It's hard to believe the difference ten years can make. In August of 2009, “I Got A Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas topped the Billboard Music charts, “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” was the …
It's hard to believe the difference ten years can make. In August of 2009, “I Got A Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas topped the Billboard Music charts, “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” was the highest grossing movie in the world and President Barack Obama had not even finished his first year in the White House. In Jasper, however, the Daily Mountain Eagle was taking its first baby steps into the world of social media.
On August 10, 2009, the Daily Mountain Eagle shared its first post on Facebook, an opinion piece by Brian Kennedy titled “Looking beyond the end of our nose.” With less than 100 followers, the post got one “like” and two comments. Two days later, James Phillips, long before becoming the publisher, published the page's second post, “The Eagle now flying on Facebook.”
“I'm excited about the possibilities a Facebook page offers our paper,” Phillips said at the time, who had been internally dubbed the “Facebook expert at the paper.”
“Social networking is definitely a new monster in the world of mass media, but I think it is definitely a step in the right direction as far as utilizing available technology. I also think it is a way to generate readers in demographics that usually don't pick up the newspaper.”
Since that time, Phillips left Jasper to only return as the publisher in May 2016 to fully implement his vision of a hybrid print and digital news source for Walker County. I was hired on as part of that effort, being given the newly created title of new media coordinator.
The Daily Mountain Eagle turned 147 years old this year, carrying with it a name and tradition that has stood the test of time. The print edition of DME continues to perform strong across Walker County, and there is no reason to change that, despite some underlying concerns among some. However, to ignore the ways in which the world is changing and continue with the status quo would be a futile endeavor.
It has been said that social media changed the way the world gets its news. In 2018, Pew Research Center released a study that showed that sites like Facebook and Twitter had surpassed traditional newspapers as the leading news source. While there is no indication that Jasper and surrounding areas are part of that trend yet, the efforts made by the team here are to get in front of the digital revolution.
From the award-winning mountaineagle.com, which was established in 1998, to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to our flourishing YouTube channel, the growth of this newspaper is now endless and no longer confined to the borders of Walker County. Thanks to the website, which is endlessly promoted via Facebook, it is all available at your fingertips - the stories, the opinions, the advertisements, the very best of Walker County can be seen from anywhere around the globe.
As far as everything has come in ten years, it is only the beginning. I've said it enough that it has now become cliche, but I'm not exaggerating when I say how excited we all are with everything that we are kicking around. It is safe to say that we here at the Daily Mountain Eagle dream big.
Thanks to the foresight of Phillips, who pushed for the paper to have a social media presence in 2009, and the hard work of the entire team here, the Mountain Eagle's online presence has grown from those baby steps just ten years ago to being recognized across the state as a leader in newspaper digital revolution. There is no telling where the next ten years will take us, but from everyone here, thank you for helping to make it a success and we can't wait for you to take this ride with us.