Friday, August 8, 2008

The Web Is Your Friend

Yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer announced a new policy on posting on the web. Its internal memo, as reported by Romenesko, in part read:

Colleagues – Beginning today, 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. We'll cooperate with, as we do now, in preparing extensive online packages to accompany our enterprising work. But we'll make the decision to press the button on the online packages only when readers are able to pick up The Inquirer on their doorstep or on the newsstand.

If I read this right, not only will the Inquirer hold the story from its web site until the paper is published, but it will not post the story until the paper is delivered.

Papers with policies such as this often die. It is not 1995. Newspapers have to aggressively use the web to their advantage, not only in the editorial process, but in marketing and advertising. In order for news organizations (that is, newspapers) to grow in the 21st Century, they have to shed themselves from the ideal that the primary source of news today is the ink and paper product.

And, what does it mean when the memo says they "we'll co-operate with". Aren't they working for the same team?

This seems to be a short-sighted policy, and unfortunately, they are not alone in newspaper journalism.

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