this being said, we’re not immune to the struggles facing newspapers across the country. Just as we work hard to cover our community, we can’t do much without the community’s support.

It only takes seconds to post something on social media. If you want that information shared in the paper, take an extra second and tag the Washington Daily News. If you feel passionate about something, send us a letter to the editor. If you’ve got a cool story or a news tip, send 300 words and a photo to news@thewashingtondailynews.com. (It’s really not as hard as it sounds) We’re your community paper, and we want to tell the stories that matter and be a reflection of what’s going on in Beaufort County. We welcome your participation.