The best tools ever.

The best part of my job is being able to take advantage of some great tools to make my newspaper better. The two best tools so far have been Twitter and Cover It Live.

I’ve had a Twitter account set up for The Independent for some time now, and it’s been slow, but we’re getting followers now. I set up a feed to post latest headlines to it and I left it alone. I love stuff that runs itself. But now that our Twittership is growing, I want to bring it into the newsroom and have our reporters do a little microblogging. I’ve been using it every so often to pimp some promotions (not too often though, don’t want to get spammy) and now I’ve got a new account set up to promote a music tournament the paper is doing, where I will be tweeting music trivia and tidbits, as well as news about the tourney.

The Twitter thing seems to be taking off here in Nebraska as I just participated in a Q&A with the Nebraska Press Association who was curious about the use of tools like this. I hope it takes off around here. I noticed some of the local TV stations are on the Twitter bandwagon so that’s a good sign. I’ve gotten great feedback from readers about it as well.

And Cover It Live. How I love this tool. I want to take it out for dinner, it’s so cool. I’ll even pay. We’ll be using it again during the previously mentioned music tournaments, for weekly chats with the reporters and editors who are involved with it. I’m not sure if it will go over as well as it did when we liveblogged our redesign, but if even a few readers pop in to talk about some of the matchups, I count that as a success.

The best thing about these tools, and others like it? They’re free. F to the R to the EE. How can anyone not take advantage of these powerful mediums to improve their paper? How can any journalist not see the benefits? I read a lot of comments and blogs from the curmudgeon brigade wishing for the days of yore – but how does one make them open their eyes and see that their Online departments are there to enhance journalism, to strengthen it, to improve it and strengthen its reputation among an increasingly technologically savvy world?