DME digital reach continues to grow
by Jack McNeely
Aug 18, 2013 | 807 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack McNeely
Jack McNeely
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By the time you read this column, the Daily Mountain Eagle Facebook page  should have more than 9,500 users, or friends. We are well on our way to the goal I set recently of 10,000 by the end of summer.

What this tells me is that folks, even in rural Alabama, are turning to digital platforms for their entertainment and news. And we are happy to offer it as a supplemental resource to our credible, 140-year-old printed newspaper.

You may have noticed in the past couple months that we are uploading more photos and breaking news to our Facebook page.

Cases in point:·

•Managing editor Ron Harris uploaded his photos last Friday evening of the devastating fire that destroyed Jasper’s First Church of the Nazarene following a lighting strike. Although it was difficult to see in print, many people commented online about the ghostly face that could be seen in the black smoke billowing up to the right of the church’s steeple.

•Thursday afternoon we announced on Facebook the additional charges brought against Wanda Faye Kiser in connection to the disappearance of two elderly Jasper women in 2002.

•We uploaded multiple updates during the bomb scare at Walker Baptist Medical Center last month and more recently the bomb threat at the Marshall Durbin chicken processing plant a week ago.

Of course, we followed up these brief updates with complete coverage in the following day’s printed newspaper. The marriage between digital notifications and printed news stories is the future of community journalism.

Moreover, the mission of our Facebook page is to inform the community and highlight our top stories. It is not a place for folks to spew ill will toward other people or businesses. I would rather people not air their dirty laundry on our Facebook page.

In fact, I monitor it frequently and have blocked people for attacking others. I liken our Facebook page to a playground. Bullies and folks with poor etiquette will be expelled from our playground.

Meanwhile, our web site at www.mountaineagle.com consistently averages 65,000 to 70,000 unique users each month. Even though we regularly near 1,000,000 page views and 200,000 hits per month, I like to quote “unique users” because in today’s digital world it offers the most legitimate picture of online viewership.

Just as the term implies, “unique users” counts the number of IP addresses from which individuals log onto your web site.

Of course, John Doe may visit our site from both his home computer and work computer, but “unique users” is still the best way to monitor the effectiveness of a web site, especially those web sites that offer advertising space.

Additional digital offerings for both our Facebook page and web site are on the horizon. One such addition starts this week. “Morning Brew” is a compilation of that day’s top local and national stories, weather forecast and special events.

It will be our top story on our web site from 6-9 a.m. on publication days Tuesday through Sunday. And it will be uploaded to our Facebook page by 6 a.m. So, just bookmark our web site or “like” our Facebook page and you can get a head start on your day.

Jack McNeely is the publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at jack.mcneely@mountaineagle.com.