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On going Web-first

This is my commentary on a curated conversation had Tuesday night on Twitter between journalists with connections to Maine media about when, and indeed whether, to go Web first. WEASEL WORDS: Please note that, and this should go without saying, I speak only for myself and not on behalf of the Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel or MaineToday Media. kthx.

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  1. @ronzio is Tony Ronzio, editor and publisher of the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Maine and the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, Maine. @writingMaine is Bob Mentzinger, city editor for the KJ.
  2. Dennis Bailey, owner and operator of Savvy Inc., a PR company based out of Portland, Maine. Bailey is a former reporter who managed the 2010 gubernatorial campaigns of Rosa Scarcelli, a Democrat, and Shawn Moody, and independent.

    He refers to Bangor Daily News, which had broken the story, at least on Twitter, about former Maine Gov. John Baldacci getting a swanky new gig at the Defense Department. See below.
  3. It was posted about an hour before Ronzio's teaser tweet for tomorrow's story in the print edition of the KJ.
  4. Kara Matuszewski used to work for WLBZ-2 in Bangor, Maine. Now she works for WBZ-TV in Boston. She also used to head the Society of Professional Journalists in Maine. I don't know Kara personally, but we follow each other on Twitter. This is where it starts to get interesting.
  5. This is where I jumped in the conversation. A little about me: I'm a copy editor for the KJ and the Morning Sentinel. Ronzio is my boss.
  6. My initial comment was a response to Ronzio asking if teasing a story going online tomorrow would be different. (That's how I read his question anyway).

    My take is this: If the story is going online, there's no reason to tease it. Just post it. Then amplify/bump the story on Facebook and Twitter. Use those same mediums to get feedback on the story and engage readers.

    Said more tersely by Kara:
  7. How succinct.
  8. If your TV only showed the same program for 24 hours, would you go back more than once a day? I didn't think so.

    A newspaper is printed and delivered once. After that, there's nothing more than can be done with it in terms of content.

    But the newspaper's website is always on. A reader may check your site five or 10 or 25 times a day. If you only put content on at one point in a 24-hour cycle, you're not giving them any reason to come back. That's why you have to treat your website as a broadcast medium.

    By the way: that friend I mentioned was Eryk Salvaggio, former Web editor at the Bangor Daily News, and the quote was paraphrased. Either way, it's a piece of advice I think of every time I talk with anyone about online journalism.
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