FAQ #7

As a follow-up to last week's FAQ, this week we're going to cover a slightly more advanced search tool in the e-edition repertoire. The e-notify feature works like a regular search, but instead of logging in to the e-edition every day--I wish you were, but I know silly things like a job get in the way--you can enter your search terms and email address and e-notify will notify(!) you when those terms appear in the paper.

You'll receive an email with links to each of the articles containing that word. It looks essentially like the list of search results that would appear if you were to search manually. The difference is this saves you time by doing it for you. Plus, if you don't want have time to read those articles that day, you can save the email for later.

E-notify is very easy to set up. It takes 3 (and a half) steps.

1. Click E-NOTIFY in the top toolbar, just to the right of the Reporter-News logo. You should see this e-notify screen come up in the left panel.

2. Enter your email address and your search term(s) and click Test.

A new window will pop up with a list of articles containing your search term. This lets you know your search is working. If it doesn't bring up anything and you think it should have, try changing your terms. If you need help, click Help! to get tips on improving your search. (That was the half step, if anyone's counting).

3. Check both boxes, unless you're not over 13, and then don't check that one, because that would be dishonest. If you are the appropriate age and you do agree to the terms, check the boxes and click Activate.

At that point, an email will be sent to the address you provided asking you to confirm your e-notify request. If you don't get one, check your Spam folder. Once you get the email, click on the link provided to complete the "activation process."

And that's it!

You are now an official e-notify-ee. Emails should start arriving soon. If they don't, make sure your account says Active under your current status. If it says Active, Waiting for Confirmation, the activation link in the email has not been clicked. Find it, and try it again. Othwerwise, it's a time-saving piece of cake.

Hope that's helpful. See you next week, same time, same channel.


FAQ #6

I love the ironic situations created when well-established companies have their names co-opted by Texting-ese. Case in point, BRB Trucking. Of course, whether that inspires confidence or not is open to interpretation, but the point is, what you call something can be the difference between success and miserable failure (as in the famous, albeit fictional tale of the Chevy Nova).

That's why I'm a huge fan of search functions. "Search" says it all. It conjures up images of treasure hunters or research librarians, combing the pages of old, dusty tomes... OK, maybe not. But it does make my day a little brighter when I land on the homepage of some massive government site, and instead of sifting through pages of data one at a time, I type my request into that innocuous little box at the top and voila! There they are. 150 articles containing your search term. Beautiful.

Being the Google ninja that I am, I have come to rely heavily on search tools, but there's always been something missing. Haven't you ever been reading a book and wished you could search for that one sentence you know you read three chapters back and forgot to mark? Or thought a word was overused and wanted to actually count the number of times the author used it, just for grins?

You get the idea.

The first feature I always show people when I demo the e-edition is the "Search" function. I can type in any term and get links to all the articles in today's paper in which the term is found. Most of our subscribers know about this feature. Slightly less well-known is the "Advanced Search" feature that actually lets you search the last 30 days of back issues. At long last, we've arrived at what we're going to talk about today.

It's quick n' easy, but I want to make sure everyone knows how to use it, because it can be incredibly helpful when you're wanting to go back and find an article you only dimly remember reading.

Step 1: Log in.
Step 2: Click on Advanced Search, found under the Search box in the navigation bar.

Step 3: In the pop-up window, enter your search term and the dates of the issues you want to search.

You can enter multiple terms and choose to search for all the words or "at least one word." You can also choose what category of articles you'd like to search, such as editorials.

Step 4: Click Search, and every article within the specified dates that contains your search term will appear in the left panel. To read an article, click on it just as you normally would, and it will pop up in the right panel.

And you're done! Remember, you can only access 30 days of back issues, but that's usually plenty. I hope this was helpful, if for no other reason than you didn't know this feature existed. Happy hunting, and I'll see you all next week!


"Too Much For 140"

(Gotta love the fail whale).

This post has been a long time coming. Thanks to all my stalwart readers who keep checking in the hopes that I'll have posted something both humorous and inspiring.

I apologize, but this most likely neither. Instead, it's a quick (I hope) rundown of everything social media-ish the Reporter-News has been doing over the last few weeks and months. I can't possibly fit it all into a tweet, and I don't want to annoy people by flooding their news feeds with updates, so it wound up here. Forgive me if some of these are old news.

I suppose it's only appropriate to start with @e_edition. That guy is good. Probably the best the ARN has ever seen (don't tell @ReporterNews I said that). Seriously, aside from any talent or lack thereof, the various Twitter accounts at the paper (@ARNBizBuzz, @ARNrewards, @ARNjobs, @abilenemoms, etc.) are a pretty hefty milestone in our history. West Texas isn't exactly famous for being high-tech or full of early adopters. We're pretty proud of our efforts to buck that stereotype as we learn more every day how to better engage with the Abilene community.

Our e-edition Facebook fan page is alive and well, although it could handle some more content. We're still working on ways to elicit content from our friends and fans, but I'm confident we'll get there.

I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Reporter-News fan page, which launched last week, has nearly 50 fans and is already generating solid interaction with readers. People love their newspaper, and it's ironic to me the medium that will be the alleged downfall of the printed word is emphasizing its popularity.

This blog, although still in its infant stage by most standards, has turned out to be not only a good time investment, but also really enjoyable. The newspaper industry is an exciting place to write. I'm either talking with people deeply invested in and passionate about it, or I'm given a chance to share my "life" (as much as a php site can have) and passion with someone who doesn't know the first thing about newspapers.

Anyone worth their salt in social media will tell you perfection isn't possible. Community isn't something you can display in a trophy case. It's something we have to work on every minute of every day. I'm thrilled to be able to say that's exactly what we're doing. Sometimes it's nice to have too much for 140.