Monday, August 19, 2013

Trial shows power of internet news competition

Ft. Hood – A senior news writer with several decades of experience writing about military affairs slammed his cell phone down after an angry exchange one day last week.

Are you the only one at that newspaper who answers the phone?” he fairly shouted at a desk man a couple hundred miles distant.

The problem is plain to see. Management insists men and women following a major story such as the Hasan trial file updates as soon as they happen because tweeters, bloggers and cyber-kibbitzers of all types are scooping the mainstream media all over the lot – and it hurts.

Having done all that, sometimes a news writer finds his copy, so laboriously gleaned, confirmed, written and proofed, has languished in an e-mail box or on-line account, ignored, forlorn and growing more stale by the minute while rank amateurs scoop the old pros with their smart phones and iPads.

Editors back at the home office insist on endless meetings in which the news day is plotted, planned, discussed, and every opinion is sought, in an effort to reach a consensus of what is and is not to be considered newsy news.

As to the editorial meetings, “I've quit going to them,” said the veteran. He was struggling to beat his competition of military bloggers and tweeters twittering over a messy same-sex military marriage dispute many months in the making that wound up in a disciplinary tribunal he was following by phone. Followed by hundreds or thousands - even dozens - it's still news, and his competitors' distribution will never see a news desk, a press room, or the inside of a broadcasting station.

The real news breaks come across cell towers, phone to phone, while more traditional news outlets struggle to keep up with a more linear pattern of editors who approve copy, send it to another desk, then slot it to a reporter's personal blog page, or the publication's on-line newscast.

This industry is going to commit suicide,” the veteran reporter concluded, while his competitors employed by wire services, publications with national and regional hegemony, and network broadcasting organizations twittered away madly into space, pounding their keyboards or thumbing their QWERTY keys - with alacrity.

1 comment:

  1. The internet can bring a lot of advantages especially if we learn how to use it responsibly.