State of the industry, continued

Lots of stuff out there lately, I’m just catching up now after doing some travelling. and won’t be blogging much for the next couple of weeks I’m on vacation at Prince Edward Island this week and next, but still I’m able to blog! I’m actually in a campground that is a stone’s throw from the ocean. Right next to the “general store” is a coffee shop that has wireless access. So, I sit here and blog and do my part-time editing gig for — all from a fairly remote location.

How cool is that?

So, I kind of chuckled when I saw Amy Gahran’s post on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits blog Romenesko about the memo from Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor Mike Leary to the paper’s staff. It leads with: “…We are adopting an Inquirer first policy for our signature investigative reporting, enterprise, trend stories, news features, and reviews of all sorts. What that means is that we won’t post those stories online until they’re in print.”

Really, Mike? So, your print audience is growing?

Gahran also has an interview with Chris Krewson, the Inquirer’s executive editor for online/news where she writes, in part: “Krewson contends that this policy shift is part of a strategy to create complementary differentiation between the roles of the print and online operations.”

“Complementary differentiation?”

Yeah, ok. Ah, it’s deja vu all over again. This conversation has been going on for so long it hurts my head. At The Post, one editor once asked me how the Web could be used to promote the newspaper. And that was probably about five years ago. So far this summer, I’ve had several meetings with newspaper editors at various organizations — trying to talk them all out of the mindset of putting out the newspaper first, with the Web as an afterthought. Sorry, folks, but you’re not going to save the business thinking like that. The audience is growing on the Web. And, well, it isn’t in print. It’s the journalism and the brand that matters, not how it’s delivered

It’s like my good friend Matt says: “We all need to stop killing trees.”

Media companies will survive by working in conjunction with the people working on the electronic delivery part of the operation. Maintaining a mindset that the newspaper comes first and that the Web site is the ugly step cousin will only put off the inevitable. It’s short-sighted and not good business.

And, as we as a journalism department continue to find ways to converge and use technology in our classrooms, we will continue to be ahead of the curve of many in the industry.


About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at He also edits part-time for with the NFL and college football network.
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2 Responses to State of the industry, continued

  1. agahran says:

    Hi, Steve

    Minor correction — my post was on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits blog. Jim Romenesko is the only one who posts on his blog.

    – Amy Gahran

  2. David says:

    While you’re out there, Steve, please thank the trees for their service. For generations, they have laid down their lives for quality journalism. Someday perhaps we will no longer need to call on them, but not yet.


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