Monday, December 04, 2006
Shooting From the Hip is Risky Business
Frank Ahrens writes about the changing newspaper business in a story entitled A Newspaper Chain Sees Its Future, And It’s Online and Hyper-Local in today’s Washington Post. Gannett’s stock dropped 25% and the chain realized that it had to address the problem which is facing many newspapers across the country.
With more and more people turning to alternative news sources, it seems a reasonable course to explore. In my own hometown of Montgomery, which has a Gannett newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, I have noticed the on-line changes to the reader forum, TalkAlabama, as well as news and other sections. Some are good like the videos you can find of local news and interviews. That’s a nice touch missing in the printed word. However, what is sorely lacking is attention to investigative stories. It’s almost as if we have a weekly community newspaper which is a fine type of journalism, but this is the capital city and there are bigger fish to fry.
The WaPo story focuses on the changes as they are happening at the Fort Myers News-Press. One of the most alarming changes to this old J school grad is that stories are being posted on-line before being edited. Every reporter needs that safety net. It’s all well and good to be innovative and daring, but I’m afraid shooting from the hip doesn’t work in international diplomacy or in the news business.