New comments section, Twitter handle implemented to ‘advance the conversation’

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By Matt Kelton
Editor & Publisher

With the start of the new year, I pulled the Pioneer Sentinel offline for a 12-hour tuneup. Call it housekeeping if you will. Most of the changes made were not visual, at least not to you the reader, but should improve performance of the site.

Two changes are visual, and designed to further advance the conversation.

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to start writing a regular opinion column in the tradition of a community newspaper. Until recently, Clay County newspapers have always had a weekly column. Longtime Leader publisher Bill Glassford wrote “Around Clay County” for some 40 years. Before him, Jack Wettengel, and after, Phil Major. There were several others, starting with some of Clay County’s first newspapers, The Citizen’s Review and the Henrietta Independent to name two.

The Pioneer Sentinel strives to provide fact-based reporting without bias, a liberty guaranteed to our readers by Freedom of the Press. An opinion column allows us the first freedom granted in the First Amendment, Freedom of Speech.

With Freedom of Speech comes a certain amount of responsibility. In America, we can say anything we wish with only a few exceptions, but to maintain our liberties, we must also take ownership of our statements.

The framework on which this website is built has a basic comments section, but I didn’t feel it was adequate. So, after a bit of research, I have installed a new comments section which will allow readers to share their thoughts.

I do ask that when logging in to comment, you, the reader, use your real name and be courteous to your neighbor. This portion of the website is for discussion, debate and even flat-out arguments, but not cat fights.

That said, I reserve the right to remove any comments containing personal attacks or vulgar language. The comments section is found at the bottom of posts with a few exceptions. Any exceptions will be explained with an editor’s note on a per-story basis.

Commenters can also log in using a Facebook or Twitter account, which brings me to the second noticeable change to the site, a little baby blue Twitter link underneath the obituary listings on the home page.

After finding much success in bringing the news of Clay County to readers on Facebook, I’ve decided to try the same with Twitter. For those with a Twitter account, The Pioneer Sentinel’s handle is @PioneerNewsNow. Those without an account can still read Tweets at Twitter.com/PioneerNewsNow. Tweets also update to The Pioneer Sentinel Facebook page five times a day.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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