Change is hard. Beginning around eight years ago, every newspaper on the planet, including The Index, began learning this. It requires old practices to have their place, but also to make room for new ones. And just as The Index has now primarily become a digital publication, we’ve had to learn some new tools and adjust to a new schedule.
We’ve noticed churches and ministers going through the same learning curve, and as you become acclimated in reaching your people, we’re doing the same in telling your stories.
Going from a publication with a two-week production schedule to daily has, as you’d imagine, increased the demand for content and led to my job title change from Production Editor to the more appropriate Web Content Developer. As we at The Index look for those stories of importance to Georgia Baptists, there are ways you, as a minister or lay leader, can help us — and, in the process, help yourself — by getting your story out there. Direct email is great, but here are four ways I’ve found story ideas in the past. If it’s slipped past us that you use these, let us know so we can be up-to-date on what’s going on in your church.
Newsletter. Yes, this is an old technology that hasn’t really gone away, but morphed into a digital format. I still go through each print newsletter (don’t ask how many) that makes its way to the Index office, but also subscribe to the many that have switched to digital. I find a lot of background for our People and Places section here, but also announcements on a new ministry or something else that leads to a story. A recent example of this was when Tabernacle Baptist in Carrollton announced it was forming a security team, which became part of a story on church security.
Twitter. If you’re a pastor or staff member of a Georgia Baptist Mission Board-affiliated church, there’s a decent chance you’re on the Index’s list of that group that consistently leads to story ideas and comments that kind find their way into an article.
Facebook. The unquestioned champion of Georgia Baptists’ online presence is good for information from posts, but perhaps even more so for images of church events, evangelistic outreaches, mission trips, etc. It’s hard to overstate the value of a good picture for a story and Facebook has provided many over the years. And, when the picture is used we give a photo credit, which makes that person an officially-published photographer.
Blog. On my RSS feed/blog aggregator of choice, Feedly, I’ve created several lists. One of those is dedicated to Georgia Baptist pastors and allows me to never miss a post. In the past not only have their comments found their way into stories, but (with the author’s permission and a link back to the original site) individual posts have appeared as guest commentaries for The Index.
As other news agencies, we’re continually increasing our efforts to hear from you such as on Instagram and LinkedIn. If we’ve missed an app or web tool you think would be good for us to check out, let us know. Whatever the means, stay in touch.