Mojos at the No'Wo
This can be a great thing (and by selling video sponsorships, newspapers can develop a healthy new revenue stream). But, to be frank, using all of this technology is time-consuming, and preparing multi-media reports can get in the way of reporters doing their reporting.
It seems to me that Gannett is making a bet that people don't really care that much about hard news and will be content to be amused by moving images and sounds coming to them through their PCs. I wish I had hard evidence to refute that view. But I don't. Gannett may be right.
A lot of newspapers have taken an "eat your broccoli" approach to covering policy issues: "You may not care about the terms of these contract settlements, but you should and so we are going to cover them in mind-numbing detail."
I don't think this approach is optimal, either. But the truth is the American people need to be better informed, not less so.
And newspapers shouldn't let the demands (and dazzling new possibilities) of 24/7 Web publishing distract them from the task of covering the small, but important, details of local government.
A case in point: the No'Wo gets around to reporting today the terms of the city's contract settlement with the police. The news of this settlement was "broken" online more than a week ago by City Manager Richard Wollangk in his weekly newsletter. Since then it's been discussed in various parts of the local blogosphere.
It seems to me that the newspaper should have reported this information in the time frame before it came to the Council for review and approval. That way more citizens would have had a chance to think about it and express their views.
Honestly, I don't know the real reason why the paper let this story go until now (although I have some guesses). Maybe it had nothing to do with the Internet.
All I'm saying is that newspapers are going in the wrong direction if they start spending more time with their techno-toys than they do on the basics of reporting: reading documents, chatting up sources and watching the world around them.