195774_205453649489480_4485900_n

A note about the police reports on Facebook

The jig is up.

Some of the fans of the Chronicle Police Reports page on Facebook have noticed that the blotter items posted there are not posted on the same day they appear in the paper or online. In fact, some of them appear on Facebook several weeks after they first appeared in print.

There is a reason for that, and it involves a little math, so bear with me.

We post five times a day to the Chronicle Police Reports page, at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. We chose five time slots so that we aren’t overwhelming our followers’ walls/timelines with amusing glimpses of small-city crime.

These are automatic posts — we use a service called Hootsuite to schedule them ahead of time. You’ll have to forgive me for automating part of the process, but it makes life a lot easier to schedule a month’s worth at a time rather than counting on me to remember to post them five times a day.*

Figure that on a typical day when our reporters turn in the police reports, there are between 10 and 20 items listed there. Some of them will be mundane, and we try not to post the mundane ones on Facebook, so you can shave a few reports off that total.

Now, with just five posting slots per day and 10 to 20 new items each day, you can see how we quickly fall behind the print edition’s publishing schedule.

That is why you see some of the reports weeks after you may have read them in the paper or online.

I understand this can lead to some confusion on certain blotter items, but I figure that the entertainment value of the police reports transcends the dates of the incidents involved.

If you’d like to discuss this, feel free to add comments below or to email me at [email protected] or call me at 406-582-2657.

*If you are devastated or otherwise offended to learn that we automate the postings here, I offer this insider tip by way of apology: I try to schedule what I deem to be the funniest reports for the 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. time slots. Enjoy!