Weekly uses Facebook for news tips on bank robbery story

When a downtown bank in sleepy New Milford was robbed in broad daylight in January, the staff of the weekly Housatonic Times jumped into action with digital-first, minute-by-minute breaking news reporting of the manhunt that ensued.

That alone was a big step for a newsroom accustomed for decades to a weekly print news cycle.

But with this story, Editor Doug Clement and Managing Editor Alice Tessier put their new knowledge of social media and video to use as well.

Reporter Daniela Forte solicited – and received – news tips about the whereabouts of the bank robbery suspect and police activity via Facebook, and they were incorporated into their reporting.

Reporter Scott Benjamin used his JRC Flip camera to shoot video of the standoff scene, and to interview eyewitnesses of the robbery itself.

News Assistant Lori Dolce edited and posted Scott’s video as soon as it was ready, and maintained the newspaper’s Twitter feed with frequent updates on the situation and links to new content, including photos that Laurie Gaboardi shot from the scene of the standoff.


About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. He teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University, writes a monthly column for Editor & Publisher magazine, and serves as interim executive director of LION Publishers, a national network of local independent online news site publishers. Previously, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. He also served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for the former Journal Register Company. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a former longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
This entry was posted in Alice Tessier, Daniela Forte, Doug Clement, Laurie Gaboardi, Lori Dolce and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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