The fire broke out in the middle of the afternoon at Lacoma Golf Club.

In the ensuing hours, the blaze ripped through the clubhouse at the course in East Dubuque, Ill., and two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

It was the kind of major, breaking-news event that would warrant being on the front page of the next day’s newspaper – and it was.

But long before ink was put to paper, the Telegraph Herald was delivering news of the big fire to our tens of thousands of readers throughout the tri-state area.

Within minutes of arriving at the scene, one of our news reporters was tweeting out photos, videos and tidbits of information. He called in updates to the newsroom, our photographers sent in pictures – including some taken by drone — and we shared the latest on our website and all of our social media channels.

A breaking-news email arrived in thousands of local inboxes not long after the fire broke out, and our reporter and videographer went live via Facebook to provide real-time updates from the scene.

Technology has radically changed the way we deliver the news to our subscribers, and as new technological advances are made, the TH continues to explore ways to better serve the tri-state area.

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATEDThe evolution of technology always has shaped how news is delivered, and the TH and other newspapers long have been quick to take advantage of new avenues to deliver our content to our readers.

One of the latest examples for the TH can sometimes be spotted high overhead.

The newspaper received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2016 to use drones in our newsgathering, and our photo editor and senior photographer are licensed drone pilots.

The results have been remarkable.

Our drone use has captured breathtaking photos of a wide range of local locations and happenings – from an overhead look at river commerce on the Mississippi to a bird’s-eye view of beautiful natural features such as Horseshoe Bluff in Mines of Spain State Recreation Area. But it also has provided a new perspective on major news events such as the July derailment of a freight train along the Mississippi River south of Glen Haven, Wis.

(On page 16 of this section, Photo Editor Dave Kettering discusses our use of drones.)

Still, the internet continues to have the biggest technological impact on the news industry, providing opportunities for the TH to deliver the latest news to our readers in a more-timely manner and through a wide variety of platforms.

Long gone are the days when coverage like the Lacoma clubhouse fire had to wait until the next day’s print edition. The TH can – and has – shared the latest news at all hours of the day.

TelegraphHerald.com garners millions of user views each month, offering up both stories that were in that day’s print edition as well as both local and national updates throughout the day. About 40,000 users also get updates by following TH accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Our Instagram presence continues to grow, and our recently launched YouTube channel is quickly gaining followers.

Our other news offerings include a smartphone app and a variety of emails that deliver specific content right to you.

In addition to stories, we can easily and quickly share photos, videos, relevant documents, audio recordings and polls.

The advances also allow us to more easily share photos and videos submitted by TH readers.

MORE THAN JUST TECHAs always, though, newsgathering is about more than just using technology.

Delivering the news entails more than sharing the latest cellphone photo or video, or using a Facebook page or website to simply post the latest press release or police or fire call dispatched over the scanner.

That’s where trained journalists like those at the TH come in, making phone calls, talking to sources at scenes and experts elsewhere, digging through documents and attending public meetings.

We combine those efforts with technological advances to deliver full and complete stories from the 10 counties and three states in our service area.

That one-two punch of journalism plus technology was critical in one of the TH’s most-acclaimed stories in recent years – an in-depth look at an officer-involved fatal shooting in Grant County, Wis.

Videos and audio recordings of the incident reviewed by the TH supplemented the extensive interviews our reporters conducted, as well as our review of nearly 350 pages of documents and about 400 photos related to the shooting.

The project garnered statewide investigative awards from the Iowa Newspaper Association in 2019 and The Associated Press in 2018.

In our award-winning coverage of accusations against East Dubuque’s now-former assistant police chief and city manager, some city officials leaned on technology, emailing statements to the media rather than answer questions initially. Some organizations took that information and shared it without question.

TH reporters called a range of sources, made public-information requests and attended meeting after meeting to bring the full story to our readers.

Just as always, technology can be used to enhance journalism, but not replace it.

Copyright, Telegraph Herald. This story cannot be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior authorization from the TH.


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