During the mid-aughts, the conversation was often about the
volume of news available online versus what ran in print. Much of that
debate continues today, especially with the many readers who prefer the
print edition telling me often they dont like to read constant
reminders that they can go to KansasCity.com for more.
want to go to www-dot-anything, said one recent caller. I feel like if
(editors) think its important enough to put in the paper, they should
put all the pertinent information there. If it doesnt make the cut,
then it must not have been worth telling.
Thats one way of
looking at it. But of course on the other hand, the Internet isnt
hamstrung by the restrictions of physical space as the paper is.
as the worldwide publishing industry adapts to the realities that
increasing numbers of people are consuming its products on computers and
especially mobile phones, the tea leaves dont show a rosy story for
the long-tail future of paper.
Im not predicting the demise of
print any time soon, by the way but its an undeniable truth that the
business model that has sustained newspapers and magazines for
generations has changed permanently. I believe print will be with us
forever, though it will evolve and become something none of us can
foresee from here.
And while the hectoring online pundit class
loves to wag its finger at the print medias adaptation to the digital
age, its worth noting that nobody yet has cracked the code
definitively. Remember MySpace and Groupon? Fortunes change fast on the
These days, readers critiques of how The Star delivers
the news often turn to questions of timing. For example, Julie Llorente
was one of the subscribers whose paper delivery was delayed because of
the massive snowfall last week. She wrote:
I went online and read news and opinion. Today I did get the paper but the news and opinion were what I read yesterday. What?
understand why thats jarring, especially to someone who doesnt
consume news primarily online. Thats the way its always been for
morning newspapers, which must be printed in the wee hours of the night
in order to be on the driveways and racks in the morning. But today, the
news gets posted online as soon as its ready in most cases. That leads
to deja vu this reader experienced.
Those among us who spend
great portions of the day connected can get lulled into the false
assumption that the rest of the world operates the same way. That just
isnt the case. Many people, even those who are highly tech-savvy and
unafraid of the Internet, simply dont lead their lives connected to
email, Twitter and the hundreds of other digital fishhooks out there.
always on mentality just doesnt appeal to these readers. I get
irritated with media people who think they have to be first with
everything, wrote my emailer. Seems to me that people will read or
watch what they want to based on experience and personalities they
prefer rather than who claims to be first or breaking with news that we
will all see in five minutes regardless.
I think her insight here
is spot on. Ive long thought that journalists care far more about
being first with a story than the readership does. In a big story such
as the winter storm or the explosion that leveled JJs restaurant, its
obvious that every news source in town will devote considerable
resources to whats going on.
Few readers are going to sift
through website and tweet timestamps to make their consumption decisions
based on who was first. And as always, first and inaccurate is a heck
of a lot more damaging to a reporters reputation than taking the time
to get it right.