For several years back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I taught journalism as an adjunct faculty member at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey.
I came across my old syllabus for that course recently while cleaning out an old file cabinet. It included some basic stuff about reporting and writing a news story, from how to write a clear, succinct lede (first paragraph) to how to conduct an interview to answering those traditional journalism questions — who, what, when, where, why and how.
While those and many other standards I taught remain very important, my syllabus could never have forecast the overwhelming amount of additional duties reporters and editors have these many years later.
Today’s reporters and editors, here and elsewhere, have to do so much more. First and foremost, they are expected to work hard to break news as soon as it happens, so it can be posted to our digital platforms.
They take photos and produce videos. They post stories to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Working with editors, they routinely update their stories and gradually build them to full reports to be published both online and in the next day’s print edition.
They do all of this because you and people everywhere have come to expect to get important information from news sites as quickly as possible.
Let’s face it. News about a road being closed because of a multi-vehicle pileup doesn’t do you much good if you don’t get it in time to avoid that road on the way to work.
As I have said in this space before, more people than ever are reading The Daily Item’s stories and looking at our photos on our digital platforms. During the month of February, we averaged more than 92,000 page views per day. The first four days of last week, with lots of breaking news developing, we averaged more than 103,000.
That’s great. We are glad to be providing the kind of information Valley people need and want in a very timely fashion. It’s a very valuable service that we are glad to be able to provide. But in order to continue to do that, we need subscribers — both for the print and online editions.
I know some people seem to think information should be free. But it can’t be. Editors and reporters need to be paid. So do the people who lay out and print the newspaper, as well as those who continually update the website. Advertiser-support helps but doesn’t cover all of the expenses. We need reader support as well.
If you already subscribe, thank you. Please know we greatly appreciate your support and are here to answer any questions or concerns. Your print subscription comes with full access to all of our online content. And you can also sign up to get breaking news alerts on your smartphone 24/7.
If you’re thinking about subscribing and would prefer to access our news solely online — either on your smartphone, a tablet or a computer — we’ve got a great introductory deal for you.
Click on the subscribe button to set up a digital subscription. We’ll give you the first full month for just 99 cents! After that, it’ll be just $20.98 a month.
That’s far less than a cup of coffee per day and much more stimulating.
We also promise you lots of refills throughout the day.
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