editor on the verge

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

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“Yes, we’re working on it…”

February 15th, 2008 · No Comments

Technical problems persist. I hope to have a new post up later this evening. Sorry for the interruption and I appreciate your continued support and interest.

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Palm Beach looks to the future

February 13th, 2008 · 5 Comments

The Palm Beach Post has decided to actually do what so many people in journalism have only been willing to talk about. But with the exception of a few blog posts including one from Erica Smith of graphicdesignr.net fame, that news has largely gone ignored.

Just about a week ago, Managing Editor Bill Rose announced in a memo, “it’s time to change.” Rose went on to make a compelling argument:

“For too long, we’ve stuck with a structure that was designed to serve a print newspaper. We’ve sort of grafted the Internet onto that and it’s worked, but not nearly well enough. Especially in this time of economic uncertainty, we cannot continue to do things the same way we’ve done them for decades upon decades. The Internet now represents a significant and growing source of revenue at a time when our revenue is not what it used to be. For us to make the Web an afterthought would be pretty foolhardy.”

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→ 5 CommentsTags: Industry · Innovation · Leadership · Online · Organization

Online story presentation: Give me a break

February 12th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Too many newspaper websites are simply online recreations of their printed products. These sites do little to take advantage of the opportunities being online provide. And worse, what bad habits they have in print, they replicate online.

Case in point — long stories.

It is well known that “lack of time” is one of the main, if not the main, reasons why readers cancel their subscriptions. Many newspapers have tried to address this by offering shorter stories or, at the very least, reduce the number of long stories that they publish. In a memo last year to the staff of the Washington Post, Executive Editor Len Downie and Managing Editor Phil Bennett wrote:

“For too long we’ve confused length with importance. Often the result has been stories that readers don’t want to finish and displays in the newspaper that don’t do our journalism justice.”

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Audience Development · Best Practices · Industry · Innovation · Online · Reporting · Traffic

How the newspaper industry squandered the writer’s strike

February 11th, 2008 · 3 Comments

I wonder if, during the height of the writer’s strike, newspapers missed out on an opportunity to reintroduce their printed products and/or websites to readers looking for alternatives to reruns and Reality TV? It just seems to me that, as more people were turning to their computers and/or picking up books, newspapers could have used the time to say, in effect, “Hey, remember us? We’re still here and look what we have for you!

But instead, the big beneficiary of the strike has been online video sites. In December 2007, according to comScore:

  • 77.6 million viewers watched 3.2 billion videos on YouTube.com (41.6 videos per viewer).
  • 40.5 million viewers watched 334 million videos on MySpace.com (8.2 videos per viewer).
  • The average online video viewer consumed 72 videos.

“With the writer’s strike keeping new TV episodes from reaching the airwaves, viewers have been seeking alternatives for fresh content,” said comScore executive Erin Hunter, “It appears that online video is stepping in to help fill that void.”

Sound to me like that was an opportunity for newspapers, no?

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→ 3 CommentsTags: Audience Development · Industry · MySpace · Online · Traffic · Video · YouTube