Saturday, February 19, 2011



I have implemented several changes to The News-Herald's Twitter account to build a relationship with our readers and improve our interaction with them.

Communicating with our followers

I began following accounts that were following us and other accounts that would be of interest, including residents, businesses and emergency services in our readership area. This increased our following tremendously, and allowed users to send us direct messages — which has led to news tips. I also started communicating back to users, both publicly and through direct messages, so they would know their comments to us were not being ignored.

I created a background for our page so visitors to our Twitter page could easy see who we are and how to contact us, to open the door for direct communication:

Improving our tweets

In April, after noticing that staffers were tweeting differently, I put together a set of instructions to ensure consistency. I sent an e-mail to the newsroom with Twitter instructions to help reporters and editors improve their tweeting and learn to use hashtags appropriately. Read the e-mail below:

In January I sent another e-mail with advice for live tweeting, which was spurred by a direct message from a follower who suggested clarification with our live tweeting. Read that e-mail below:

Creating access to information with lists, hashtags

I created lists with The News-Herald's Twitter account:
  1. NH Sports: Updates from high school, college and pro sports of interest
  2. NH Local Politics: Inside information on the events, big news and little moments of Lake County’s political machine

Each day, I schedule a tweet for 6 a.m. the following day with the weather forecast, and include the hashtag #lakecountyweather.


Prior to the Ben Franklin Project in May, I created my own Twitter account, @nhcheryl, even though as a copy editor I was not required to do so. In the past year, I've amassed a following of more than 1,000. I've used my account to tweet blog posts I've written in addition to stories posted on that I find to be interesting or conversation starters. I frequently retweet my co-workers or other users that I am following. My major focus with the account is to get readers the information they want in the way they want it, whether that be from or someone else in our area, such as the Geauga Park District, or fellow residents who are sharing comments or observations on the weather or traffic, for example.

In late summer, because of my activity on Twitter, I was invited to sit on the Tribe Social Deck at a Cleveland Indians game, which I blogged about the following week.


In part because of the Ben Franklin Project and in part to interact with LOST fans for the LOST audiocasts, I created the Twitter account @NHLostFans. I used it to tweet my feedback during the show, as well as links to the audiocasts and blogs that were posted on

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