Saturday, September 29, 2007

Carrboro in Norfolk

UNC's own Jock Lauderer of the journalism school was the star of the NNA session yesterday called "Filling the gap--a new kind of community 'paper.'" He and his colleague Andy Bechtel talked about their experience creating and editing the Carrboro Commons. He talked about the rush the students experienced as they realized that their class was not dealing in hypothetical news stories--they were actually, really and truly, going online! Jock is running the show alone this semester, but in the spring once again he and Andy will turn their reporting and editing classes loose in and upon Carrboro.

They and others in this session stressed to these mostly non-daily newspaper editors and publishers the need to have an online presence that does more than just "shovel" the content of the print edition onto the web. Use the strength of the web--its immediacy--to your advantage, they urged. Break the news as it happens. Follow up later, but be the first to get it out there. You are not "scooping yourselves" when you do that, these presenters said. Rather you're bolstering your own audience.

Presenter Elizabeth K. Hansen of Eastern Kentucky University illustrated the point with a photo by Jack Delano taken in 1940 in Brockton, Mass. It's of a newspaper office posting headlines of news that had broken since the last edition.

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