As I write this column today, I write it not from my usual location at home, rather in a more unique location that is truly a one of a kind experience. Today’s column, as well as many more columns to come of course, is written in The Register Citizen’s new Newsroom Cafe, a unique idea triggered by The Journal Register Company to bring the community in. They have completely transformed the newsroom as we know it today, and The Register Citizen here in Torrington was the first newsroom in the country to do this. Here, there is an internet cafe where members of the community can come in, enjoy a cup of coffee, and interact with members of the news team as they surf the web on their laptops thanks to the free wi-fi that is offered. Not only that, but there is also a community media lab where bloggers and citizen journalists, such as myself, can come to update their blogs on their magnificent Samsung LCD computers.
Also in the newsroom is a very cool classroom where bloggers that have partnered with The Register Citizen, such as myself, can come to take journalism courses. The space is also offered to the community at large as they are able to use it as a meeting space as well. It has plenty of seating along with a 55″ television that is capable of hosting video chats. Perhaps the most interesting fact about this new newsroom is its involvement with the community. Undoubtedly, The Register Citizen has gone above and beyond this term as they have brought the community into its newsroom. On its first day, they had over 100 visitors stop by and check out the new pad. Not only that, but they also hosted their first live 4pm newsroom meeting which hosted not only reporters, but also members of the community as they were allowed to chime in on topics. The meeting was broadcast live to Registercitizen.com where viewers could chime in through a very neat chat session. The chat session allowed viewers to essentially be at the meeting and weigh in on topics, as well as offer some suggestions. One suggestion was brought up regarding a possible review of a new restaurant that opened up in Torrington, and that suggestion was brought to the table from the host of the chat session here at The Register Citizen.
There is no doubt, that this is all a very new world that we are living in, a more connected world thanks to the revolution of social media and advancements in technology. If someone were to ask me five years ago what I would be doing in five years, I would never in my wildest dreams ever think to tell them that I would be a huge part of a more digital world as I blogged away at a community based newsroom. It is absolutely incredible to see such a newsroom, like The Register Citizen, completely transform itself as it brings the community together in more ways than one. This unique experience, for me, is certainly quite the dream come true. I am more than thrilled to be partnered with The Register Citizen, and I thank publisher Matt DeRienzo for such a unique opportunity. I never would have thought that I would have moved to good ol’ small town USA and come to write a blog for the community that I live in, which attracts readers not only from Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, but from around the world as well, which is all thanks to a live feed from my blog that streams on Registercitizen.com. We may all be a world apart, but thanks to these unique moves from The Journal Register Company, the world has certainly become much closer.