News flash: Web and print are different

For years, I’ve been preaching the concepts behind continually updated news sites, telling reporters and editors — get the news on the Web quickly, don’t try to polish or perfect, just publish and update as you learn more. There is time later to write your literary lede and your new journalism narrative, but right now, keep the Web site fresh and relevant.

That was a mighty long winded way of saying what an E&P editor said today in six words: Web for ‘News’ — Print for ‘Stories’

Elegant in its simplicity. Indispensable in its truth.

The Web is perfect for distilled news — just give the readers the facts and let them move on to the next click. Write headlines to be skimmed, stories to be scanned. Save the literary gems for print — and for the sake of print subscriptions, make those stories sing.

From the E&P column by Greg Bowers:

The truth is, newspapers are in a particularly good position to play this new game. They just haven’t realized it yet.

Newspaper staffs continue to be the largest newsgathering organizations in their communities. But they also have another unique feature: They have real writers, writers who can tell the stories, interpret the stories and put the stories into context. They have the columnists who can cajole and entertain.

Transforming print news means getting away from commodity news. It means making our writing more engaging. It should mean more craft and less fact churning.

On the Web, however, speed and ease rule.

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