By Steve Outing
Earlier this afternoon I tossed off a Twitter post that needs more than 140 characters to explain what I’m thinking. … What raised my disgust was this memo posted on Romenesko by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s managing editor, explaining a new policy to stop posting “signature investigative reporting, enterprise, trend stories, news features, and reviews of all sorts” on the Philly.com website first. (Breaking news still goes to the website right away.)
OK, I understand the thinking: The print product is suffering and this is a way to give it an edge — to encourage people to think that there’s some good stuff that you’ll get first by sticking with print.
But this is an argument that has been decided (or so I thought), so it’s disheartening to see a major newspaper go backward.
Jeff Jarvis said it nicely and succinctly in a Twitter post: “Insanely, suicidally stupid. If we keep out the gas stations, we’ll force them to ride horses, damnit.”
What’s long held back the newspaper industry and gotten it in the current mess has been holding back online innovation that might impact the legacy product (print). The kind of serious innovation that might have avoided the turmoil we’re now seeing among newspapers (especially larger metros like the Inquirer) could only take place with an attitude of “Let’s completely forget about the print edition and just try to build the best damn online service possible.”
But the industry didn’t do that, for the most part, instead settling for incremental innovation that wouldn’t upset things too much on the legacy side. That’s exactly the thinking that’s in this Inquirer memo.
I find this memo so discouraging.
- Storytelling at the scene of the (insert news event here) - February 4, 2015
- Live events: Best of current ideas for better funding journalism - February 1, 2015
- A text-message storytelling tool: How about for news? - January 4, 2015
- Final days to share your news business model! - December 28, 2014
- Reboot blog! - December 28, 2014
- Brainstorm! What are future ways to fund news organizations? - October 9, 2014
- HBO has losing game with ‘Thrones’ - October 2, 2014
- A dilemma: Where to host a social-media discussion group - September 10, 2014
- Writing About the Future: A new community you should join! - September 7, 2014
- Future scenarios at work as a tool for climate advocacy - September 4, 2014