Home' Local Media Today : November 2008 Contents Hipolito “Poli” Corrella and Rick Wiley, metro editor and photo director at the
Arizona Daily Star in Tucson conducted an outstanding session at last month’s
Arizona Newspaper Association’s annual meeting about What Works on The Web.
Corella leads a 24/7 newsroom operation whose evolution began one year ago.
Managing Editor Teri Hayt told them to take chances, saying that “a good journalist’s
job is to make me nervous.”
“I spend my day on the Web,” said Corella and gave his top picks for what drives
eyeballs to his site:
Death – i .e., car crashes and tragedy, especially when it’s local. A video of a car acci-
dent that includes a fatality will be the day’s number one traffic generator;
Sex - especially celebrity scandal;
Dogs - A local story of hundreds of dogs
being rescued from a puppy mill was the
year’s most-visited online Daily Star
“Nobody will pass up a good toilet story,”
said Corella. “A piece about the day’s
location of police photo radar is very pop-
ular as well.” What bring little traffic are stories about taxes and other government
news, and coverage of the Pope.
Steve Buttry, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette editor, conducted excellent sessions on ethics
that focused on social networking and revenue opportunities. He pointed out that
newsrooms, to save their principles of seeking truth and reporting it, must be part of
creating their publications’ new business models. He decried the consideration of
charging for online content, aptly pointing out that print content has never been fee-
based. “Readers have been paying for production and distribution, not content,” he
Buttry mentioned several best practices–WeKanShop, the online business directory
and local search site of the Ottawa Kansas Herald; and my favorite,
DeliveringQC.com. The concept at QC is that businesses pay for their advertising in
gift certificates, which the newspaper then sells.
Dan Gillmor, founding director of the new Knight Center for Digital Media
Entrepreneurship at ASU, the site of the gathering, talked about the Future of Media.
He reminded us of the long-standing journalism mantra that dog bites man is not
newsworthy but that man bites dog is.
“At the Hyperlocal level, man bites dog IS important,” Gillmor said. “You might
know that man, or that might be YOUR dog.” He said that journalists have to change
from being oracle to being guide. In support of the changes in online journalism,
Gillmor pointed out that if John Kennedy were in Dallas today, “We would KNOW
someone was on that grassy knoll.” “What if the passengers on Flight 93 had been
sending video from their phones?” he asked.
While Corella is clearly a fan of online video and the traffic it generates, he admitted
it comes with a price. “To do these we had to give up some of the enterprise stories,”
he said. “You can’t expect someone to do 20 updates a day and also do an investiga-
Long time Sacramento Bee editor Rick Rodriguez is the new Southwest Borderlands
Initiative Professor at the ASU Cronkite School. He hosted the Freedom of
Information Awards luncheon. “The U.S . Government now knows that there is less
fight in the media for information, due to budget constraints,” Rodriguez said.
“Sometimes going to court means eliminating a position at the paper.” Freedom of
Information honorees included reporters and editors at the Arizona Daily Star, the
Arizona Republic, East Valley Tribune, Valley Daily News, and West Valley View.
Perhaps the most insight about blogs and
user-generated content as compared with
staff news stories came from Steve Buttry.
“I’m perfectly comfortable with bias,” he
said about blog content. “I’m not comfort-
able with undisclosed bias.”
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SNA Helps Editors
Get the Facts
SNA partnered with The
Communications Institute (TCI) and
AnalysisOnline last month and hosted
an informative media briefing confer-
ence call to help editors and journalists
from across the country grapple with
the economic concerns facing the
nation today. If you missed this impor-
tant briefing and wish to take advan-
tage of its information for stories and
articles, the call recording is posted at
click on Editorial and then Conference
Call Audio Recordings. The economic
briefing is the first call listed.
You’ll also find there a recording of a
previous media briefing call on the
topic of energy.
Both calls offer important background
to help editors and journalists cover
these imperative topics.
Important insights from
Report to Industry
Is Available Now
Unless you’ve been under a rock you
know by now that a team of North
American media professionals traveled
to Scandinavia recently to learn first-
hand what distinguishes local media
there as true leaders with both their
print & digital offerings.
Tap the knowledge gained on the
Innovation Mission in a comprehensive
report written by SNA President Nancy
Lane. It’s available to all in the indus-
try, at no charge, at www.suburban-
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