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Campus newspaper enters social media mix

3/17/2010 —

As more and more people look to social media outlets for up-to-the-minute information about topics relevant to them, traditional media outlets, like newspapers, are also harnessing the technologies to stay connected to their readers. Penn State Lehigh Valley's campus newspaper, State of the Valley, recently joined the digital conversation with a regular blog feature and Twitter account. The State of the Valley blog can be accessed by logging on to www.stateofthevalley.wordpress.com, and readers can follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stateofthvalley.

 

In establishing an online presence, State of the Valley staff, comprised of Penn State Lehigh Valley students, also created a new staff position to monitor and coordinate content posted on the blog and Twitter. Ashley Insalaco was appointed the first online editor for the newspaper.

 

"Our goal is to stay connected to the Penn State Lehigh Valley community. While the print version of our newspaper is published every three weeks, we feel it is important to have constant updates with relevant information. The blog and Twitter will be current and on top of the events on campus," says Insalaco.

 

For the newspaper's faculty adviser, Nichola Gutgold, adding a digital presence to the newspaper is also a learning opportunity for the students.

 

"Facebook, blogs, and Twitter are new information tools and, as students embark on journalism careers, it is important that they begin to use the new tools to tell stories and promote the student newspaper," says Gutgold, who is associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley. "There was a time when an editorial and advertising department at newspapers never shared duties of any kind, but social media has forced journalists to consider their roles as promoters as well as reporters." 

 

According to Insalaco, the entire staff of the newspaper will contribute content to the blog and Twitter. Blog content is intended to be more topic-driven, while the focus of tweets will be to keep followers informed about events and articles to look forward to in upcoming editions of the newspaper.

 

"When something comes up around campus, State of the Valley will be there to tell you about it," says Insalaco. "We also encourage the campus community to add their thoughts by commenting on the posts or e-mailing."

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