About Me

  • I'm CEO of Newspeg.com, a social news-sharing platform. I've spent 20 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. You can read more about me here.

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« Alt.AP | Main | When The (Printed) News Seems Old »

December 03, 2008


Chris M.

No mention of the Tribune's popular breaking news page, which smartly combines assets from across the company and gives a unique and identifiable URL strong promotion on all Tribune outlets from TV & radio to online and in print?


The philly.com example is an also example of hiding the breaking news link on the home page. Tribune (and others) trumpets it.

Danny Sanchez

Mark, I agree completely that news sites should be focused on up-to-the-minute news, but I disagree with the sentiment that most news sites didn't embraced this several years ago.

Using Florida as an example, since that's where I've worked at various news sites, I never experienced a web operation that didn't put a priority on getting breaking news on its site. That may not have been true five years ago, but this mindset has been in place for at least the last three or more years. While the Orlando Sentinel (where I work) also just launched a Chicago Tribune-like Breaking News section, that doesn't mean our site wasn't providing continuous breaking news throughout the day. The St. Pete Times has had its This Just In blog --which covers overnight news-- for several years now (I worked there as well). In the Central Florida market, even smaller print publications such as the Leesburg Daily Commercial, Lakeland Ledger and Orlando Business Journal frequently post breaking news on their sites. All the local TV news sites post breaking news as well. The same holds true in the South Florida and Tampa Bay areas.

The only cases where breaking news on the web has not been a priority is with particularly small publications that probably don't have the resources nor revenue potential to do it, though this is quickly changing as powerful production tools have become open-source.

Mark Potts

Danny: Thanks for the comment. I agree that many large newspaper sites have dabbled in regularly updated news for years, but even at some of those sites there have been internal impediments to fully embracing it. And in any case, I think the advent of Twitter and news blogs are now allowing what is, in effect, streaming news. Rather than waiting for a story to get written, edited and posted, there's much more real-time publishing now.

Danny Sanchez

Mark: You're right; by no means have newspapers reached their full potential in providing breaking news delivered in interesting ways. Twitter is a great step. However, the value of Twitter I think goes far beyond providing breaking news. It can be a great tool in forming a relationship with readers. We've had some success with blog-specific Twitter accounts, such as our Moms at Work blog (http://twitter.com/momsatwork). Not to pick on the Trib again, but their ColonelTribune character at twitter.com/coloneltribune seems to be a hit too.

The biggest impediment I've witnessed at newspapers in regards to posting breaking news is the newspaper-first mentality where stories --often but not always exclusives-- get held too often for the print edition. That said, I think most newspaper sites have gotten pretty good at posting the obvious "breaking news," such as fires, crime, disasters and so on. Nevertheless, we should always strive to do more for our readers.

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