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Web hasn#8217;t changed newspaper basics

There has been a theme at the annual conference of the Newspaper Association of America this week in Washington.

The talk is about a changing media landscape and how newspapers must adapt to best serve their customers.

On Tuesday, various newspaper executives indicated the news industry has to do a better job of crafting news articles and retail advertising toward online readers. This is not a new concept, but what is new is the notion of gearing online news toward a host of different groups, perhaps with niche Web sites.

Really, newspapers have always had the ability to do just that. When you think of all the things newspapers offer readers, they are really quite dynamic.

Some people enjoy local news, others politics, others sports, others business and so on. Some people enjoy other aspects of the newspaper like the crossword puzzle and the comics page. Newspapers have always been able to offer a little something to everyone.

So catering to different groups of people is nothing new to us. Now we just have to reinvent ourselves with online content.

That goes from the largest dailies to the smallest weeklies. The Ironton Tribune is certainly not immune to this shift because consumers of news and advertising here are looking for the same services as people in other areas.

Readers of The Ironton Tribune’s Web site have noticed changes we’ve made in recent months in an effort to move forward in our online operation. There are more changes to come as we continue to evaluate how to best serve our customers.

Online video, photo slideshows, audio clips and breaking news updates are just some of the things we offer at irontontribune.com. Evaluating online services and examining multi-media options is something that is becoming more of a routine, but it’s difficult because there’s some guesswork in what our specific readership desires.

Blogs and podcats and video are the bells and whistles and can make a Web site look impressive and informative. But does anybody want it? What is true about all of our operation is that no matter how hard we work, no matter how hard we strive to provide a professional product, no matter how much volume we give readers, we have to be honest with ourselves and determine if the information we provide meets both our standards and yours.

The Ironton Tribune is certainly a local newspaper first and that will not change. But as local citizens become more engaged with state, national and international issues that affect them (i.e. gasoline prices, health care policy, Iraq), there is a question as to how much of that is of interest and should be provided.

What can be said for sure is that we will continue to examine our online content and reader input is welcomed and appreciated. So no matter how we deliver information, it should be understood the mission statement on the editorial page has not changed and the basics are still the same.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12, or by e-mail at rick.greene@irontontribune.com.