Wick Communications

Going to extra innings

In Online media on 3 Nov 2011 at 3:57 pm

As someone who has been there myself, I pity the staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. They were all over coverage of Game 6 of the World Series – a crazy 10-inning affair that featured more comebacks than William Shatner’s career – but the late hour limited what they could do in print. At least initially.

Some print subscribers got the issue you see above at left. Imagine your surprise, when you wake up with your rally squirrel hat still plastered to your uncombed head on Friday morning, and you see that on your front stoop. Game 6 was one of the biggest stories in St. Louis in … forever. But loyal print readers got a “sorry folks” at the bottom, noting that the game was just too late.

As you can see, the staff rebounded on the Web. By mid-day Friday, the Post-Dispatch was selling the cover you see at right for $14.95 as a print ready for framing. And the newspaper’s website was simply alive with good coverage – blogs, fans photos, videos, columns.

I guess it’s an object lesson in the limitations of print when hard deadlines limit what can be done in the middle of the night. It can also be seen as an example of what can be done after the paper’s gone to bed. Some lessons from the Post-Dispatch: …

Post photos. Lots of them. It would be great if folks can buy them through an intermediary like MyCapture, but even if they can’t, all those clicks add up to real Web traffic and it also makes your site the place to go to see the best images.

Live blog. And update often. Keep readers aware of what’s going on in the middle of the story of the year. In fact, if you are in the middle of the story of the year – a tsunami warning in Half Moon Bay, flooding in Pierre, a shooting in Tucson – blog and tweet relentlessly. Keep the back and forth going. Give readers reasons to click every few minutes until things calm down.

Blow up the template. Notice that the Post-Dispatch let the cannons fly once the game was over. Forget the regular stuff. Make a splash in print just as soon as you can.



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