(Bradley Wilson)

Austonia reporter Emma Freer reviews a story, pre-pandemic.

As a local reporter, I'm well versed in deciphering city council meeting agendas, press releases and COVID dashboards.

But even I'm overwhelmed by the current news cycle, which is crammed with critical stories—from pandemic trends and seemingly daily local policy changes to the upcoming 2020 election and post office updates.

So we at Austonia would like to offer readers a new way to get the news you want and need—at your fingertips.

By signing up for the free Austonia Text trial program, you'll receive one text, maybe two, with the day's top stories—straight from the reporters who wrote them.

I've been leading this effort and have found it to be a great way to chat with readers. So far, they've shared questions, follow-up story ideas and even some constructive criticism. In exchange, I send out one of our top stories each day, along with some behind-the-scenes commentary.

This service is the only one of its kind in the Austin area, and we'll only use it when we think a story merits the extra ping. We're testing it out for 90 days to see if it's a valuable resource for our readers. If enough people are interested, we may make this service an Austonia staple.

In this strange pandemic period, I've been working from home, which means spending a lot of time on the phone and navigating my email inbox. Being able to communicate directly with readers—whom I otherwise would have talked to in the lobby of City Hall or on the bus or at a coffee shop—has been a welcome addition to my day. I hope you'll join in.

You can sign up by clicking on this link or typing your phone number into the box located in the sidebar of the website.

(Fox Sports)

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