Do you read your own newspaper and website? I ask because I know some of you don’t. (Actually, those folks probably aren’t reading this either…)
It has been a pet peeve of every editor I’ve ever had and, now that I’m an editor, it’s become one of mine. All too often a staffer will saunter up to me and pitch this great news story that is so great it is already on the front page of today’s newspaper. That means said staffer wasn’t paying attention in the weekly news meeting when the story was discussed, didn’t hear any chatter about it in the newsroom in the days to come, didn’t see it online where it was probably published before the print deadline, didn’t see it in the editing queue on print publishing day and didn’t pick up the newspaper at all the day it came out.
See? I’m mad all over again.
While I’m talking about people on the news side, I saw this problem mentioned in relation to advertising reps this week. From the piece:
There’s a number of people on our team who, the day the magazine comes out, they sit down and read it. There’s absolutely a handful who don’t. If you don’t know your product, and you have to make the assumption the buyer doesn’t, then it gets very difficult to make the brand relevant and relatable.
Amen, brother. …
Reading your own products is the very baseline of your responsibility as a member of a news organization. I would say it is Job 1. Why? Well, because it’s crucial if you want to be a knowledgeable member of your community, first and foremost. Beyond that, it allows you to speak more authoritatively to sources, at news meetings, to clients. It creates an esprit de corps among the staff. We’re all in this together and if you don’t care what your teammates are doing that doesn’t speak well of the team. Reading your website allows you to understand your product the way our customers do. It gives you insight into the urgency (or lack of urgency) that the newsroom possesses. It allows you to think about how stories are shared and whether that can be made more efficient. It keeps you from saying something stupid, like, “Hey, there is a big wreck on the highway” an hour after your news team has posted a photo from the scene.
And I could go on and on. There is very little that bums me out more than a staffer who doesn’t read the newspaper.