by Roger Pynn
The timely reporting of events has always been at the heart of the news business, and yet more and more often I’m seeing the word “recently” – a word that was verboten in my days as a journalism student – creep into news stories. In fact, I counted three in the last week where it was clear the story had been missed … one by as much as a week.
Not so long ago I’d have written a blog post about lazy reporting, but the more you look at this the more it becomes clear it is a matter of total change of focus for newspapers. The transition to “digital first” is happening more and more every day … and resources are being deployed for an era of a different type of reporting.
Our Orlando Sentinel provided great examples this week in its Business Monday section where we were treated in print to several stories you’d already have seen if you were subscribing to their new Growth Spotter – a subscription email product focusing strictly on business stories.
You can subscribe only to the Sentinel’s Web-based product for one fee and they throw Growth Spotter and a lot of newsletters in for “free,” or if you get the good old newspaper in your driveway, you get all the digital products as part of the deal. But you really have to wonder how long the broadsheet will be around. Perhaps one day they’ll give you the paper if you subscribe to the digital product.
But not if Tampa Bay Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash has his way. This essay published first in his paper and then shared via the related Poynter Institute website is an eloquent sermon on why media companies should do everything they can to sustain the newspaper … as an institution and as a product. Tash acknowledges exactly what I said about resource deployment.
In the end, people don’t buy newspapers – or click open their news websites – for the advertising. They are a collateral advantage of pursuing information and knowledge. People crave to know what is going on … right away, not recently.