The dilemma between print and online publishing

By | April 3, 2009

Here at The Compass, like at other newspapers, we’re trying to define the relationship between our print and online editions. In this quest a lot of questions surface. For example, should we wait until the publication date (Fridays) of the paper to post stories to our Web site or should we post them earlier in the week? Presently we’ve been posting stories as early as Wednesdays, but usually on Thursdays.

Another question: If an event takes place the day after the paper is printed (Tuesdays), should a story from that event be posted the following week? Since we have the capability of releasing the story online, and therefore making it more timely in its release, should we post the story on Wednesday or Thursday – a full week before it appears in print?

This was the scenario I faced this week.

On Wednesday, April 1, I attended the Rural Life Days Mass in Gillett. Since the April 3 issue was already finished, and the story would normally post to our Web site on April 9 – eight days after the event – I decided to post the story on April 2.

Instead of the online edition following up the print edition, the opposite occurred.

There is a balance we must strike: Publishing stories in a timely fashion versus allowing our paying subscribers to get the news (albeit somewhat dated) first.

Since this is an ongoing dilemma, I would like to hear from our Web readers. I will also post this column as an editorial (there I go again) in an upcoming print edition.

Thanks for your comments.

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