Thursday, March 15, 2007

Feb 4 - 11 (4)

Anna Nicole Smith and editors
How do you play news of Anna Nicole Smith’s death? That was the question facing editors across the nation Thursday. On the one hand, there is no shortage of serious news to report, such as the war in Iraq. On the other hand, anytime a celebrity dies in mysterious circumstances, it is news, even big news. We chose a middle-ground approach. We had strong local coverage to put on our front-page today, so that got first priority. But we used a photo of Smith in our first teaser spot across the top of the page, and it was unusual for us to do that for a national story – usually we tease to more local news inside the paper. In this case, the Smith teaser directed readers to a story inside that analyzed why she was such a media phenomenon.Let me know your reaction to how we handled Smith’s death._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:39 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hey South County: This one is for you
Every Wednesday we give South County residents a special treat: A column just for them. Today our Local section front, and our home page, feature South County Beat, a neat collection of news tidbits gleaned by our South County reporters AnnMarie Cornejo, Larissa Van Beurden-Doust and Nick Wilson.The column today answers the question, Who is that man spelling out the word "Peace" in the sand near Pismo Pier? He is Phil Dawson, a rainbird resident of Pismo who lives the other half of the year in Washington.Dawson calls living in the South County an experience "like heaven." For those who live there, you already know that!Catch the column every week to find out more about your friends and neighbors in the South County. And if you have a tip you'd like to pass on, post it here._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:17 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Where is Pet Tales?
Paula O’Farrell wonders what has happened to Pet Tales, a column written by Linda Goldston that we published every Friday in Central Coast Living, our features section. “It was one of my very favorite columns in your newspaper, O’Farrell wrote. “Her heart-warming and often humorous stories of people and their pets was a welcome break from all the bad news that seems to dominate the newspaper.” We too hope she returns soon. Goldston has not written lately because she has been ill.Any other questions about our coverage?Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 1:25 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Monday, February 05, 2007

We seek your views -- it's a good thing to do
Late Friday I got a response to my blog from David Ciaffardini. He questioned why I was asking what you thought about how we played the news of a sheriff’s deputy getting caught for allegedly taking groceries out of the Atascadero Albertson’s without paying.Here is a highlight of what David wrote:“With all due respect, I think a newspaper is in trouble when its staff, presumably made up of professional newspaper men and women of some experience in the business, need to ask the readers basic questions about news judgment. I don't want a newspaper where news decisions are based on a poll of people on the street, most of whom have little professional or practical experience or knowledge, let alone a sophisticated understanding of what goes into creating a great newspaper. Leaders at a professional newspaper should lead. They should have knowledge, experience and, perhaps most important, keen instinct about what should go into a newspaper and how to play it. If they have to ask the man or woman on the street about it, maybe they need to get some better leaders in the newsroom.”Well put, David. I agree with your key points, but I do feel there is room to seek reader feedback. Let me explain.Every day, Executive Editor Sandy Duerr and I (combined, we have nearly 60 years of experience in daily newspapers) make countless news decisions with The Tribune’s group of assigning editors (local, features, sports and business). In determining where to play a news story, we ask three basic questions: what is its impact (how many people does it touch?); what is its importance (how significant is the news?); and how dramatic is it? Beyond this, if we know the subject matter itself is of great interest to many of our readers (home prices or the environment, for example), we will play those stories higher. We also make sure that our stories and photographs meet our ethical standards to ensure our coverage is accurate, truthful and fair.That said, however, getting readers feedback on our decisions is useful. Years ago, when Rex Krebs was being tried for the murder of two college students, for example, readers vehemently objected to daily publication of his photo. So we published it only when we deemed necessary, at critical junctures during his trial. In addition, engaging in a dialogue with readers can help us do our jobs better; we have often received story ideas or tips from them in pursuing breaking news coverage.We will continue to ask for your thoughts, opinions and ideas because we believe it is a practice of good journalism._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:50 AM 0 comments Links to this post
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