Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You be the editor

This is something I deal with all the time. Now it’s time for "you be the editor." See if you think we made the right call.

It’s late Tuesday morning here at the Daily Times. What has already been a busy morning, with a shooting outside Chester High School, is about to get even busier.

A tractor-trailer hauling a full load of trash has overturned on I-95 in Ridley Park. Slowly but surely, northbound traffic starts to slow down. The region’s busiest thoroughfare is about to become a parking lot.


Then the fun really started. The rig catches fire, and some of the trash is falling over the guardail down onto the railroad tracks below. Soon Amtrak and SEPTA rail lines are disrupted.

Northbound traffic on I-95 is stopped at the Blue Route. Cars are lining up all the way to the Delaware state line.

This is a big story. At least it was yesterday afternoon.

We immediately post an item on our Web site. It’s one of the things I like best about this technology. We can provide information immediately to our readers that not all that long ago would have had to wait for the next morning’s print edition. Our readers need that information as fast, and as often as we can deliver it. We update the Web story with I-95 North being closed, and then later on in the afternoon when a couple of lanes start to squeeze by. Finally, we post another update when the interstate is reopened altogether.

Here’s the dilemma: This was a big story. Yesterday afternoon. But now, maybe 18 hours later in the midst of another morning rush hour, does anyone care?

I like the immediacy our Web site affords us in terms of publishing. We can now "publish" 24 hours a day on our Web site. But the fact is we continue to "publish" in print just once a day.

We teased the story on the I-95 crash on our front page. But it wasn’t our lead story. Basically, it was yesterday’s news. We bring that to you, too.
Just don’t expect us to necessarily lead the newspaper with a story that was news 18 hours ago.

Agree or disagree? You be the editor. Drop me a response and we’ll see how many frustrated newspaper editors there are out there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you nailed it on the head. Worthwhile to have on the site....because people from DelCo were stuck...and will be curious to know a few more details. But not the lead story.

Good Call.

September 26, 2007 at 8:16 AM 

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