Alan Riquelmy: Getting people the news
This ain’t your daddy’s newspaper.
Honestly, it hasn’t been for years. Hardly any newspaper is anymore. They’re all online, and not just on some website. News is on social media. It comes at you via podcast. We reach out to you on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Name it, some media organization is on it.
But here, in Nevada County, we want to get the news to you in the manner you want it. For many, that remains a print product delivered to your door.
However, if online analytics are a clue — and they are — you also want your news in the palm of your hand, accessible wherever you are.
And that brings me to The Union Now.
You might have missed this feature on our website. It’s been there for a few years. It was near the top, but over on the right side, gray and somewhat uninviting.
That’s changed. The gateway to The Union Now is now red and blue, offering Fire | Traffic | Breaking News, and inviting the reader to Click For Live Newsroom Coverage.
Click the link and you’ll be brought to http://www.theunion.com/now.
Here you’ll find a police scanner anyone can listen to, along with a constantly updating series of tweets from The Union and its reporters, as well as various government and media sources. You’ll find video coverage here from the The Union and the others, often live.
Combined, what you get is a one-stop shop for real time news — a necessity when in the middle of fire season.
During the Bennett Fire, which threatened the Glenbrook Basin last month, The Union Now received more page views than our story about the fire. That’s not to say the story didn’t get a healthy number of page views. It did. But this information tells you that The Union Now is not just a widget vying for your attention. It’s both a gateway to news and a key to a wealth of information.
Look at the feed on any given day and you’ll see tweets from the National Weather Service, PG&E, Caltrans, Nevada County Elections, and, of course, The Union.
You don’t need a Twitter account, or the app on your phone, to see these tweets. We aggregate them, and put them in this spot for anyone to see. During a normal day you might see all sorts of news, from weather to traffic to a reporter talking about a story they’re working on.
It’s when the fires start that the focus changes. That’s because the various accounts linked to The Union Now, regardless of their focus, will pertain to a fire when it’s happening. The roads might be blocked and there could be wrecks, which is where Caltrans comes in. Smoke will cloud the sky in certain spots, which leads to weather forecasters. The California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement will have information about road closures and evacuations.
All this information is for anybody to find. You can spend the time yourself, hunting down the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, weeding through the evacuation and Cal Fire maps.
Or you could visit The Union Now, see it all displayed before you in one spot, and have the police scanner on as well.
It’s no surprise that the editor of the newspaper is going to plug a feature like this. We’ve got a tool on our website and we want people to use it.
The reason we create features like this, though, is because of you. We think it’s good and that it’ll help people when they need it most.
So give it a try and let us know what you think.
And tell dad, while you’re at it. The newspaper may have changed, but our job of getting people the news sure hasn’t.
Alan Riquelmy is the editor of The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com or 530-477-4249
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My spouse, Mary, is a checkers junkie. Yes, a checkers junkie.