Shortly after I moved into my house two years ago, I subscribed to the local newspaper, the Tacoma News Tribune. I subscribed only to the Sunday paper, and when I renewed my subscription about three months later, they said they were having a deal and I could get the Saturday & Sunday paper for the same price I was paying for the Sunday paper. So of course I said yes, and they started delivering the paper every day. I let this go on for months, until one day I canceled the subscription entirely. I just couldn’t keep up with the newspaper every day, and I felt like it was such a waste of paper and my time to throw it in the recycle bin without even reading it.
I’m pretty sure the reason I was receiving the paper every day at no extra cost was to bump up their circulation numbers. The newspaper industry is not doing great and likely will not survive the digital revolution.
It’s too bad, though. I know I canceled my subscription, but one of the reasons why I subscribed in the first place was so I could have something in my hands to read that would let me step away from the computer screen for a few minutes. (The other reason – coupons.)
When I do read the news now I read it online, but not from any particular source. I usually check Google news, which is really lame, or MSN, which is entertaining but doesn’t always have the most newsworthy stuff.
So for this assignment I went to the Tacoma News Tribune website to see how they were incorporating video, and I thought for a second I would have to try a different site. There was no video at all on the home page, but clicking on the “news” section and the “business” section brought up some video in the right hand column about half-way down the page.
Let me tell you what I like about this. First of all, it doesn’t start playing automatically, which as we all know is about the most obnoxious thing a website can do to a surfer. And second, it really establishes the News Tribune as a print medium. The video is there for those who are interested and because it is an absolute necessity these days, but judging from its placement, those looking for video are not going to make the News Tribune their first stop.
And this to me is how it should be. If I were to seek out news video, my first stop would be the website of a local news station. However, the reason why I like newspapers and getting my news from print sources is because I hate watching news. The hastily cobbled together video of fat people from the neck down and the clichéd sound bites from Joe Schmoe really make me cringe. They also don’t seem particularly newsworthy. If I want some real information, it seems to me the only way to get it is to read it.
However, as much as I like the emphasis on the print material, I do think The News Tribune should rethink the video aspect. The videos I watched were from the AP Online Video Network, and some were even branded with bugs from other markets’ newscasts. That seemed odd to me for a local paper. It probably has something to do with ownership by a giant media conglomerate, but it seems to me it would behoove the local newcasters and local print journalists to work together. Showing video from KING 5 would add an air of local authenticity to The News Tribune. And they should absolutely be focusing on local news and local events because there are plenty of places for people to get national news but only a few places to get local news.
Overall, I think the news video should be left to the news video professionals, so I may successfully avoid it, but I also think I am fighting a losing battle.