Washington Post Just Discovers That Web Reporters And Paper Reporters Can Work Together?

from the uh,-seriously? dept

Nearly a year and a half ago, we were surprised to find out that the NY Times still kept its newspaper reporters and its online reporters separate -- and had finally agreed to merge the two operations. It only seemed newsworthy in the fact that it was so far behind the times. Apparently, though, when it comes to journalistic endeavors, they were on the cutting edge. Today comes the news that the Washington Post has finally decided to do the same thing and merge its online operations with its paper operations. What's even more surprising about this is that the Washington Post was actually one of the earliest newspapers to go online. They had a great online presence called "Newsbytes" that had a strong following, but disappeared literally overnight, breaking a ton of incoming links, when some higher ups at the paper wanted everything to go behind a registration wall. The Washington Post has continued to experiment with different online formats -- but the fact that they would just now think of combining news rooms suggests just how out of touch they are with how the news actually works these days. Update: Robert MacMillan, the author of the original piece (and a former Newsbytes and Washington Post reporter) stops by to let us know this is even less than it appears to be. They're still keeping the two divisions separate, but are simply blurring some of the boundaries between them -- though, the specific plans are still in the air.

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  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 2 Jan 2007 @ 6:32pm

    the new demographics

    This is about "demographics". Market researchers employed by some media units having psychology and sociology qualifications like to form imaginary classifications, boxes into which people fit. It is mostly for the benefit of advertisers who wish to target their adverts better. However there are a number of problems with demographic theories. The most obvious is dynamics. Nothing is cast in stone and nothing stays the same for long. Demographic sampling is tracking fast moving targets in all directions of the old style political, financial and social axes. Furthermore, it's a young and very soft science which sometimes takes the worst parts of sociology and psychology and combines them into bad theories which are inextensible, brittle and even contradictory.

    So, the idea that there is an "online" audience and a "paper" audience is part of the old guard which is being revised. These streams have merged because we've recognised that the method one uses to access news is fairly irrelevant in determining the character of the reader.

    If this change is to sweep all publishers it is coming about because the bottom line, advertising money, is no longer served by having this partition. In other words there is no such thing as an "online audience".

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