The Union’s losing battle against social media

The internet has changed the way we communicate forever, but The Union is still fighting it. And it’s a losing battle.

“We recently launched The Union NOW, found on the home page of TheUnion.com, in order to quickly share information to our website from our social media accounts,” writes Editor Brian Hamilton in his weekly column.

“Reporters and editors on the scene of an incident can quickly post information through their mobile phones that is published via this portal to all of The Union’s social media accounts. You don’t need to be on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to view the latest information from The Union newsroom — and various other relevant social media efforts.”

Huh? What was left out, however, is that “The Union NOW” does not include all the other content on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram from citizens, competing media and businesses in our community who are posting their own information — unless The Union decides it should be shared on its own proprietary feed.

It is “walled off.”

The Union NOW also touts a “live scanner feed,” but that is not proprietary. It is hosted by Broadcastify.

The Union NOW can never compete with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for content. It’s a ludicrous notion. That battle is over. It would be better off to embrace all social media and ramp up the quality and quantity of its content.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

6 thoughts on “The Union’s losing battle against social media”

  1. When we started CNET News in 1996, we introduced a feature called “news around the web.” It was revolutionary at the time, though it seemed counterintuitive to many “old school” journalists.

    It called for us to link to stories written by our competitors about the same subject we were covering. “WTF? the old school journalists would ask.” For example, if we had an article about Webvan folding (as it did) we would link to the NYT or the WaPost article.

    As it turned out, people didn’t leave our website — they returned. They treated the links like a resource page. We grew News.com to 1 million page views a day. When I was the Editor we won a National Magazine Award. And later, CNET was sold to CBS for $2 billion dollars.

    The lesson that we internet pioneers learned was that the web rewards those who link to others’ content — and don’t “wall off” the material.” Some of the nation’s small community newspapers — trying to hold on to their one-time monopolies — still don’t get that.

    “News[edit]
    CNET News (formerly known as News.com), launched in 1996, is a news website dedicated to technology, and was one of the first news sources to help define technology reporting in the age of the internet. CNET News has won several prestigious awards, including the National Magazine award in 2014.] Content is created by both CNET and external media agencies as news articles and blogs, including Webware (Web 2.0 topics) and Crave (gadgets).” — Wikipedia

  2. On another note, I notice George “Raghead” Rebane is beating up on millennials again with a post: “More on Millennials’ Mini-Minds.”

    I reminded George that the smart and enterprising “millennials” at Ghidotti High in our community recently earned their school a No. 1 ranking in the state for standardized tests. But that doesn’t fit his stereotype. It would be like saying that Rebane’s blog is pollinated with old, white men who like to shout “get off my lawn.” Of course, that would be true.

  3. Well yes Jeff, the way colonization works is that you go in, kill the indigenous families or drive them off and then rename everything in your language so your own families can take over.
    That happened here in, “Oustomah”, the Nisenan name for this place, which was changed to “Nevada City” by the colonizers.

  4. In his column, The Union’s publisher continues to toot the paper’s own horn, belittling the social media reporting on the recent fires, which included first-hand accounts and photographs (including ones that The Union published). I am at a loss to explain this “bunker mindset” except that it sends signals of being defensive and insecure in an era that is reshaping communications. Sheesh!

    1. It’s no different then Trump’s strategy and state of mind…if any “mind” is actually involved. They hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest. The Union and Trump have about the same capacity for self awareness and integrity.

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