Newspapers Looking to Tighten Print & Web Ties

    January 3, 2007

The lines that separate print and online journalism are becoming ever blurred as we move into a new year. Old media has been hesitant to embrace the Internet as a new frontier of information, but it appears at least one major newspaper is looking to create a holistic, three-dimensional reading experience for its subscribers.

In December, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report documenting the projected amount of time that the average American will devote to the different media platforms this year. According to the findings, the Internet moved ahead of newspapers on the list of methods in which people obtain news and information.

As a web journalist, I can’t help but feel a little tinge of satisfaction as the big name newspapers clamor around trying to figure out just exactly what to make of this paradigm shift.

Honestly, I believe the culture has shifted to a culture of “cafeteria news” in which we pick and choose which specific information we choose to consume. It’s much easier to filter and dissect that information in an online format than fumbling around in a clunky, heavy, obtrusive newspaper.

The Washington Post began its online operations over ten years ago. Perhaps the higher ups at the paper had some foresight about the future of journalism in the United States, or perhaps it was just the trendy thing to do at the time, I’m really not sure either way.

Regardless, it seems that in the here and now, the Post has the right idea about how to merge print and online journalism. The paper is focusing its efforts on providing an integrated reading experience to subscribers.

In January, editors will begin to “help us at the Web site and at the paper think smartly about more three-dimensional ways that you can present that news,” Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. told Reuters.

To be fair, web news reporting is a slightly different beast than that of standard print journalism, but that’s not the say that the online format couldn’t stand to benefit from the wealth of experience that the print editors have to offer.

The truth is that both methods of news delivery stand to learn quite a bit from each other.

It will be interesting to see how many other major news publications, if any, decide to follow in the Post’s footsteps here.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.