Here’s a good piece on the success of SignOnSanDiego.com’s break news team:
Team members confer with their editors frequently, but they often edit postings for each other, and they don’t wait for assignments or debate whether to head out for a promising story.
Karen Kucher, one of the original members of the team and an assistant editor, said, “Our default is supposed to be to go.”
And for those who think web-first publishing is somehow an affront to journalistic propriety:
Through its speedy postings, the team competes directly with TV, Baker said. “But we get it right, we don’t run stuff that’s not confirmed yet, and we don’t sensationalize it.”
Greg Gross, who’s been in this business more than 30 years, said of the team’s work, “There were all sorts of uncertainties on the mechanics and maybe the wisdom of it. That has all faded away with amazing speed.”
And some might be surprised to learn that not only does this approach help grow audience, it is also journalisticly satisfying.
Mallory said, “I’ve never experienced more gratitude from readers for anything we’ve done in journalism than for the simple postings on the news blog, three or four paragraphs at a time, of reliable, confirmed information, sortable by area.”
With this kind of breaking news, readers care more about the information than the prose. As Gross said, “I don’t feel as if I’m writing or reporting for the ages . . . and much to my surprise, I’m fine with that.”
Somebody should send this piece to the cranky copy editors, or whatever other forum is out there where newspaper people spit bile at web publishing.