It seems to me that in 2008, there are probably about five ways a local newspaper might cover a breaking local news event like (the fire at the Monte Carlo hotel):
No. 1 — Throw some resources at it in real-time, becoming the definitive source online for the story as it is happening. Constant news updates. Great background info. Multimedia that is worth looking at — at the very least, some decent photo galleries if you’re not going to do video. I’m talking about web reports that combine speed, accuracy and compelling visuals with overwhelming comprehensive coverage in a way that creates something that shows your readers that your newspaper’s website is the only place to go for information on this story.
No. 2 — At the very least, keep the web site updated. Even if in kind of a half-assed way.
No. 3 — Run a big story in print with a big photo. The next day. After the story is over. Treat it like your print predecessors would have back in 1978, pretending that no one knows about the story until you tell them about it in print. The next day.
No. 4 — Go apesh*t in print. The next day. But in the midst of the overkill print coverage, there are thoughtful analysis pieces that treat the story like a Day Two story. Which in 2008, it is.
No. 5 — Do a mixture of No. 1 and No. 4. Treat the web and print like they’re both important, with print coverage that acknowledges that we live in a world where both CNN and the Internet have been around for at least a few years. Or maybe even a few decades.
So, the question is simple: How do you think your newspaper would cover a big-time, local breaking news story in 2008?
via Anatomy of a local breaking news story by Rob Curley
I came across this post stashed away in an Evernote notebook, and it got me wondering where things are some four-and-one-half years after this post was published.
Surely technology – more so the increased access to digital broadcasting and newsgathering tools – has made all of the above and more possible.
But the daily beast is still there. It still wants to be fed, and that I think has tempered progress toward seeing example No. 1 be the blueprint for covering breaking news in 2012.