Wick Communications

How much should you tell?

In Crime on February 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm


In one Wick newspaper community, a man was arrested on felony charges of child molestation. The charges were themselves graphic, mentioning very specific sex acts. Authorities indicated the allegations involved family members.

Here in Half Moon Bay, a 19-yer-old otherwise known as a good kid was accused of raging through a local neighborhood, naked, smeared with feces and attacking a former pro athlete, while under the effects of hallucinogens.

And these aren’t particularly isolated incidents. Hardly a week goes by without a touchy story passing an editor’s desk. Sometimes they involve children or mere allegations. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge the veracity of the charges themselves. Complicating matters, most of us live in relatively small towns where these stories can lead to unfair online commentary and innuendo that can follow families for years.

So what do you do with these salacious tales? How do you balance the public’s right to know with questions of fairness to those involved? Do you err on the side of publishing the whole truth or are you likely to protect neighbors and the sensitivities of readers?

Let’s start by acknowledging that these are very difficult decisions. There may be no right answer and there probably isn’t a stock bit of advice that covers unique situations. That said, I’d like to offer some things to consider: …

Making a great magazine better

In Magazine on February 26, 2015 at 3:05 pm


One of my favorite moments of the week comes each Sunday morning when I stroll to the end of the driveway and pick up The New York Times. It’s got that satisfying heft that more newspapers used to have, and truth is bending down to pick it up is likely to be the most strenuous exercise I have all weekend. Sad but true.

There is plenty of wonderment inside this driveway bundle. I always enjoy the sports, the Book Review, Travel… but the piece de resistance is often The New York Times Magazine. It was great as it was — before the Times announced it was re-inventing an institution.

So last Sunday I walked to the end of the drive with some trepidation. Would they screw it up?

No. They did not. And I mention the transformation here because I think it proves that innovation doesn’t have to mean new technology. The New York Times Magazine is still print-focused and last week’s included the most print ad revenue of any in the magazine’s history, according to Editor Jake Silverstein. Why did advertisers flock to it? Because the staff just wouldn’t leave well enough alone.

Among the cool features in the first week: …

Running toward the digital age

In Online media on February 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm
Dean Baquet of The New York Times. Todd Heisler / New York Times

New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet made an important symbolic change. Todd Heisler / New York Times

Last week brought two seminal moments in the long arc of this thing we call journalism. One occurred at the New York Times, the other within Wick Communications.

First, let’s talk about that Manhattan daily. Executive Editor Dean Baquet announced that the newspaper – excuse me, news organization – was making a “small but significant step in our digital transformation.” The change? Essentially, the newsroom desks will no longer pitch stories for Page 1 of the print newspaper, but rather for prime digital space.

He created “Dean’s List” or what amounts to the day’s tops stories. Those that make the list will get most prominent play across the organization’s digital platforms. One assumes somewhere in there some ink-stained wretch will continue to plop these great stories into the next day’s print product, but that won’t be the focus of the vigorous debate that has always culminated in the newspaper of record.

“It’s worth noting that the tradition of selecting Page 1 stories under the old system has long made The Times distinctive,” Baquet says in his memo to staff. “We are seeking to preserve the rigor of this process, but update it for the digital age. Desks will compete for the best digital, rather than print, real estate…”


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