Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, April 06, 2009

CityBeat takes heat from Enquirer over Twitter article

Last Wednesday, CityBeat reporter Kevin Osborne wrote a lengthy piece about how the Enquirer plans to address its financial and identity problems, problems many newspapers are experiencing as a result of internet users accessing free content on the Web. Osborne reports The Enquirer has come up with a solution, a new “social media strategy” that will be the centerpiece of its “plan to reinvent itself for the Digital Age” as “was outlined in a recent 25-page memo by Social Media Editor Mandy Jenkins distributed to editors at The Enquirer and its sister publication, CiN Weekly.”

The plan, according to Osborne, will “rely on unpaid labor to fill gaps in its news and entertainment coverage, make better use of the Facebook social networking site, require staffers to use Twitter to provide frequent updates about what they’re doing and create a Web site for news without The Enquirer’s name to lure readers who don’t like the newspaper.” But this is what really caught our eye: “Newspaper managers will ask some longtime independent local bloggers if they’d like to link their blogs to The Enquirer’s network in exchange for advertising help…the newspaper wants to align itself with independent bloggers as part of its “blogger pull plan.” The strategy is to offer bloggers “links and prominent placement (in story spots, section fronts) in exchange for a partnership.” Not surprisingly, this blog was not on the list of local blogs The Enquirer plans to contact for its network, but that’s okay because we have a prominent and treasured placement on the Norwood Star’s website. What could be better than that?

“Blogger pull plan“ aside, who among us thinks The Enquirer’s plan for its reporters to increase their use of Twitter for frequent updating is going to help solve their problems? With recent tweets they've offered like these, “That man who died after driving his car the wrong way on I-71 was from Elsmere,” “Glutton for all things parks!” and “Happy spring everyone," we could use some help understanding what possible journalistic value Twitter will have for The Enquirer. Anyone? Is Citizens for a Better Norwood missing the boat by not having a Twitter account? Frankly, the idea makes our eyes glaze over, but maybe we’re simply too old to get the significance of this new craze and how it might revive the newspaper.

Apparently, The Enquirer editors aren’t too old to get it because the day following Osborne‘s piece, some of them Twittered their objections to it; and the day following that, Osborne published this third piece with his response to Mandy Jenkins’ complaints about his article. We can hardly wait for his fourth installment of this ongoing saga.