Philadelphia Inquirer Tells Staff Bloggers Not To Use Blogs To Test Story Ideas

from the artificial-scarcity... dept

When you've built a business based on artificial scarcity for years, and then suddenly find yourself in a much more competitive market, it's no surprise that some of the ideas you come up with will be to run directly towards more artificial scarcity. That's what the Philadelphia Inquirer appears to be doing with its new policy to not put many types of stories online until they hit the physical paper. This doesn't apply to breaking news (thank goodness), but pretty much everything else: "investigative reporting, enterprise, trend stories, news features, and reviews of all sorts." You can sort of understand why the paper would like to coordinate, though it does seem to treat online as a second class citizen. It also leads to one odd and highly questionable decision:
For our bloggers, especially, this may require a bit of an adjustment. Some of you like to try out ideas that end up as subjects of stories or columns in print first.
Apparently, that's no longer allowed. Of course, for columnists, that's one of the main advantages of having a blog. It lets you try out ideas, get feedback, and generally make the final product that much better. But apparently the Philadelphia Inquirer would rather come out with a lower quality product -- as long as it all comes out at the same time.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 3:12pm

    Newspapers are always trying to make their own "branded communities." Why bother? Don't they know the paradigm always shifts? Synergies abound!

    When somebody tells me to think outside the box, I scream: "THERE IS NO BOX! THE BOX WILL DESTROY YOU!!" ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    some old guy, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 3:46pm


    Your branded spam is neither witty not entertaining. In fact, it's just annoying. Just thought you should know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re:

    A personalized response! Thank you, very endearing. :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 5:14pm

    What if a writer makes a blog about a topic without ever intending to write about it, but the topic is much more interesting than they expected? This could happen with anything put into a blog.

    They complain about the service they had at a big box retailer only to get hundreds of comments describing the same problem. Are they not allowed to write a story? There is a large grey area here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 8th, 2008 @ 5:30pm


    I love when people who don't use the 'net try and make the rules. This is how reporting works now. You get a thousand page document dump and have your hundred odd fans read ten pages each.

    On the plus side, I can safely ditch the Inquirer's RSS feed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    "Lower quality product"? You're assuming that if they don't try out ideas online they're not trying them out at all. There are ways to get useful feedback outside the newspaper besides online. Good reporters have always done this. And honestly, from what I see of the quality of newspaper-site feedback, I can't imagine it being all that helpful anyway -- unless you're the sort who like abuse and misinformation. The Inky, like most all newspapers, needs new ideas and has probably shot itself in the foot in some ways while trying to figure out online publishing, but I really don't think this minor decision is one of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:11am

    Branded Commune

    Actually The Branded Community is a slightly clever meme. It is an attempt to either PO the idiots at the heart of the Branded Community Suit or get Mike sued so he can be on All Things Considered again.

    I think the main goal is to lower the quality of the Inky to that of the Philadelphia Daily News.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    danny (profile), Aug 9th, 2008 @ 3:49pm

    Eric Zorn in Tribune

    Eric Zorn, a columnist at the Chicago Tribune, has been using this process of developing story ideas in this blog for a couple of years now. Not only does he likely produce better columns, but those of us regular bloggers feel like we are part of the creative process.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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