editor on the verge

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

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Who’s to blame?

February 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment

So someone gave me the flu and it has me wrecked. I’ve started a few posts, but just don’t have the energy to see them through. I hope to be back blogging, tweeting and everything else in a few days. Thanks for hanging in there.

→ 1 CommentTags: Editor on the verge · Editor on the Verge · Mission

Too much clutter can ruin your site

February 22nd, 2008 · 3 Comments

When was the last time that you went through your closet? Is there a chance you still have a Members Only jacket or a pair of parachute pants? Over the years have you added new pieces to your wardrobe without getting rid of the old? Are you at a point where you just don’t know what you have?

Well, minus the jacket, pants and maybe denim overalls, the same description can also be applied to many newspaper websites.

Over the years many sites new content, features, sections and even navigation are added only to be pushed to the virtual back and forgotten. The situation is further complicated by staffing churns that strip newsrooms of institutional memory, so what is old is quickly forgotten. Approaches such as site audits or even Spring Cleanings aren’t commonly practiced. So everything just builds and builds and builds.

As a reader of these sites, I’ve come across special sections for three-year-old events, coverage of previous elections or long forgotten education issues. Seeing this type of outdated content causes me to question the reliability and quality of the entire site. While I understand that in theory online space is unlimited, that doesn’t mean that you never have to thrown anything away.

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→ 3 CommentsTags: Audience Development · Best Practices · Content · Design · Industry · Online

Journalism mourns a loss

February 20th, 2008 · 6 Comments

Journalism, specifically newspapers, lost a champion and I lost a friend and mentor Tuesday night when Jonathan Maslow lost his year-long battle with cancer.

Jonathan, 59, was assistant city editor at one of my former newspapers, the Herald News of West Paterson, NJ. But that experience doesn’t come close to describing his career. By the time that I interviewed him for the then-open position of features editor, Jonathan was a noted author, naturalist, environmentalist, filmmaker, world traveler and award-winning journalist and journalism educator. I new that he was something different when at the start of that interview he asked if “we were going to be long” and then summarily removed his shoes and made himself comfortable in his chair.

Thankfully, we didn’t hire him as features editor and in the coming years Jonathan became a senior and valued member of my team, a colorful leader in our newsroom and a mentor to dozens of young reporters.

Jonathan didn’t flaunt his career, rather choosing to teach and guide young reporters using their own experiences. He didn’t cite his experiences in Bolivia Chile, Turkmenistan or his “8,000-mile journey through Russia’s remote provinces.” And, even after returning from shadowing an Iraqi-American making the dangerous journey back to Baghdad in the early days of the war, Jonathan didn’t express any sense of reporting seniority.

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→ 6 CommentsTags: In Memoriam · Industry · Leadership

Reporters should pay attention to their online reputation

February 19th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Do you know who is talking about you?

Newspaper reporters are used to readers writing letters to the editor complaining about or complementing their work. They know that their names can be raised at governmental meetings and even in other publications. But are they equally aware that their names may appear in online forums, chat rooms or elsewhere online?

Thanks to the growth of the Internet, it is not uncommon for people to discuss online what they’ve recently read. In addition to stumbling and digging stories, readers can post them to their Facebook or Myspace profiles as well as to dozens of other social bookmarking and sharing sites. So many place for a reporters name or writing to appear, that they might just lose track.

There are a couple of approaches to dealing with this issue:

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Audience Development · Beat Development · Online · Reporting