Hometown newspaper to the citizens of Earth today

To the Editor:

If the Altamont Enterprise’s first editor is to be credited with delivering a hometown newspaper to the citizens of Knowersville more than 130 years ago, then its current editor must be credited for delivering that same hometown newspaper to the citizens of Earth today.  

I write from afar, out of gratitude, and to ensure that Enterprise readers are tracking this newspaper’s remarkable forays into the new media environment. Thanks to the internet, Enterprise content that appears weekly in mailboxes throughout Albany County is now accessible worldwide.

That’s how I’ve been able to keep tabs on the goings-on back home even while overseas. Moreover, Enterprise staff are expertly utilizing the power of Facebook both to ensure that articles/alerts are just a newsfeed-in-my-pocket away, and to create a more intimate experience through Editor Melissa Hale-Spencer’s video summaries of each week’s edition of the Enterprise via Facebook Live.  

Staff have also notably augmented the Enterprise website itself. By forsaking a deluge of tacky banner ads and anonymous user comments, they’ve kept the site inviting, civil, and easily navigable.

The site’s internal search function is powerful (greatly improved over the past couple years), the layout is intuitive, and (whether deliberately or not) the website’s search engine optimization (SEO) is on fleek; articles are easily retrievable on Google, thus positioning AltamontEnterprise.com as a vital digital archive in addition to a contemporary news outlet.

Most impressively, The Enterprise has leveraged new media tools to expand its offerings. Like, from my vantage point, the Enterprise is less a “local newspaper” than it is a “local media company.”

There’s a dynamic community calendar where users can browse local events submitted by subscribers, and a “forum” section with user-generated classified ads, referrals, and general discussion topics posing such philosophical inquiries as, “What makes Jesse Sommer so irresistibly ravishing?” That thread is ready for your feedback, ladies — not all at once lest you crash the site.

But my favorite offering is the Altamont Enterprise’s podcasts. Here, news has gone from print to screen to audio — a fundamentally new medium affording a new means of engaging site content. Although you can access the podcasts through the Enterprise website, I do so through the Podcast app on my Phone.

Many episodes consist merely of summaries of the latest issues, presenting a succinct roll-up of the news in Albany County. Narrated by the editor, it’s a good resource for those who haven’t the time to read the paper cover to cover, or who want an efficient local briefing on the way to work, whether driving by car in the Capital District or while gazing down on the sands of Southwest Asia from a Blackhawk 1,200 feet above ground level.

These podcasts are also newsmakers in their own right, since several episodes consist of intriguing interviews with local people of interest. I urge Enterprise staff to announce new podcast content in the paper if they’re not doing so already; I was sincerely impressed by those discussions.  

So keep up the good work, Enterprise crew! I’m just so proud that you’re my hometown paper. All you need now is a societally-dismantling hyper-partisan political bias televised 24 hours a day on your own cable channel, and you’ll have finally become a respectable media company. #Goals.

Jesse Sommer

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