Community newspaper gets blogging and tweeting

Posted on 28/10/2010 by


The Chronicle, the community newspaper for Craigmillar and Portobello, has just entered the brave new world of social media, by setting itself up with a new blog and twitter account.

The paper, which has been serving the community for over forty years, has always focused on its paper version – and in an area where the number of people with internet access remains low, its core audience will remain offline for the foreseable future.

But the new website will also allow the paper to start using social media tools to build new audiences, and share its stories with people beyond the Craigmillar and Portobello area.

Babs Burnett, assistant editor at The Chronicle, said: “We are delighted with the new Chronicle website. We wanted a site which would be up and running quickly and which could then be regularly updated with the minimum of hassle and that is exactly what we now have. Although we wanted a site that would be fairly straightforward to set up and maintain, we were also keen that it was visible, reflected the presentation of the print Chronicle and gave us options for all the functionality we wanted to include, such as making back issues of the newspaper available for download and connecting easily to Facebook and Twitter.”

We hope it will become, essentially, a resource for the community.

“We hope the website will make the Chronicle even more accessible to people in the local area and allow us to engage more with our readers. We hope it will become, essentially, a resource for the community. The head teacher from a local primary school has already told us that she plans to use the site with the children in school, which is great. As we work with volunteers, some of whom are currently seeking employment, getting them involved in the website will also hopefully provide an opportunity for them to gain additional skills during the time they spend with us.”

Setting up the blog

The idea for setting up The Chronicle blog came about after I met Sally Fraser and Babs Burnett whilst doing a piece for The Guardian earlier in the year. I was impressed by their comittment to grass-roots journalism, but could see that outside of the area, and outside the paper version, few people would be able to follow what they were doing.

And with budget cuts a constant threat to community newspapers, it’s important that the good work they do is seen and recognised.

In the end, it only took us two half day sessions to introduce them to WordPress, to find the right template and customise it for their purposes. Hopefully now the paper will start to be an online, as well as an offline hit.