Hard to find the old fashioned police blotter items in your local newspaper these days. They’ve gone the way of the Private Eye’s fedora. Jim Romanesko, news media watchdog, says that there are so few beat reporters left, there’s no one left to go down to the roundhouse any more to pick up the noteworthy cop beat tidbits.
So why is the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department getting more blotter coverage than ever?
Because of blog posts by the MPD’s Joel DeSpain. As Romanesko explains, DeSpain’s blogs are now gaining national exposure as ongoing “news of the weird” to the point that major mainstream newspapers, online news sites, and social media are picking up his craziest police notes. Consider the incident about the guy in a suit who walked into a Denny’s restaurant claiming to be a supervisor and cooked himself a meal before being called-out by staff as a fraud. Or the most-shared report to date: the arrest of Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop.
OK, so as a professional communicator the daily police blotter is not your everyday concern. But there’s a larger lesson here: at CommCore we always advise our clients that you ignore the blogosphere and social media at your own risk…and at the risk of your organization’s brand. Blogs are a great place to tell and distribute good stories in a brief and creative way…and furthermore, if you don’t carefully monitor the social space, you never know what’s out there that can affect you or your brand.
What are some of the weirdest stories you’ve found on blogs and in social media that affect your organization or client?