'Chronicle' is boosting coverage, online efforts

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Things are looking up for our community and for The Augusta Chronicle in 2010, our 225th year as a newspaper.

The outlook for local employment remains solid. Our housing market is among the best performing nationally. Indeed, we need to be concerned about state and local tax revenues sliding and affecting our schools, but there is confidence our resilient local economy will counter some of this.

The Chronicle newsroom is positioning itself to move forward with a strong foot.

We expect to provide a steadier and fuller diet of local news in print and online.

We will put more energy into being your watchdog and champion on local issues.

We will be a more powerful multimedia storytelling force in print and online.

To do this, we are reorganizing our news operation, hiring a few more journalists than last year and moving augustachronicle.com onto a new software platform and into more digital devices. We plan on being more interactive through Twitter and Facebook.

We'll be beefing up coverage of the economy, jobs and education. You'll see more "Things To Do" coverage starting with a revamp of our Applause section. We'll offer more consumer information and help you save money through our Pinch columnist, LaTina Emerson.

We'll have individuals assigned to review public records and watch how tax dollars are spent. This will be led by a three-person team headed by Public Service Editor Mike Wynn. Investigative reporters Johnny Edwards and Sandy Hodson will be focused on answering burning questions in emerging headlines. They'll delve deeper into issues of public interest. Equity in government salaries might be something they'd review.

Send your ideas and news tips for investigations to johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com and sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com. They'll follow up.

Expect some new bylines on their beats. It'll take a few weeks for new people to be hired and for new assignments to be made.

These staff additions simply will boost local coverage.

In the coming month, augustachronicle.com will change.

A new design will launch along with a change to the software engine behind the site. (For you local techies, it's Drupal-based.)

This change will allow the entire newsroom to be more involved in production and management of the site content, allowing more parts to come alive during the day.

We will have people working together on social media, extending our ability to interact and share the news on mobile devices and more.

Upcoming, Web-enabled phones will automatically receive news designed for phones when accessing augustachronicle.com.

Bill Kirby has been named online news director to help drive these changes. This new title means he'll be guiding what used to be known as the Metro Desk in new ways for an urgent and lively online report for all sections of the site. Our local news director is James Folker. He'll team with Mr. Kirby to plan how online and print efforts fold into your doorstep edition. Some of you might remember Mr. Folker in similar roles in the past. He and Mr. Kirby will co-lead the newsgathering team.

Don't worry. Mr. Kirby will still be writing his column. Don't forget to send postcards for his annual feature this summer.

Speaking of "Mr."... I've been thinking about jettisoning the courtesy titles still present in Chronicle news copy. We don't use them in the opinion pages or Sports. It would save us editing time and make some things more uniform. Should we keep them to encourage decorum and as a nod to Southern civility? If we did drop them, we certainly would keep them in obituaries.

Send me your thoughts on this and any coverage suggestions via e-mail at alan.english@augustachronicle.com or by mail to Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903.

Real and symbolic changes are a necessary part of renewal. Modernizing does include streamlining where you can -- and we are doing that, too, in an effort to find more resources for the journalism you expect from us.

A newspaper that has been around for 225 years has weathered many tough days and reinvented itself several times.

Our team is inspired to invigorate our daily report to serve the community as the single-best source of local news and information for another 225 years.

Reach Alan English at (706) 823-3487 or alan.english@augustachronicle.com.

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- BYKELLYJASPER: Kelly Jasper

- SUHLES: Steven Uhles

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- NATODAY: North Augusta Today

- AUG_CHRONICLE: The Augusta Chronicle

- AUG_PINCH: The Pinch savings and deals

- AUG_MASTERS: Masters updates

- AUGPREPS: High school sports news

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Comments (41) Add comment
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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 01/03/10 - 05:55 am
0
0
I guess it's an " era thing",

I guess it's an " era thing", but I find the babble of face book, space book, twitter and IM to be just that, babble. I understand the "broadcast" feature involved, but I still see it as the spray of a machine gun as opposed to the accuracy of a single sniper shot. An e-mail allows time for some though and rewrite before sending and the ability to edit or delete a post on the paper's site sure allows for more smooth exchange of ideas, especially for those that are confused by a dropped or added letter. (an irritation without the edit button) As the paper improves it's coverage, I certainly hope you're able to find some IT personal that can fix the delete and edit buttons to work properly.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 01/03/10 - 06:03 am
0
0
The New York Times has people

The New York Times has people heading departments with a very slanted left wing tilt and their "news coverage" (or lack there of) is reflected by this tilt. Will Mike Wynn, someone enamored with the redistribution of wealth concept, bring this same tilt with his leadership? If so, the responding posts will take note, if the webmasters allow them to.

Riverman1
99250
Points
Riverman1 01/03/10 - 06:56 am
0
0
All this and still no edit

All this and still no edit function for commenters.

cleanup
0
Points
cleanup 01/03/10 - 07:19 am
0
0
Will the Chronicle finally go

Will the Chronicle finally go under for good this year, so a real newspaper can emerge? Will the Chronicle hire copy editors who can do their jobs? Will someone give Mr. English a copy of the AP stylebook, so he can see the answer to his question on dropping courtesy titles? The shadow knows....

ICSunshine
0
Points
ICSunshine 01/03/10 - 07:31 am
0
0
"The Augusta Chronicle is the

"The Augusta Chronicle is the South's oldest newspaper and I intend to change that!". Joking aside, some of these sound like positive innovations. Hiring someone to monitor a police scanner for breaking and timely news might be something to consider. Even a dedicated news tip email/number would help. I have no faith that emails simply sent to the newsroom after hours get reviewed promptly. WRDW and WAGT thank you for the business they receive by updating their websites shortly after events happen.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 01/03/10 - 07:37 am
0
0
It sure would be nice to be

It sure would be nice to be able to comment on the political cartoons. Rick McKie hits a lot of home runs.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 01/03/10 - 08:17 am
0
0
Did that bankruptcy disappear

Did that bankruptcy disappear or did the construction projects downtown produce "new money". You go Billy Man.

Junket831
0
Points
Junket831 01/03/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
These proposed changes sound

These proposed changes sound interesting. Looking forward to seeing in the future. I like the idea of focusing on the local. Forget the "breaking news" that truly is not local. This includes the murder and mayhem in some other part of the country that has no impact or connection to the CSRA. Some ideas that might be useful if financially feasible or technically practical include: Having an online version of the days newspaper so that online readers can see how the paper of record was laid out that day. Include an online links for the advertising in the days paper. Many online readers no longer get their news from the paper version so having access to those advertisers would benefit local business and online readers. Include links to the national commentators you present in the paper version.

mieshel
3
Points
mieshel 01/03/10 - 09:32 am
0
0
Sounds like The Augusta

Sounds like The Augusta Chronicle attended a Pep Rally! Lol I would love to see some changes, but I seriously doubt it...We shall see.

ionlyknow
0
Points
ionlyknow 01/03/10 - 09:49 am
0
0
As a long time employee of

As a long time employee of Morris Communications (27 years) I can remember when you had the Augusta Chronicle in the morning and the Augusta Hearld in the afternoon. The internet and cable T.V. has brought readership down way down compared to what it was 20 years ago. When the Space shuttle Challenger exploded in January 1986, the paper printed an"extra Edition" that afternoon. Will that happen today no. Newspapers all over the country have to come up with new ways to lure readers back, either by print or online content. I really hope that Mr. English idea's work..

Dixieman
18692
Points
Dixieman 01/03/10 - 10:15 am
0
0
Better? Well, it can't get

Better? Well, it can't get much worse...

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 01/03/10 - 10:30 am
0
0
Extended coverage? Right.
Unpublished

Extended coverage? Right. That means we'll have the same 'breaking' news of school windows for five days straight instead of merely three days. Can't wait.

HollyHoly
0
Points
HollyHoly 01/03/10 - 10:43 am
0
0
IC..and I guess that person

IC..and I guess that person they should hire should be you HUH? Excuse me a bit, I need to go rinse out my mouth, brb..

AnotherPerspective
0
Points
AnotherPerspective 01/03/10 - 11:07 am
0
0
If I went to a burger joint

If I went to a burger joint and I didn't like it, I would go somewhere else to eat. Why is it so many people rush to criticize the Chronicle, yet they come back day after day after day? Certainly, the economy has weight on the paper (as it has on every business), but sheesh people are so quick to complain. TV news has no substance. Actually, it has become the Chronicle for the visually impaired because they read the newspaper verbatim. Speaking of reading, you can hear the newspaper ratttle on the radio during its news. Still, people complain. I don't get it. You don't like? Don't read it. Don't like Billy? Don't give him your money by reading the paper. Silly people.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 01/03/10 - 11:38 am
0
0
Sounds like the Chronicle has
Unpublished

Sounds like the Chronicle has you right where they want you, AnotherPerspective. "...give him (Billy) MY money 'by reading the paper.'" ?? Now THERE'S a trick for you...

AnotherPerspective
0
Points
AnotherPerspective 01/03/10 - 11:42 am
0
0
Haha, fd. How do you think a

Haha, fd. How do you think a business makes money? It's called customers. Or, with a newspaper, it's called readers. It's business 101.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 01/03/10 - 11:47 am
0
0
SORRY for the double entry.
Unpublished

SORRY for the double entry. First, the Chronicle geniuses refuse to accept my comments, "because you are using a proxy server.' Then they reconsider, and print the comment TWICE. Must be another example of their "Boosting" coverage?!

AnotherPerspective
0
Points
AnotherPerspective 01/03/10 - 11:49 am
0
0
Thanks for proving my point,

Thanks for proving my point, fd. I appreciate the help.

ionlyknow
0
Points
ionlyknow 01/03/10 - 11:50 am
0
0
fd you sound like a

fd you sound like a disgruntled ex-employee!! If you have such hatred for Billy Morris why are you on his website then?

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 01/03/10 - 11:55 am
0
0
It IS called 'readers,'
Unpublished

It IS called 'readers,' Another Perspective. YOU said "I" was giving him "My" money by reading the paper?! Fat chance. Maybe your online edition isn't cost-free?? Ought to check into it before lecturing others on business.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 01/03/10 - 12:06 pm
0
0
Why, ionlyknow, SURELY I'm
Unpublished

Why, ionlyknow, SURELY I'm not the only one who gets paid for my comments here?! You mean YOURS aren't worth money too?

APiratesLife4Me
0
Points
APiratesLife4Me 01/03/10 - 12:57 pm
0
0
Let us EDIT comments. WE are

Let us EDIT comments. WE are not perfect spellars...I mean spellers liek the AC editoars are.

Riverman1
99250
Points
Riverman1 01/03/10 - 01:01 pm
0
0
AnotherPerspective is

AnotherPerspective is absolutely right. Although I often give the Chronicle heck, I love the paper and the website. Every now and then some on here will say something silly like why don't you get out in the real world and do something. They are reading and saying it on here which proves the point of how effective the site is. You're a great paper, Chronicle.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 01/03/10 - 01:52 pm
0
0
Unfortunately not a lot of

Unfortunately not a lot of news in The Comical.. and its investigative reporting is very selective.

seenitB4
103652
Points
seenitB4 01/03/10 - 02:02 pm
0
0
I love the Augusta Chronicle

I love the Augusta Chronicle & I want it to continue for a long time,,,,, Keep up the good work..

AnotherPerspective
0
Points
AnotherPerspective 01/03/10 - 02:05 pm
0
0
Emery, why do you read it if

Emery, why do you read it if you don't like it?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 01/03/10 - 02:11 pm
0
0
I would like to see another

I would like to see another daily paper in Augusta to balance the bias of The Comical

AnotherPerspective
0
Points
AnotherPerspective 01/03/10 - 02:15 pm
0
0
You're entitlted to your

You're entitlted to your opinion, but I still don't get it. If I don't like what's on TV, I switch the channel. If I don't like what's on the radio, I switch the station. If I don't like what I'm reading, I read something else. I have this image of some commenters on here.... I imagine them picking up a burger, taking a bit bite and saying "ewwww....gross." They then finish the burger, talking about how bad it tasted before ordering another burger. Or, perhaps, some commenters have ulterior motives. Maybe they work for a competing news outlet?

Fiat_Lux
16915
Points
Fiat_Lux 01/03/10 - 03:05 pm
0
0
Mike Wynn?!!! Are you guys

Mike Wynn?!!! Are you guys absolute nitwits? That guy is so biased he's almost blind. You've just made a move that undermines my ability to put much faith in reporting on important public information. When he gets the chip off his shoulder and starts thinking and writing like a reasonable and unbiased, objective reporter, then maybe you can give him more responsibility for presenting real news. Until then, AC, all Mike Wynn needs close editing, because all he's going to be reporting is his own slanted opinion, and it's one that makes me nauseated.

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 01/03/10 - 03:22 pm
0
0
LOL whatever it takes to stay

LOL whatever it takes to stay afloat, but as long as this paper leans 99% to the right, and has editors who only write daily negative editorials about Obama, and allow LTEs to do the same, then LET posters spew hate towards him, I really don't think changes would make much of a difference when you got so many people in the CSRA who really don't like the Chronicle and still will NOT subscribe to it, if anything this move may be a death nail instead.

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