Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Internet sets writers free…to get new audiences, and also to “dive into a giant flaming garbage pile”
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 2, 2009, 12:52 p.m.

AnnArbor.com’s big scoop getting buried quick

We’ve written several posts recently about AnnArbor.com, the online replacement for the closed Ann Arbor News. It’s got an interesting and unusual presentation style — by default, stories appear on the front page in strict chronological order. The newest story pushes down all that came before it, a la Twitter or your Facebook news feed.

That’s an interesting idea — moving editorial control from the hands of editors to pure Father Time. But sometimes it runs smack into the realities of the news cycle. AnnArbor.com has a really big story today: Reporter Dave Birkett uncovered a business connection between the University of Michigan’s football coach Rich Rodriguez and a booster banned from another college football program.

Big news in the university’s home town. But the story’s now two hours old. So the front page of AnnArbor.com looks like this:

Because of that pure chronology, the big scoop has already been passed as the lead story by a meeting preview and word of a book-tour stop by the author of something called The Alphabet of Manliness. And every new story will knock it down one more peg. Someone looking at the site’s front page tonight might not even notice it, clinging to the bottom of the page.

Experimentation’s great, and finding the right balance between recency, importance, and interestingness is a challenge for any news site. But sometimes you need a little editorial control to make sure the big stuff gets noticed.

POSTED     Sept. 2, 2009, 12:52 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Internet sets writers free…to get new audiences, and also to “dive into a giant flaming garbage pile”
An extended conversation on the economics of building a career writing on the web today: “Unfortunately, it looks a little grim.”
Hot Pod: What does an audio producer actually do, anyway?
Plus: Panoply grabs some big partners, question marks at Acast, and success in local podcasting through Hearken.
With Indivisible, public radio stations hope the call-in format will help Americans find common ground
The show is “about understanding the values that we hold and how we want to be — what are our shared hopes and dreams for who we want to be in the world and how are we seen,” says WNYC CEO Laura Walker.