Friday, July 6, 2012

Enter Phase 2: I never thought I'd be saying this...

...But I have been chatting it up with our circulation department.

Any news-slave knows we don't cross-pollinate with other departments. Eww. Cooties. There are people I've worked with in the same building, same company, for a decade who I don't know because they're not in the editorial department.

Marketing? I think we have that. Advertising? Forget about it; I know the staff at Wendy's better than our ad staff, and I have never eaten at Wendy's in my life because I think French fries are toxic grease sponges.

There are good reasons for this tradition of separation, some ethical, some logistical, some because the other departments are all the way downstairs and my stupid-tall shoes generally lead me to avoid unnecessary staircases.

Until the Modern Lois Lane enters Phase 2 of her Plan To Save The World! ... Er, I'm still working on the name. But regardless, it's time to experiment with community reporting.

So what does our circulation department have to do with community reporting?

Turns out, a lot. Because they sell papers, which means they interact with the community a lot, which means they have already jumped through the hoops of getting tables at all of the highly attended community events around town, like the Farmer's Market. What if I just borrowed a corner of their already established table at the market and put up my own sign? 

I have tried to station at various locations around town (coffee shops, restaurants) and invite people to come visit me, but attendance has been lame. I think the key is to meet people where they are, instead of asking them to come to me. 

My first goal is to create "open office" hours once a week for three reasons:
1. Marketing myself and my publication. We are real faces who are actually accessible and eager to create a better product. 
2. To get story ideas from the public that I wouldn't otherwise know about. 
2. To tap into more brains (man-on-the-street style) about specific topics, to be designated every week.

I'll report back soon.

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