Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan quake and LA news

When news breaks, broadcast still rules the day. But do newspapers have to give up completely?

Watched the 10 p.m. news Thursday, March 10, when the initial news came in live about a major quake in Japan. About 30 minutes later, the first images came in. By 11:15 p.m., it was clear a major disaster had occurred.

In the old days of newspapers, when I entered my first career choice about 30 years ago, newspapers would not "go to press" until late at night. If major news occurred, it wasn't that difficult to make the pressroom grumble by telling them: "We're redoing Page One."

Before the 24/7 era of news, newspapers HAD to wait or scramble in the wee hours to make sure they had the latest news in the papers hitting the front doors of their subscribers. The average citizen was conditioned to rely on their newspaper in the morning for the "latest."

Obviously, much has changed in 30 years. But, do newspapers have to give up?

The Long Beach Press Telegram that arrived at my house this morning (March 11) did not have the quake story. Nothing. Nada. The Los Angeles Times carried the quake on the front page of its second, or "Extra" section.

Like I said, in the old days (yeah, I'm old), both of these fine newspapers would make sure I had that story in my morning newspaper. Front page. They would have held the presses to make sure they had respectable coverage in print.

Have newspapers figured that everyone will simply go to their websites? Is the assumption that the printed edition is simply not capable anymore of being timely?

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