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Today's newspaper reporter

Free Newspaper ResearchImage by Andrea Alessandretti via FlickrMeranda Watling explains how the news business is changing via an anecdote. Read it and learn from it, journalism students.

That story that broke at 4:30? It came in via an e-mail tip. I actually “broke” the news about 4:40 p.m. I had quickly confirmed the gist of it and wrote two paragraphs to post immediately. Because the editors were in the daily budget meeting, I had another reporter read over it, and then I had a copy editor post it asap so I could begin chasing the sources who were leaving their offices at or before 5 p.m. After I reached those sources, I wrote into the online version and updated. When my editor got back he swapped it out and posted it in the No. 1 spot online.

I went to my board meetings armed with notebook and pen — AND a laptop, Internet card and my Blackberry. I continued to report and write during the meetings. On my drive between the two meetings? I made calls on the A1 story.

When I got back to the newsroom around 8:45 p.m., I made a few more calls and banged out the A1 story and then two more about the meetings I’d covered. All before the 10:30 print deadline. I made cop calls, and half-way down the 10-county list we heard a shooting over the scanner. I went there and called in a Web update from the scene.

That is a sampling of what “newspaper” reporters are expected to do today, at least at my newspaper.

Two weeks from now, I’ll be in Georgia at the Management Seminar for College Newspaper Editors, and you can bet Meranda’s post will be among the topics of discussion. College newspapers still struggle with integrating that kind of mindset into their process. Maybe the experiences of a new reporter will help convince them that they need to embrace this stuff wholeheartedly.

via Howard Owens

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