Social media has done a lot of great things for newspapers. It allows us to share content to a wider audience, be alerted to problems faster and keep readers up-to-date on breaking news.
However, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t allow us to reach out to our readers the way an average person would on social media.
Our policy at the Independent Collegian is to foster open discussion online, which means staying out of any conversation that takes place, even comments directed at us. We choose not to participate to avoid posing any bias and allowing anyone and everyone to participate in an open forum conversation.
That doesn’t mean we don’t see your comments; we just can’t respond. So, we are using our own platform to respond to comments we usually see on our social media.
We are a weekly paper.
This means that any stories we post on social media run in our weekly Wednesday print edition and then go to our website and social media accounts. When you see stories that seem a little out of date, it’s because they ran days before you’re seeing them.
This is especially true with sports stories that happen over the weekend and then are not posted on social media until later in the week. All content is always up-to-date on the website as well as on our sports and regular Twitter accounts.
Because we are weekly, we stagger out content throughout the week.
Would it be more irritating to see a story on Friday morning that was put on our website Tuesday, or to see 9-15 Facebook posts from us in the span of an hour? We think we know the answer, which is why we make the choice each week to stagger our content as it goes online.
Everything that goes in the print edition is always online by Tuesday nights, but we can’t push all of it on social media at the same time. Telling us content is late, or that it’s old news, is not something we don’t know.
The stories are often timely when they print during the week, but because they aren’t being pushed on social media right away they give off the impression of being late. Again, we suggest checking out the website every Wednesday morning for the most up-to-date content we can have.
There are things we would love to do but can’t.
We have received a lot of suggestions about things to write through Facebook comments and tweets. A lot of them have been helpful, but some are recurring and are ideas we have been trying to do for a long time.
For instance, writing features on student-athletes. We would LOVE to do this and have been trying to set up a way to for years. However, the University of Toledo Athletic Department has a tight hold its athletes, and we are often denied the opportunity to speak to them individually outside of the department and only on designated days and times. We are often are not allowed to speak with them without a communication professional also in the room.
We are also not capable of writing about any ongoing Title IX cases.
It is against journalistic ethics to name the victim of any violation of Title IX, and it’s also our responsibility to preserve the innocence of the accused until they are proven guilty. We can give updates to what information the university releases, as well as information once the case is closed.
To do anything more breaks the law and our own moral compasses.
We are also not physically capable of covering any events we are unaware of or any organization who does not do anything on campus (that we know or are made aware of.)
This one seems like common sense, but we have received a lot of comments in the past demanding an explanation as to why we covered X but didn’t cover Y and Z. The answer is always that we didn’t know.
On the same note, it is impossible for us to investigate any problems if we are not told about them and no one is willing to go on record to tell us what they are. We need proof to back up anything we say; we are a newspaper, after all.
If you want us to know that you almost died in an elevator in U-Hall and think we need to investigate it, you have to be willing to say it in print. Or to point us in the direction of someone or something that will.
We ask that if you have any ideas for stories, events you want us to cover, organizations you want us to know about or problems you may know of, please contact us off the comment stream on Facebook.
The Independent Collegian office is located in Carlson Library by the entrance facing the Student Union, Suite 1057; feel free to stop in at any time. We can also be reached by calling 419-530-7788 or emailing email@example.com.
We love to hear from our readers and hope that everyone uses our social media as an open forum fostering interesting discussion in the community. We are the campus student newspaper, serving the UT community since 1919, and we enjoy being here.