Sunday, September 6, 2009

Memories, all alone in the moonlight . . .

The key times for web traffic to online newspapers is morning when people are getting to work, and lunch time when they’re on a break.

The daily paper where I work is one in a sea of media outlets stuck in the past by filling our website with yesterday’s local news and predominantly wire copy.

I always found the deadlines for print media were more friendly than my broadcast brethren, and I admit I loved the luxury. But those days are over, and print has to deliver the news faster than ever before. Our readers demand it. We must deliver.

It’s been my experience that it’s difficult to work in a top-heavy, editor- run newsroom that does not free up staff to be innovative and efficient. Journalists know what stories, photos and videos can be produced and posted quickly and which ones need more time. Let us participate in the decision.

I’ve offered to take photos on my day off if I’m attending a local event that isn’t being assigned, and I’ve been turned down. Is it overtime? A photo only takes a few moments. You can’t spare the equipment? I checked with the other reporters, and our bases are covered. Is it the 45 minutes or so to produce a video? Let me come to work a bit later, let me leave a bit earlier. Is there no interest in publishing the photo in the print product? Who said anything about the print product?

Digital journalism is not just a side show, it’s the main event. It takes planning to make best use of limited resources (the workers) and consistently deliver fresh news and information in time for peak web traffic.

The Internet offers a lot of detours for readers who feel roadblocked by sluggish local media. We’ll have no one to blame but ourselves if we don’t clear the road and end the gridlock.

The Hyper Journalist


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