While the bulk of the Beacon's stories are on www.stlbeacon.org , you might be surprised to learn that you can find our work in many other ways. As I said last week, communication requires a sender and a receiver. It also requires that the sender transmit in a medium the receiver will actually receive.
For example, my guess is that not too many people in St. Louis read my hometown newspaper from the other side of Illinois. If I wanted to write an article and get it read by people who live here, submitting it to that paper probably wouldn't get the job done. Likewise, if we at the Beacon want to accomplish our mission of providing news that matters to people in the St. Louis region, we need to meet them here where they already are.
I get most of my news through an RSS reader. It's a great way to pull information from a ton of varied sources into one place. An RSS reader (I use Google Reader) presents news from sites I select -- often short excerpts, but sometimes whole articles or blog posts. I can then click the article to visit the original site to get more information. The Beacon has an RSS feed with excerpts of all stories. Additionally, I did a video podcast about how RSS works that you can see here .
Along the same lines, each day we compile that day's new stories into a newsletter that is emailed to people who have signed up. You can sign up once and then get the new headlines from the Beacon in your inbox every Monday through Friday. If you're already registered on the Beacon site, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list. If you're not already registered with the Beacon, you can choose to receive the email when you register on the Beacon .
Another way many people follow the news is with Twitter. The Beacon has a Twitter account that we use to interact with our followers, ask and answer questions and, yes, post headlines from the site. Be aware, we don't post every article on Twitter (which you would get from the RSS feed), and we do read and sometimes respond to what our followers are saying.
Facebook is where a lot of people are hanging out online these days: The social networking service recently announced it reached 500 million users. A small percentage of those people are fans of the Beacon on Facebook . Our use of Facebook is similar to what we do with Twitter: You won't find every story there, and you will find tidbits about the Beacon that aren't on the main site. Facebook is also where a person can find out more about the events we host.
Do you prefer video? The Beacon has a YouTube channel where we host all the video on our site. When a reporter or intern finishes a video, we upload it to the site and then embed it into the appropriate story so you can watch it on the Beacon. But you can also see all our past videos on Youtube. Right now, we have 143 videos hosted there.
How about audio? Each week Contributing Editor Dick Weiss hosts the Beacon Roundtable. He selects a few stories from the past week and has the reporters or editors who worked on the story talk about the issue. This happens most Thursdays, and it's posted to the Beacon site here . Additionally, you can get the Beacon Roundtable podcast through iTunes , where you can arrange for new episodes to be downloaded to your computer automatically.
Through these channels, and at events in the community where we talk with our readers, we hope at least one makes it easy for you to get the news that matters. We're constantly looking into new ways of sharing the news with you. If you have any suggestions about how we can more effectively reach out, please let me know by leaving a comment or contacting me through the link below.
Brent Jones is presentation editor of the St. Louis Beacon. Contact him here .