Wednesday, February 01, 2006

'Web Duty' Has Herald Staff Clicked Off

Once again, the Internet is clashing with old-school reporting -- and this time the Miami Herald newsroom is up in arms about it.

The newspaper instituted a “web duty” program last week where staff writers will rotate coming into the office at 7 a.m. to make cops calls, do traffic checks, and feed the information to the Web editor. Why? Here’s how Rick Hirsch, the Herald’s 'director of multimedia/new projects', explained it to the Pulp:

“Philosophically, the newspaper you get in the morning is news and analysis of what happened the day before and the website needs to reflect what is happening now. That is what a news website is, a very urgent thing. When you look at when people go on-line, it is when people get to work, about 9 a.m. A lot of people get our newspaper and we’d like them to check our website and they ought to see something there they hadn’t seen in the paper. To do that, we need an early reporter every day so we can have more fresh content.”

Reporters will rotate on web duty on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, said Hirsch, a Herald veteran who used to run the Broward bureau. Staffers are none too happy about the development. Reporters let Metro Editor Manny Garcia (an excellent old-school journalist himself) feel their anger at a staff meeting about web duty two weeks ago. The gist of their argument: We’re one of the best-trained and educated newspaper staffs in the country. We can do great dailies, in-depth news and investigative pieces, and features. But web duty is a colossal waste of our time -- grunt work that could be done by a part-time clerk.

Hirsch, a Herald veteran, acknowledged that the program had been met with some, um, resistance. "Everybody recognizes the need to provide this reportage -- but that doesn't mean they want to do it," he said. "It requires a change in the routine."

And management is marching forward.

“They’ll come in and do police calls. If there’s a horrendous accident that’s causing thousands of people to be stuck in traffic, they’ll find out what caused it,” Hirsch explained. “Things happen in the morning. We’ve had guys climb up on our antennae in the morning. Every day is different when you’re working general assignment, sometimes you’re writing for the front page and sometimes it’s 3B.

"I was a reporter for a long time and I worked the 9-6 shift and worked weekends and there were days when it was the best job in the world and there were days that weren’t that memorable. The reality is that there is a need to provide coverage about two hours earlier than we typically started our day before.”

Here's an idea that should ease the tension: How about editors join in the web duty rotation? Fair's only fair.

Story of the Day
Another slow one, but Larry Keller's reporting in the Palm Beach Post of an escort service run by a married couple that pulled in $3 million is a wonderful thing. I mean haven't all married couples at least considered running an escort service at one time or another? Well, turns out they're enormously profitable. Until you get ratted out by some of your best customers.

47 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: The Post article.

I've always believed Larry Keller to be one of the best journalists in South Florida. I was with him at the Sun-Sentinel and he was always a pleasure to work with and read.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We experience a similar problem at our newspaper. It's interesting to me because the theory is that as a reporter, you'd want to get the latest news to your readers - regardless of the medium, regardless of the timeframe, regardless of the schedule. And reporting by nature isn't just a Monday to Friday, 8 - 5 kind of job. As a web-reader myself, I look to the news sites for the latest information. By the time I've read the paper each day, it's old news. I think this is a great iniative - one I hope can be more widely embraced.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking as a journalist, I'd just like to say...

What a bunch of divas they have on the reporting staff at the Herald!

Grow up already. It's not like they're asking you to work the weekend or travel to Neptune or, worse, Iraq. Buck up and do your early shift once every, what, two or three months?

Sheesh...

11:08 AM  
Blogger Florida Pulp said...

The following is a note from Larry Keller. Had to share it (with his permission, of course) for obvious reasons:

"If only I would have had space to describe the male and female detective posing as a husband and wife interested in a threesome ..."

Attn Post Editors -- Give Larry Keller more space! Your public demands it.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, an editor is coming in early, too.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The staff at the Rocky Mountain News has been posting updates for months with little or no grumbling from the reporters. In fact, most people in the newsroom are aggressive about getting their stories online. We regularly beat the competition.

Sounds like the Herald staff doesn't understand the importance of the Web. That's unfortunate.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all the technology out there, a solution that could take the edge off would be to do the morning duty from home. As a reporter myself who has a specialized beat, I do this anyway. I call my sources, check my e-mail, internet sites, etc. early in the morning (takes about 15 min. to 1/2 hour) and then come into the office at the usual time. You can even put updates on the website from home.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, as someone who works for The Rocky Mountain News, I can tell you there is one significant difference: The Herald at least listens to what its people say. The Rocky (led by that bully John Temple) just shoves the latest dictum down everybody's throat.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Florida Pulp said...

web editors don't count ...

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do too! Oh, wait, you meant theirs...

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Is the newspaper industry still dealing with this kind of arrogance? Is the web still second-class to some folks? It seems like this should be a thing of the past at this point, but here I am making the same, tired why-don’t-some-people-get-it argument made countless times before I stepped up to the mic. And let’s make sure we’re clear about it: This is nothing more than a classic case of reporters believing the news counts only if it’s printed on a piece of paper.

How is it that “one of the best-trained and educated newspaper staffs in the country,” is so completely clueless to the needs of its own audience? Where, my friends in Miami, do you think your readers are seeing your “great dailies, in-depth news and investigative pieces, and features?” Here’s a hint. Shrinking: Circulation, editorial staff, just about every kind of ad revenue stream. Growing: Online traffic and online ad revenue. What else do you need to know?

There will always be a place for quality and depth and analysis, whether it’s on paper or on a screen or on the windshield of your car while you’re driving or on your bathroom mirror while your shaving or on the insides of your eyelids while your sleeping or wherever! The question is, will there be a place for you? Have you considered what might happen when it’s time for your editor to cut staff again? Let’s say he has to choose between two employees: You, the overpaid guy who cried like Tammy Faye at the thought of doing something that might interrupt Morning Donut Break #6, or the guy who spent ten minutes learning a little HTML so he can pinch hit on web site once in a while. Are you confident enough in your costly, time-consuming investigations? Do your in-depth pieces carry enough weight to justify the cost of keeping you on the staff, when the other choice is a guy who volunteers to help out with the only profitable part of the business? You’d better hope your stuff is good, because I don’t know of many newspapers that make decisions based on anything other than profit margin.

Best of luck to the crybabies. For the rest of you, a suggestion: Volunteer for web duty. Beg for it! The amount of time you’ll put into it will be minimal, and your newfound skills may end up saving your career. Let those fine folks in Miami worry about what gets dropped in fewer and fewer driveways every morning…

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Is the newspaper industry still dealing with this kind of arrogance? Is the web still second-class to some folks? It seems like this should be a thing of the past at this point, but here I am making the same, tired why-don’t-some-people-get-it argument made countless times before I stepped up to the mic. And let’s make sure we’re clear about it: This is nothing more than a classic case of reporters believing the news counts only if it’s printed on a piece of paper.

How is it that “one of the best-trained and educated newspaper staffs in the country” is so completely clueless to the needs of its own audience? Where, my friends in Miami, do you think your readers are seeing your “great dailies, in-depth news and investigative pieces, and features?” Here’s a hint. Shrinking: Circulation, editorial staff, just about every kind of ad revenue stream. Growing: Online traffic and online ad revenue. What else do you need to know?

There will always be a place for quality and depth and analysis, whether it’s on paper or on a screen or on the windshield of your car while you’re driving or on your bathroom mirror while your shaving or on the insides of your eyelids while your sleeping or wherever! The question is, will there be a place for you? Have you considered what might happen when it’s time for your editor to cut staff again? Let’s say he has to choose between two employees: You, the overpaid guy who cried like Tammy Faye at the thought of doing something that might interrupt Morning Donut Break #6, or the guy who spent ten minutes learning a little HTML so he can pinch hit on web site once in a while. Are you confident enough in your costly, time-consuming investigations? Do your in-depth pieces carry enough weight to justify the cost of keeping you on the staff, when the other choice is a guy who volunteers to help out with the only profitable part of the business? You’d better hope your stuff is good, because I don’t know of many newspapers that make decisions based on anything other than profit margin.

Best of luck to the crybabies. For the rest of you, a suggestion: Volunteer for web duty. Beg for it! The amount of time you’ll put into it will be minimal, and your newfound skills may end up saving your career. Let those fine folks in Miami worry about what gets dropped in fewer and fewer driveways every morning…

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to see the arrogance of large newspaper reporting staffs. It will be a sad day when those veteran, highly educated reporters are replaced with that part-timer.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without dragging this along too much, let's look at the web and history:

First, journalists were "too good" to get their hands dirty with this newfangled thing 10 years ago. So, it was left to advertising oddballs to set the foundation. Journalists should have been on the leading edge, not the sidelines. So, the sins of today are in the foundation set by newspaper advertising departments (why do you think you have all those wonderful blinking ads and pop-ups everywhere on a news site?). There is little news thought in developing news web sites; it is mostly advertising thought (how many managers in your newsroom consider rewriting press releases for the web to be "breaking news" and "journalism"?).

Second, guess what? News organizations need to SPEND for RESOURCES in their online efforts ... cheap publishers and companies have tried for years to develop a publishing business where they have NO EXPENSE (look at today's so-called "citizen journalists; publishers love the concept because they don't have to pay for reporting or editing; or look at getting double-duty out of reporters).

Conclusion: Journalists need to understand the web it immediate and needs new content 24/7 and you can practice great journalism online (if you help your readers, you have served a higher purpose). Yet, companies need to understand that they should staff their online operations properly. If you're doing it on the cheap, even the Miami Heralds of the world will wind up looking foolish.

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Miles Robinson said...

The thing that no one will even point out here is that this is doomed to fail.

The problem is that it's a *rotating* duty.

What that means is that NO ONE will do a good job at it. If no ONE person is the owner of it or has responsibility for making sure it is well done (aside from a web editor), then no ONE will consistently do a good job.

Folks will grumble, show up, do their "duty" and stomp off at the end of the week. They won't try hard and the stories WON'T be done quickly and they will be awful and it will show.

The experience I have had at newspapers where there is "rotating duty" for something a week at a time is that reporters eventually start scheduling doctors appointments or vacations or "get sick" during those weeks.

How hard would it have been to hire ONE person to do this consistently. Someone who REALLY wanted to do it who can do a GOOD job at it and would care?

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, they are crybabies. Yes, professional poutiness is worse at bigger papers. Yes, it needs to be a dedicated staff for an operation of this magnitude -- or let's just take it to the next logical step and have a work schedule for all employees that addresses the we-can-publish-24-hours-a-day mentality, rather than this Bandaid deal of having folks rotate. I mean, that, as noted, speaks to the underlying attitude toward this. Instead of a bone-deep, institutional change that addresses the tectonic shift, the paper decides to throw a couple of people at it in a way that almost shouts of lack of commitment.
What if a quarter of the entire staff came to work at 7 a.m.? What if work processes were adjusted so that active decisionmaking went on all day about whether news would be first targeted to the web site or the print product? What about a premium list of email-based customers who pay for more breaking news as it happens? Limitless possibilities, miniscule imaginations.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine the indignity of having to make a round of cop calls every morning. I wonder what Edna Buchanan would think.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't think for a second that this is a completely altruistic endeavor to get up-to-the-minute information out there. Web publishing is first and foremost a cost-cutting move.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Web publishing is mostly a cost cutting move???? Yeah, cutting costs in the newsroom is happening, but not because of the Web. (Think Wall Street expectations, but that's another conversation.) The Web is just another way to get news out there, and one that's increasingly being owned by those citizen journalists (and, ok, big news orgs who spend $$$ to staff them properly) that come in for criticism in this discussion. I wish my paper had been better sooner about helping us ALL -- editors included -- onto the Web. We'll all have to go there eventually.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Traffic jams, water main breaks and cop press releases make for bad journalism, even at 7 a.m.

The Herald used to put out six editions a day, and had the staff to do it. No longer. Now Knight Ridder has ordered them to make the web site more current -- a minimum story quota by 9 a.m. -- without spending a cent.

If a reporter gets tapped for web duty it just means more work for them -- they've still got to cover their beats and real news, after spending a wasted morning trying to imitate the breathless irrelevance of live TV.

Don't criticize the reporters for whining. Criticize management which puts cost containment ahead of readership.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have remembered. All this links I have saw yet.

japanese car import
http://iola-car-show10.mobchoise.com/japanese-car-import.html
japanese car import
graco turbo booster car seat
http://geico-car-insurance4.mobchoise.com/graco-turbo-booster-car-seat.html
graco turbo booster car seat
car loan riverside
http://car-loan-riverside5.mobchoise.com/car-loan-riverside.html
car loan riverside
ford crown victoria car
http://ford-certified-used-car0.mobchoise.com/ford-crown-victoria-car.html
ford crown victoria car
marathon convertible car seat with latch
http://malaysia-used-car-sale2.mobchoise.com/marathon-convertible-car-seat-with-latch.html
marathon convertible car seat with latch
car custom rims.com wheels
http://car-custom-rim-wheels7.mobchoise.com/car-custom-rims.com-wheels.html
car custom rims.com wheels
tilt bed car hauler
http://teen-car-fuck3.mobchoise.com/tilt-bed-car-hauler.html
tilt bed car hauler
used car detroit
http://two-car-garage-apartment6.mobchoise.com/used-car-detroit.html
used car detroit
car car fast furious guide movie official
http://car-caliber9.mobchoise.com/car-car-fast-furious-guide-movie-official.html
car car fast furious guide movie official
honda accord car show
http://hard-car-top-luggage-carrier10.mobchoise.com/honda-accord-car-show.html
honda accord car show

Some of it twice...

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. This is the last info by theme.
Good luck!


http://dental-insurance-plan9/dental-insurance-plan.html
http://vicodin9/vicodin.html
http://dating-agency9/dating-agency.html

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always learn something about direct loan on your blog.
Come see what you think about mine. It has some good info on direct loan too.
thanks.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! You've sure got a lotta stuff about refinance loan.
Well done!
Please come over and see my site about refinance loan.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog very informative re halifax life insurance. In a simliar vain to halifax life insurance would definitely recommend http://www.bargainplace.co.uk for **cheap car insurance** or **cheap home insurance**, even **cheap pet insurance**

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

top online dating site

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watiti.com
Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

Watiti.com

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw your blog about advice financial friendly gay - as it is along the same lines I thought I would share this link with you. We were paying far too much for family things like clothes for us and the kids, games consoles inc the new Wii and soon to be PS3, car insurance/home insurance/pet insurance, broadband, mobile phones, landline calls, home and garden items, camping equipment and utilities/loans etc - you name it, we were spending too much on it.

Then a friend of mine recommended a site called www.bargainplace.co.uk. We were able to get cheaper electricity, gas, mobile phone, broadband and loan deals at bargainplace. Thanks to my friend (and the site) I am saving something like £100 a month and can afford an extra holiday abroard each year. Booked of course on www.bargainplace.co.uk. Thanks bargainplace ;-) !!

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my love

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relax and enjoy

Casino
viagra
tramadol
cialis

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I am definataly bookmarking this blog. Hey If you get the chance and you need advertising really cheap but highly effective check out this site http://sitesubmit.ecrater.com

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog....now...ADVICE TIME!! - If you need more key web site traffic builder then congratulations I've come to the right place, try key web site traffic builder - this is the best place online to get massive volumes of internet traffic back to your blog for blog publicity purposes. Within a week I had trippled my volume of traffic - Signup is free and before you know it you will flying up the Google search egine - guaranteed!! - Signup is free you have nothing to lose. Best of luck with it and continued success with your blog!!

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog!! I'm into reseller site traffic web and to drive traffic to my website I signed up free for this superb traffic gereating tool - I now have loads of hits to my websites and blogs. This can see your affiliate commission shoot through the roof - meaning lots of extra money coming in for you and your family. Sign up now - it's free.. Best of luck, cheers for now, dave.

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watiti.com
Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

Watiti.com

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.
.
.
.
.
.
Good blog - very interesting!! I liked it so much I'm going to share this hush hush advice with you. Ever wondered how your neighbours are driving around in their brand new BMW or Mercedes cars - with their kids dressed in all the latest named gear and foreign holidays aplenty?? Well they discovered the secret to the extra online income.

If you are looking for a free tool to attract loads of free links to your blog or website then congratulations I've got the solution for you - and it is FREE!!

My website specialises in anniversary greeting card and to drive traffic to my website I was searching around the internet for absolutely ages looking for SEO tools and ffa submission sites to fire my site up the Google search engine - unfortunately these doing work and in fact had the opposite affect plunging my site down the rankings like it had a heavy weight attached!!, then I signed up for this free superb traffic generating tool - I now have loads of hits to my websites/blogs and my site is shooting back up the Google rankings quicker than ever before.

Consequently this saw my affiliate commissions shoot through the roof - meaning lots of extra money coming in for my family - I bought my first Mercedes car on the proceeds of my online campaign.
Sign up now - it's free.
. Sorry if this information is of no use to you but seeing as you have the anonymous feature enabled I thought I should share this free bit of essential promotional advice with you and would hope you would do the same for me and others who want to boost their online internet income.

I hope the tool will serve you equally as well as it has me - it's free!!

Best of luck, cheers for now, dave.
.
.
.
.
.
.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latest news. Viagra, cialis

viagra
cialis
tramadol

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

free dog ads

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.watiti.com

Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com,
an online social networking community that connects
people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend
events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards,
listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a
club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

http://www.watiti.com

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.watiti.com

Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com,
an online social networking community that connects
people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend
events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards,
listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a
club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

http://www.watiti.com

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watiti.com
Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

Watiti.com

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

free ads atlanta

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it job web site

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

100 adult free personals

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

international online dating

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best flower for you girlfriend
BEST FLOWER

soma or here phentermine

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Humour is an element that adds spice to life and without which may be life would have been very difficult to spend. But contrary to what many people believe, humour is not all about smiling and laughing, though it caters to these fields mainly. Humour is actually the capability to see the lighter side of life, sometimes even in a serious environment. But this lighter view of life should be done intelligently. Slapstick humour is no humour at all, it is just trash.

2:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home