Monday, September 17, 2007

Quick observations before the week begins

See that white up high on the mountains? That's not a cloud up there. That's snow. Time is passing, the season is changing.

(Note to readers: Frankly, I think every blog post needs an image, and today this is mine for you.)

Here's a few observations from this week.
  • Print has authority.
  1. My newspaper invites readers to send in their "nice catch" fish photos. This is Alaska and we get a ton and post them online in a gallery that gets lots and lots of hits. We use these reader-submitted photos with the print solicitation to send in more fish pictures. Now, all the people sending images into the web are asking: "When will my photo run in the newspaper?"
  2. I was out at a local high school talking to some students who want to start a publication. There's already a student newspaper, but in their estimation, it covers only fluff. They want the freedom to report on issues that go beyond football, prom, homecoming. They want to write about their community. Because they are digital natives, I wondered if they wanted to create a Website for their stories. NO! came the answer. Why? I asked. "Because if it is in print, it has much more authority."
  • Multimedia has power.
  1. Alaska is in the midst of a political corruption scandal with many revelations emanating from courtroom proceedings. We've been working to obtain the court exhibits (which include undercover video and audio recordings) to get as much of that up on our Web site as we can. It's fascinating to hear a 70-year-old Bill Allen, who pleaded guilty to bribery, tell a courtroom which legislators he has bribed, and why. His testimony is slow and stilted, he suffered from an accident about five years ago that impaired his speech. The man sounds broken. Short of being in the courtroom and hearing him in cross-examination, listening to these audio recordings reveals a layer of tragedy worthy of a book. No entity but my newspaper is making the effort to listen to hours and hours of transcripts and prepare them to go online at our Web site. This is a huge public service. So, print may have power, but multimedia -- audio and video, seeing it and hearing it with your own eyes and ears, that is POWERFUL.
  • The two in combination? Look out.

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