What does digital-first mean to us?

  • An editor once told me that if you have a date in a news lead that is more than a day old, you either have the angle wrong or you missed a story. Let that be food for thought about how we covered the city council story in today’s paper. I knew what happened Monday night because I read about it in the Chronicle. I looked to see if we had anything on it online, and we didn’t. One of the ideas about digital-first publishing is not waiting for the print product to run a story. Imagine if we were only a website and didn’t have a print product at all. What justification would we have to hold a Monday story until Thursday? We should think about doing a couple other things next time to avoid running old news that everyone already knows. We couple write a quick recap (think of a brief) to put online right away. Then spend time reporting a fresh angle for the print version. The fresh angle could be talking to legal and law enforcement experts about the take on the constitutional and safety components of the ordinance. You could also talk with concerned citizens about what compromise would make them happy.
  • Please do not randomly replace words with punctuation marks. This happened in a few spots today (“600-800 people took over,” “between 300-400 people” and “6-8 months” which should be “six to eight months”). You wouldn’t decide to replace “and” with “&” — I hope — so don’t do it with other marks.
  • Did you know that we don’t run what’s referred to as “second-hand quotes?” By this I mean we don’t run a quote from someone saying that someone told them. In a situation like that, you would want to go to the original source and pose the question to that person. The exception would be if someone says it in a public setting. If it’s newsworthy, it’s probably best to verify it with the original source anyway.