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Transparent Reporters at The Monitor

The Monitor, a Texas newspaper, is asking their reporters to take a step back from the screen and become more visible.

In an article by Jeff Sonderman on the Poynter site, staff are now attaching Twitter contact info, in their printed edition, under their byline. They are also including their Facebook, phone and email information at the end of each story.

In order to strengthen their social media presence to their 45,000 daily circulation, management and staffers felt this would be the easiest way to do so.

This is similar to a recent New York Times venture. Liz Heron, one of their social media editor’s, tweeted a list of all the NYT reporters that are on twitter. The list was done to help the readers engage with the reporters and see who’s really active on social media platforms.

Their goal is to get more followers and likes on these sites and expand their social media reach. More and more newspapers are becoming well aquatinted with the digital. With the ever changing news cycle newspapers are now being forced to do so. If not, they run with the risk of loosing readership and failing to brand new readers. Therefore, it is imperative newspapers make their reporters more engaged in the views and opinions of their readers.

I’m not sure if The Monitor will be adopting a transparent newsroom , similar to the model the UK based paper ,The Guardian, uses. But I’m certain that elements of reporter/reader relations will have an effect on certain stories written.

Since they are asking older staff, some of who are unfamiliar of the powers of social media sites, to partake in the change, The Monitor acknowledges that this is a risk.

Because many of The Monitor’s reporters began writing before the digital age took over, they felt it vital that reporters are able to discuss their views about the industry. This essentially, makes them more personable and adaptable to readers.

Reporters are often seen as invisible, robotic entities thats sole purpose is to churn out well-written stories in timely manner. But with the help of Twitter and Facebook, staffers are willing to take the plunge. Therefore, this invisibility will more than likely become a thing of the past.

But is this a good thing? Should we allow reporters to become so invisible that their work is conflicted as it becomes more objective?

The article states that some reporters are accepting this as a possibility. But I think some of these reporters are so trained that it will be hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

The Monitor also said that any mistakes made by reporters will be considered as a mistake in this experiment.

There are a few bumps along the road for The Monitor but with practice and help from social media experts it is a great way to maintain a connection to their readers and engage new ones.

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