About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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« Closing the Revenue Gap | Main | The New Media »

December 11, 2006



The easy solution is running a second-day story instead of a breaking news story. Seems simple enough. Run the analysis/developments as your lede, with a little fact-box up high to document what we already know.

The "olds" effect is magnified, unfortunately, when a small local paper runs a day-old international wire story on A1. Let's call this the "Pinochet in Poughkeepsie" problem.

John Robinson

So right, Mark. The challenge that we have is that many of our, shall we say, "traditional" readers, want the paper the way it's always been. Even if they saw it on broadcast news, they still want it front and center in the paper.

It takes a thick skin and a leap of faith to make the shift to look forward rather than backward in your news coverage. It's doable, though. We're trying.

Mark Potts

Thanks, John. You guys are doing such great work in Greensboro. One might argue that the audience that's most important is not current readers as much as it is the people who don't get the paper because they find it irrelevant. Growth--or a reversal of the current decline in circulation--will come from them. Somewhere, there's a balance between the two.

Brian Cubbison

In Syracuse, The Post-Standard posts breaking news online throughout the day. We've recently created the position of early-morning online reporter. We have a large stable of staff bloggers, and we're doing video. I've urged editors of the print newspaper* to think of what we now call the day-and-a-half lede.

But lately I've been asking people who think about the future of newspapers: Does it make sense for the print edition to try to win back from the Web the readers who already like the Web? Or should the message be: If you like getting the news from the Web, you'll love getting our news from the Web? Should then the paper be as traditional as possible for people who want their news in the traditional way?

* a retronym, like broadcast television or natural grass.

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