The editors of The New York Sun have started posting stories on their Web site during the day instead of waiting to put them in the next morning’s paper.
A memo sent to staff yesterday by city editor David Lombino said reporters should expect to file early when they’re working on certain kinds of stories. Mr. Lombino said in the memo that news editors will work with new online editor Mike McPhate to choose what will be posted early during their morning meeting.
Previously, wire copy was the only fresh content one could expect to see on the Sun Web site after the day’s stories were uploaded in the early morning hours. In an interview earlier today, managing editor Ira Stoll said he hopes that readers will get in the habit of visiting the site more often when they realize that new local stories, filed by the Sun’s own beat reporters, are being posted there on a regular basis.
Not all stories qualify for this treatment.
“We’re trying to do it more often on non-exclusive stories,” Mr. Stoll said, “like where there’s a press conference with the mayor or the governor at 10 or 11 in the morning and all the other reporters are there. Or if there was a crime that happened the night before and the police have put out a release about it.”
In an interview, Mr. Lombino said that if he’s dealing with “the kind of story that somebody [from another newspaper] can follow up on for the next day’s paper, we’ll probably want to sit on it until we’re confident they’re at home or in bed. It depends on what kind of scoop we’re talking about.”
Mr. Stoll said that “people may write shorter and quicker, and then for the print edition find a different angle or have more thorough reporting.”
Mr. Lombino said he had looked to The New York Times’ “City Room” blog as a reference point; the Times blog is updated frequently with up-to-the-minute metro news.
Mr. Stoll said he had never heard of City Room.
The full text of Mr. Lombino’s memo to staff:
In an effort to infuse our Web site with updated, relevant content, each day the city section is going to start posting a few stories online well before our normal deadline.
To help facilitate this, Mike McPhate is now serving as the online editor, and his office hours will closely resemble ours.
Each day at the morning meeting, the editors will choose from the city list which stories will be posted online. Obvious candidates for Web posting include reports from pressers, breaking news, crime stories that happened the night before, and filed feature stories that have already been edited and are running in the next day’s paper.
When you find yourself reporting one of these kind of stories, please keep in mind that Mike or I will probably ask you to file something soon.
Depending on the content, a Web file doesn¹t need to be our normal 500-word type of story. It can just be a few grafs – ideally forward looking – about what came out of an event, etc. Most scoops will be held from the Web until an hour where we can be confident that no paper will rip us off.
Once we get this system down, I think you will agree that it will drive our readers to our site more frequently, and provide opportunities for more exposure through linkage on other sites.