Rising early to better understand your online needs
It's dark and cold, and I'm still sleepy. The bed beckons, but I know what I need to do. I find my way downstairs, start the coffee and start my newspaper day. At the computer. So it has been for the past couple of months. I've taken a turn playi...
It's dark and cold, and I'm still sleepy. The bed beckons, but I know what I need to do.
I find my way downstairs, start the coffee and start my newspaper day. At the computer.
So it has been for the past couple of months. I've taken a turn playing not only full-time executive editor but also part-time multimedia editor of the News Tribune. Because of a staffing change, and despite spending probably at least half my time on Web issues, I decided to step into the job of assembling our daily Web site. I wanted a better feel for our needs there. And I wanted to accelerate our content efforts.
But at 5:30 a.m.? That's at least when we need to get going with the Web. Like a shopkeeper pre-paring to open his doors, my team and I need to have our site ship-shape and full of interesting wares when you need news to start your day.
So each morning, I'm working the "featured content wizard," the "H-tool" and the articles list -- all the levers of our content-management system, the control panel of duluthnewstribune.com.
It's work. But it's a Web-based system, and I can do it from home. And here's a little secret: It's fun.
Many mornings, I have lingered at the computer for hours, trying to create an informative and interesting viewing experiencing. Taking the news of our community and arranging it in a neat package is what journalists do -- love to do, in fact. We're just doing it now in a new and more powerful medium.
On the Web, we can tell stories with text, photos, video, movable graphics and other forms we never imagined in a print-only world. We can ask your opinion and get you talking to one another. You give us story tips. We give you immediate news.
Once one dabbles in the Web, it's hard to stop. But come a week from Monday, I'll step back a bit and let our new full-time multimedia editor step in. Jimmy Bellamy starts Jan. 26.
Bellamy is a native Duluthian, a Denfeld and UMD grad and, at a relatively young age, a journalist who has stood out in our newsroom and that of the Superior Telegram. Most recently, Bellamy worked as a News Tribune sports reporter, covering, among other assignments, the UMD women's hockey team.
Though he's only been at the News Tribune since 2006, he's shown himself to be a quick study who understands the importance of the Web. After having done the multimedia editor job myself a few months, I know he has what it takes to make our Web site hum.
A year ago, when we began streaming video with Webcasts of high school hockey, we needed a play-by-play announcer. Bellamy, without any broadcast experience, stepped up. He did a great job. That's what you and we need on the Web -- new approaches, new ideas, a willingness to try and simple hard work.
I won't quit working on our Web site. These days, a newspaper editor needs to spend at least half of his or her time on his or her site. We'll always have a paper paper. But our Web sites are quickly becoming a focus. That means everyone at the News Tribune has important work to do, working alongside Bellamy to serve you and find our future.
The power of print: While we shift some of our attention to our Web site, we can't lose sight of the strength of our print edition. It was reinforced last week by none other than Charles Gibson, anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight." The front page of Wednesday's News Tribune led off that evening's national broadcast of the network news show for a story about the bitter cold weather gripping the Upper Midwest.
ABC showed the page, with a big picture of Superior resident Johnathan Rambo exhaling in the frigid air in downtown Duluth. Gibson's first words in the newscast were, "The headline and the picture on the front page of today's News Tribune in Duluth, Minn., says it all: The Upper Midwest does, indeed, have an uncommon cold."
We heard from folks all over town and all over the country. It was the second time in a week that a News Tribune story made a network news broadcast -- and another reminder that news in the Twin Ports, and our coverage, stand out.
Rob Karwath is executive editor of the News Tribune. You can reach him at 218-720-4177 or firstname.lastname@example.org .