By Kathy Bedell, Publisher Leadville Today
In the ever-changing world of technology, the media has been at the focus of a lot of discussion lately. What’s news? What’s true? How can you trust what you read, especially online?
And there’s no doubt about it: social media affects the way journalists receive, gather and distribute news. In fact, every one of Leadville Today’s platforms utilizes social media, from WordPress which the website is built on, to Facebook and Twitter which help distribute the news to tens of thousands of readers every week.
As Leadville and Lake County’s leading online news and information source, Leadville Today also understands that when it comes to capturing and retaining readers, content is king: good, basic, factual content. That doesn’t mean mistakes aren’t made, but it’s sure a lot easier to correct them in the digital world than in print, which has an extended shelf life.
However, Leadville Today still maintains the traditional vein of journalistic fact-checking, confirming the who, what, why, where, when, and how of a story, being vigilant with AP Style (Associated Press) regarding spelling, grammar, sentence structure; you know, the basics. And while that foundation might bring in loyal readers and have them hang around a bit, today’s users also expect the latest and greatest when it comes to the bells and whistles of technology, so staying relevant and current is also important. To that end, here are some new and growing features readers can expect from Leadville Today in 2017.
Facebook LIVE – While the world’s largest social network initially made its LIVE feature available only to verified pages back in August 2015, Facebook has since made this new feature available to everyone, and baked it into its main mobile app. Since then, users have gotten onboard in a big way, including Leadville Today (LT)!
In fact, LT decided to kick off 2017 with its first Facebook LIVE broadcast which took place at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve from The Scarlet Bar in downtown Lead Vegas! Readers were on board with the idea, lending their support of the effort, but clearly the production value has room for improvement! Get ready for your LIVE close-up, Leadville! Stay tuned for February’s surprise!
Web Cameras – At the top of the Leadville Today request list from our reader’s survey is the return of a Harrison Avenue web camera. Who can blame them? For those who get to see one of Colorado’s most beautiful, historic streets every day, you can imagine how those who used to live here feel, or visitors, or second home owners. They miss seeing their lovely Leadville, it’s the kind of view that can brighter any day or calm a homesick heart!
So prepare to be amazed because, after a few false starts, LT has secured a scenic vista that has access to the electricity and internet access necessary to do the job right. Now the team is down to the job of selecting the best equipment and set up for the web camera(s). We’re half-way through the research, but open to professional opinions and assistance. Feel free to email your suggestions and recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. LT is setting a realistic goal and planning to have things ready for your viewing pleasure by Memorial Day, but hopeful it happens by Ski Joring! And please be patient, LT has a small staff with limited resources.
LT Contributors – One of the most engaging aspects of operating an online news media is how everyone becomes a community reporter. Anyone who has a smart phone or tablet can become a LT contributor! Many Lake County residents have instantly become a LT reporter when they chose to share photos, let folks know about an event, or report an emergency. In fact, they are some of the best traffic reporters you’ll ever meet!
Last year’s initial, more formal contributor meetings in November and December proved that not only are there a lot of passionate people wanting to share their stories, images and video with their community, but they’re pretty talented as well. In 2017, Leadville Today will continue to nurture and build that community of creativity. If you’re interested – and have the time – you can fill out a Leadville Today contributor form HERE.
Newsletter – While most marketing consultants agree that email newsletters lost their mojo several years ago, in smaller markets they still maintain relevancy and typically have higher open rates and response results. This is why Leadville Today will continue sending out an occasionally newsletter. Subscribers will find the LT newsletter to be filled with information not generally found elsewhere, focusing on upcoming website changes, new features and LT advertising deals you won’t find anywhere else. Some of you are probably already on this email list, but if you’re not sure, or want to, you may sign-up HERE.
Search Bar – You may have noticed that LT brought its website search bar to the top of the page.
While it was always available, readers were having a hard time finding it, so now it’s front and center, easily accessible to search for the news or information you may have missed.
Calendar – this simple tool seems to be the most elusive when it comes to community needs. For years, everyone always talked about an all-inclusive community calendar. A one-stop-shop for what’s happening in Leadville and Lake County.
And while that may seem like an easily attainable goal, the gathering and maintenance of such information is more challenging than you think. Of course, the core data is easy to collect. For example, the Leadville Lions have been gathering on Thursdays for their lunch meetings for . . . ever! And many of the core governmental meetings maintain the same schedules, or quickly and legally letting the public know of changes otherwise. However, other community meetings come and go, with nary a word to the public or calendar creators. Countless times LT heard from groups wanting to get an event on the calendar that was going to meet every other Tuesday, only to have their efforts fizzle out in month 6, never to be heard from again. It takes a constant monitoring, checking in with folks to see if they are still doing “their thing”, as well as a far reaching news platform like Leadville Today to actually get the news out to the community. And even then community calendars are a BIG challenge.
But 2017 is the year LT was ready to take the jump. The old-school calendar listing is gone and in its place is a more expanded Google calendar which Leadville Today continues to fill in and match up with other Google calendars from the Leadville and Lake county area. If you’re interested in submitting something for the LT calendar, you may do so HERE.
Mobile Enhancements – Publishing on a WordPress operating system, the Leadville Today news website enjoys the benefits of regular updates and tech improvements, and in 2016 that was all about mobile enhancement. And it was LT readers who let us know that they appreciated the additional plug-ins, allowing them to get more news on the go, in the palm of their hands. Expect to see more of that in 2017! Take Leadville Today with you on the road, on the trails, on the go and share, share, share!
So there you have it, Leadville Today is headed into 2017 with high hopes and lots of new ways to continue to bring readers the latest and greatest when it come to news and information in Leadville and Lake County. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin LLC, a digital media company located in Leadville, which publishes two online news websites: LeadvilleToday.com and SaguacheToday.com. She may be reached at email@example.com.