editor on the verge

Online musings from the newsroom and beyond . . . by Yoni Greenbaum

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It’s NOT good enough – UPDATED

December 28th, 2007 · 3 Comments

It’s particularly on days like Thursday, Dec. 27, when the Associated Press must feel good about it itself.

As most people now know, Thursday morning Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on a street in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Although this tragic event occurred early in the morning, most New Jersey daily newspapers appeared either ill-prepared to localize the story or simply chose to leave that responsibility to say, the AP.

This matters because New Jersey has a sizeable Pakistani community. Whether you follow the U.S. Census which places it at about 12,000 as reported by the AP or you accept the research of the Pakistani American Leadership Center, which places it at 95,000 (and don’t forget the state’s significant Indian community) this was an international story with significant local interest.

Yet as of Thursday evening, three of the states largest newspapers (Bergen Record, Newark Star Ledger and Asbury Park Press) were using a local AP story on their sites. Only two of the handful of NJ’s Gannett newspapers were running a Gannett News Service piece about reaction from two of the state’s legislators to the killing. And note to the Bergen Record (and Herald News which shares the same website) one of the two legislators interviewed by GNS was your very own Congressman Bill Pascrell. Why? Because Pascrell is a member of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.

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→ 3 CommentsTags: Best Practices · Breaking News · Industry · Local Newspapers · Online · Reporting

Your guide to the Best of 2007 and Year in Review lists

December 27th, 2007 · No Comments

It’s the time of the year when seemingly every newspaper, news magazine and online news outlet is putting together their Year in Review and Best or Most Important Stories of the Year packages. I honestly don’t know who likes these more, readers or the people that work at the newspapers.

For those of you who do like these types of features, I’ve compiled a list of those who have already published their packages for your pleasure and enjoyment:

24-hour news networks:
CNN – Year in Review 2007
MSNBC – 2007 Year in Review

Wire Services:
Reuters – The Year in Review 2007 (In addition, Reuters also has a great News Aptitude Test for the year.)
Associated Press – Top News Story

Time Magazine – 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007
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→ No CommentsTags: Annual Events · Best Practices · Industry · Lists · Online

Website changes + no notice = frustrated readers

December 26th, 2007 · 6 Comments

Everyone loves a surprise, right?

When it comes to Hanukkah, Christmas for even birthday gifts, surprises are a big hit. But in terms of your website, surprises don’t really work.

Having been part of a number of redesigns, I can tell you that out of all the complaints that will typically come in, number one with a bullet will be “Why didn’t you tell me this was coming?” (Of course followed quickly by “What did you do to my website?” “What were you thinking?” and “I can’t find anything!“) Despite that, many newspapers still surprise their readers with everything from navigational changes to complete site redesigns.

What only serves to make a bad situation worse is the lack of follow through once the change is revealed — no house ads or even a note from the editor to explain what changed and why. So we’ve taken a bad initial decision and made it worse by failing to acknowledge it — sounds just like a newspaper, right?

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→ 6 CommentsTags: Best Practices · Industry · Innovation · Online · Ottaway

Best wishes to you all

December 25th, 2007 · No Comments

Happy holidays to all my readers, site visitors and colleagues. For those of you who were visited by Santa last night, I hope you got everything you wanted. As for all my Jewish colleagues, I hope you at least are getting holiday pay.

→ No CommentsTags: Annual Events · Mission