Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Donuts and social media

An Anderson, Indiana, baker has a Facebook page and benefits from cross-promotion from the city-sponsored FB page in this post:

“We stopped by Deluxe Donuts today, on Scatterfield Road. Jim Pancol started the family business in 1969 and they've been going strong ever since. Now three generations of the Pancol family work there, where son Lee is the owner. Mr. Pancol is seen here putting the sprinkles on cookies. Yes, they sell cookies too (and delicious muffins!). #‎Andersoncomfortfood”

The journalism instructor in me loves this — more uses for the skills we teach our students every day.

But I also wonder if this isn’t a hint at a new organizational structure / workflow for local online content: The possibility of “newsrooms” of young writers and photographers who serve groups of businesses.

Instead of each entity - the donut shop, mayor’s office, car-repair place, etc. - having someone responsible for their posts, a local agency or group of content creators could shoot photos, do write-ups and otherwise produce the work.

I know this is happening with larger agencies in PR and advertising. How might it work in small and medium-size communities?

I’m sure we’re headed that way. If you’ve seen examples, please share. This model turns the traditional idea of a newsroom on its head, and leaves out the accountability part of the current model in which independent observers are watching school boards, the city council, and so forth.

But it could also be a midpoint in the evolution of content. Maybe these new groups of producers, once they establish business lines of support by “covering” companies for social media, will turn to accountability journalism as a public service, loss-leader, audience builder. And this is a natural for newspapers to tackle.

Again, maybe there are examples of this and I’ve missed them. Let me know!

- John

(Photo: Deluxe Donuts, Anderson, Indiana)

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