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.

January 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Blog powered by Typepad

« GateHouseGate | Main | Unhappy New(s) Year »

December 31, 2008


Tim Windsor


To be fair, I think this particular boondoggle is being driven more from the executive suites.

Tribune's Lee Abrams is representative - if a bit more spittle-lipped - of what I suspect is an overall desire to cash in, both journalistically and, because no successful event in newspaperdom happens without being slavishly copied, through the sales of "commemorative editions" from sea to shining sea:


...on the newspaper side, a nice AFDI from the Hartford Courant:
We're devoting one of our two open nation/world print pages to Obama-related coverage every day, under the page topper CHANGE08. This includes a package of short items under the header OBAMA WATCH. We're referring daily from A1 to the CHANGE08 page and its corresponding web content, as well as to daily coverage in the Features sections.

We plan to run an "8-pack" of historic election pages from the Courant archives -- one each Sunday, from November 30 through January 18 -- starting with our coverage of George Washington's election in 1789. Each Sunday, a four-page broadsheet insert will feature a cover introduction and strip ad, an historic page spread across the inside double-truck, and a back cover ad. The "8-pack" -- Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and W -- will connect to expanded online content, including all 44 historic election pages from the Courant. Circulation, marketing, NIE (as well as advertising) are all actively involved. This is a big opportunity for us, and the content of these pages is fascinating (statewide town-by-town results, for example, of the Lincoln-Douglas race). The cover introduction to each Sunday section will reference the changing nature of the newspaper's coverage (until Harding in 1888, presidential elections were reported on page 2). The pages also place the recent redesign in the context of constant, dramatic change in the look of the paper.

Beginning Sunday, January 11, a strong daily A1 and CtLiving cover presence of Obama-related stories, boldly labeled and linked to the web. We may follow a Connecticut social studies class in a serial narrative of short, daily dispatches on A1 (akin to our Charlie Company series from Iraq), with strong web presence, student blogs, photos, etc., as they travel to DC for the inauguration .

Sunday, January 18, our version of Chicago Tribune's "Obama, A Life in Photos" OR Tribune-wide special section. Special editions of iTOWNS, featuring kids' letters to Obama.

John Robinson

We're sending a reporter and photographer to the swearing in...of the new N.C. senator, who lives in Greensboro. Going to get a series of stories from the visit to D.C.

Oh, you mean that other swearing in ceremony? Nah, not so much.


You should note that one reason local newspapers send reporters to cover the inauguration of a new president is not the swearing-in ceremony, but the inaugural balls. You will find your local Democratic heavy-hitters here, and can do some old-fashioned society bits for your newspaper. You also have local stories involved in the bands, etc., participating in the parade. I don't know if you were involved in inaugural coverage in your reporting days, but the Senate Press Gallery pass was needed to get into many events, and your local police pass was of absolutely no use.


Really great distinction b/w "want to go" and "need to go." Good lesson here beyond newspapers, too, re: sending folks to conferences and seminars. Some industries--cable TV being one--are so wrapped up in their own conferences that they sometimes forget about the value equation. Cable has consolidated many of its conferences over the past 2 years which is a huge cost savings for the industry both in direct outlay as well as productivity.

The comments to this entry are closed.