Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Delivering the news

Not everyone was on board with my thoughts yesterday, in my print column, about the new news ecology and how we increasingly are delivering the news.

The gentleman left me a fairly detailed voice-mail overnight sounding a warning about our rush to push this information to the public as fast as possible.

In my column I had relayed how we used our Web site and social media to get out the news about the train tragedy in Norwood recently, delivering the story to readers long before we ever printed a single word in print.

He told me that he had actually turned off his computer several months ago and firmly believes that our headlong rush into the cyberworld is going to lead to nothing but ruin.

I have to admit there are times when I might agree with him. Such as when I view an item that I have just posted online and realize I have made a huge typo in the headline. Some recent commenters on the Web site have taken great joy in pointing out just such foibles.

The man told me of his passion for picking up the newspaper each morning, and then slowly, carefully consuming its contents. It’s a passion I share, if one that I very rarely get an occasion to enjoy, with the possible exception of a lazy Sunday morning.

Everything I do now I do quickly, especially when it comes to delivering the news. Do I have concerns about mistakes, now built into the news-gathering – and delivering – process? You bet I do. My favorite thing about the Internet remains the fact that a mistake is only a few keystrokes away from disappearing.

The bottom line is there is no turning back the clock. Delivering news online as well as via social media is now part of our journalistic mission.

Doing it accurately will remain a priority as well. Even if we stumble from time to time.


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