Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 14, 2013

Mercer/Tazewell Leadership program participants tour BDT facility

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A first-hand look at the work that goes into getting the news both into print and on the Internet was on the agenda Wednesday when participants in the Mercer/Tazewell Leadership program visited the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

Sponsored by the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, Mercer/Tazewell Leadership program helps prepare Mercer County and Tazewell County, Va. volunteers to take more active roles in their communities. Wednesday’s leadership activities included tours of local media outlets.

The guests were greeted by Publisher Darryl Hudson, Editor Samantha Perry, and Senior Editor Bill Archer. Besides the print edition, the newspaper now offers the e-Edition on the Internet, a website with continuous updates, plus email and Twitter alerts that offer breaking news.

Photographer Eric DiNovo and Perry demonstrated these capabilities by shooting and posting a photograph of the visitors. By the time the guests reached the newspaper’s conference room on the third floor, news of the visit was on a television screen; Perry had just posted it on the Telegraph web site via Twitter.

Hudson asked the guests if any of them had heard that newspapers readership was down. A few had heard such things, but he assured them that newspapers are serving more readers than ever before.

“We are actually at the highest readership level we’ve ever been at,” Hudson said. “They’re different things, readership levels and newspaper circulation. We print 15,0000 to 16,000 copies a day, but our web site – this is an incredible number – we hit 310,000 unique visitors a month and over 2.1 million page views, which means individual pages people bring up to read.”

The Telegraph offers readers news via email blasts and Twitter feeds. Thanks to online services, the newspaper’s readership has more than doubled during the last two to three years, Hudson said.

Perry told the visitors that the newspaper is on a 24-hour news cycle. Besides preparing the print edition, the staff is also constantly updating the newspaper’s web site and sending out news alerts. Perry’s news day starts early in the morning.

“When we start the day – I start the day at home – the first thing I do is look at the web site, updating and linking on Facebook and looking at Chartbeat. com,” she said.

Chartbeat allows newspapers to see who is looking at their web sites and what they are reading.

“I can see how many people are on our web site and what they’re reading,” she said. “I even know how much of each story they are reading because it measures scroll down.”

In one case, a story about a pastor who died while handling a venomous snake attracted readers from overseas. This happened when a newspaper in the United Kingdom noticed the story and posted a link to the Daily Telegraph’s web site.

“So we’re experiencing a huge number of readers from England who are reading the Daily Telegraph,” Perry said.

The visitors then toured the advertising, production, newsroom and circulation departments to learn more about the Telegraph’s operations. Before concluding their tour at the newspaper, the participants also visited Adventure Radio, Triad Broadcasting and WVVA.