Skills for journalists in print and digital media

Print perspective in the digital age

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Rem Rieder, writing in American Journalism Review, arrives late to the realization that traditional morning-after hard news stories seem stale in the wake of real-time online coverage hours earlier. He observes, correctly, that:

With instant access to information available for so many people, an old-school hard news story looks pretty silly the following morning. In a world where so much information is widely available in real time, it’s imperative for news organizations to provide added value: analysis, perspective, context, narrative. And to make it interesting. Otherwise, what’s the point?

That’s been the case for years now.

The alternative for newspapers is “continuous coverage,” meaning a stream of coverage from the first short online post on through a growing package of online news during the day to the next day’s print story or package that provides the analysis and perspective. For newspapers trying to remain the number one news source in their communities, this has been the game plan for some time.

To build this kind of approach into the culture of your newsroom, it is important to settle on a set of online approaches that everyone is familiar with and can turn to as news unfolds. This can include the basic tools and clear standards and practices as to how to use them. There is also an editorial function, an aggressive but still  measured approach to rolling out the news through the day online. Then, most importantly, it also means breaking off someone, or allowing the primary reporter the time, to report and write a print story that takes the basic news and explores impact and context.

Done well, continuous coverage provides readers with the emerging facts as news happens online and then provides the perspective and wrap-up the next morning in the paper and online.


Written by mroberts8

12/02/2010 at 1:23 am

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