by Roger Pynn
In recent years, websites for newspaper companies have been referred to by many as “online newspapers.” But perhaps as this article about the digital transition going on at the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel indicates, we should actually be referring to the print versions of these websites as “offline news websites.”
Even old folks like me who love their dailies have to know that the newspaper business can’t sustain itself with a focus on printed products. For those of us who still cling to pulp, they are seeing newspapers as another advertising offering to entice advertisers who have made the transition to page views and clicks vs. circulation.
But as Sun Sentinel Associate Editor Anne Vasquez told The Poynter Institute’s Kristen Hare, “Quality has to stay as good, if not better. If it doesn’t, then this digital initiative is a failure.”
However, she also said that what she calls the “new digital” requires new age journalists to “write as you go and write what you know.”
Therein lies perhaps the greatest challenge to their credibility. The rush to publish has become such a powerful motivating factor that error has become inevitable (if not acceptable) and reportage is suffering as the online movement often doesn’t have the time to be sure they’ve got it right.
In our business, time has taught us that time is the best preventative medicine. Only when you rush do you make big mistakes.