Letter from the editor: Newspaper's blogs another way to share information
Our visitors came to the newspaper to talk about arts and entertainment, but the discussion quickly turned to city government. They're news junkies, they acknowledged, and they love clicking on our Web site to find out what's happening at Duluth ...
Our visitors came to the newspaper to talk about arts and entertainment, but the discussion quickly turned to city government.
They're news junkies, they acknowledged, and they love clicking on our Web site to find out what's happening at Duluth City Hall through reporter Brandon Stahl's blog, Buzz.Duluth.
It was the fifth or sixth time in a month folks in our community had told me how much they enjoy Stahl's blog. As the saying goes, that many people can't be wrong. And Stahl is building an audience on duluth
Not just once or twice, but three, four and sometimes more times a day, he dashes off an online update about what's going on in city government. It's a newsy beat, and Duluthians want to know what's happening. Stahl tells them in our daily print edition. But he gets to tell much more on Buzz.Duluth.
Last week, he gave readers a fill on what Mayor Don Ness said during a long visit with the News Tribune editorial board. He also examined what federal economic stimulus money the city might receive, asked readers to grade the City Council and provided a detailed account of Monday night's council meeting.
Business reporter Patrick Garmoe gives Stahl a little help with Buzz.Duluth, therefore its self-description: "A running conversation on city government and politics (with a smattering of business news thrown in)." Last week, Garmoe chipped in with items about businesses opening downtown, a rise in local unemployment and a Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce class on networking for introverts (Garmoe says he's one).
Other News Tribune staffers have created blogs on topics as diverse as parenting, bird-watching, stargazing and running. Copy editor Andrew Krueger created one of the most innovative blogs, turning our archived stories and photos, stored on the top floor of our building, into the News Tribune Attic.
Readers love it. An Attic item placed on our home page can easily become one of the best-read items on the site. Last week, Krueger took readers back to 1984, when a school bus lost its brakes and plowed into the Fourth Street Market. He also recalled the 1989 opening of the Interstate 35 tunnel downtown, when local residents crowded inside for a peek. The photos were fun. Krueger is giving new life to valuable, but until now fallow, content. And like Stahl, he's building an audience.
Sometimes, loyal readers of our print edition hear about blogs and other online content and get upset. They're paying for their newspaper while we're working feverishly to tell more of the story -- or even completely new stories -- online, where content is free.
They don't have a computer. They don't want one. How could we treat them so rudely?
We're not trying to discriminate. But we're recognizing our new reality, in which we publish on multiple platforms and feed a news cycle that runs 'round the clock. It's the way readers increasingly say they want their information. We want to be their source. Our Web site provides powerful tools -- limitless space, reader interactivity and immediacy -- for us to do the job.
Our business starts and ends with readers. But advertising pays most of the bills. Regardless of the platform, if we publish information readers find interesting, advertisers will partner with us -- especially if those readers are their customers.
We had two good examples of that last week. Dogbooties.com, the Duluth company that makes winter doggie shoes, advertised on our interactive map for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. And a collection of interactive maps of area cross-country ski trails found the perfect advertiser in SMDC Health System's Nordic Skiing Injury Prevention and Performance Program.
It's a new world with lots of new possibilities. But it boils down to a familiar refrain: Break news. Tell interesting stories. Give readers information they want.
Rob Karwath is executive editor of the News Tribune. You can reach him at (218) 720-4177 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The News Tribune's blogs are easy to find. Go to: duluthnewstribune.com/pages/dntblogs