Sunday, February 12, 2006

Quick study offered of newspaper battle

Area viewers received a quick primer Thursday on the changing state of the newspaper world Thursday night as KOAM anchor Dowe Quick explored the viability of newspapers in the age of the Internet.
It was revealing, but not surprising, to see that Joplin Daily editor John Hacker had faith in the future of paper-and-ink newspapers, while Joplin Globe editor Edgar Simpson seemed to indicate that newspapers are going to go the way of the passenger pigeon.
Hacker is an old-fashioned newspaper type who is smart enough to see the value of the newspaper, and who is trying, with some success, to combine that sensibility with today's news consumers' desire for up-to-the-minute news. He has been hampered by a poorly designed website with limited reader interaction and an undermanned news staff. Still, he has one thing going for him- people root for the underdog, especially when they have seen the Globe's arrogance growing over the past decade.
Simpson, on the other hand, does not appear to be comfortable on either the print or the Internet side of the operation. The Globe has continued to follow a philosophy of keep trying everything and hope something sticks. The Globe has increased its Internet content and made it more timely in an effort to combat the Daily, but it is still so protective of the bread-and-butter print edition that it does not give enough content for readers who do not want to wait until the following morning to find out what really happened. This is a big predicament for the Globe.
These are some of the things the Globe has tried over the past several months:
-Posting reader reaction to Internet stories- This was a great move and has helped the Globe to rapidly increase its Internet readership.
-Starting a weekly Joplin-based newspaper to blunt the beginning of the Daily. This has been a miserable failure. Not only does the weekly have no discernible identity, no buzz, and little original in the way of content, but in launching it, Globe Publisher Dan Chiodo let readers know it was being started because there was not enough room in the daily newspaper for Joplin news- not the greatest public relations move.
-Starting a series of blogs. I don't have any way of knowing how much traffic these are receiving, and the effort is laudable, but I haven't seen any of them that have the ability to generate water cooler buzz. I would like to see Carol Stark combine the coping with cancer portion of her blog, which is fascinating and well done, with more insight into her Globe duties. Take the reader into the Globe newsroom. Jeremiah Tucker's blog has limited interest, primarily for younger readers, and how many of them are going to go to the Globe just to read his entries? The Globe intern blog promised to be one that would offer insight into the inner workings of the newspaper. Instead, it has been another daily offering of me, me, me. The intern's column offers an opportunity to examine the inner workings of the newspaper; instead it has been wasted on overpersonalized college commentary. The blogs of the minister and the military wife are fine additions, but again, so far nothing has really stood out.
-Daily e-mail bulletins on important events and previews of the Saturday Globe. I like the previews and I appreciate the bulletins, but some of the items that have been sent out, such as one last week on the arrest of some thieves while they were breaking into a business, marginalize the value of the service.
-The meth series- This was well done and finally, good use was made of Max McCoy's investigative abilities. At the same time, there has been nothing to create buzz during the two weeks since the series ended, except for one of the subjects of the meth series losing her job.
-The Sunday changes. What's the big deal? Now there is a section devoted to Joplin/area news and it has the opinion pages in it. There do not appear to be any significant changes in content. And now there is a real estate section. The Sunday redesign was unveiled like it was the second coming. It appears to be more of a sleight-of-hand effort to throw off the Daily's momentum by making it appear that the Globe is actually improving its local and area news coverage.
***
The Joplin Daily, on the other hand, may be achieving its goals (whatever those may be) but it has not made much inroads in the hard news category or in the opinion category. When your opinion section is jam-packed with the writings of Gary Nodler, Marilyn Ruestman, Ron Richard, and Bryan Stevenson, you are not giving the readers much reason to return. Other columns have smacked of the me, me, me syndrome described above.
The sports section has improved and former KODE sports anchor, now Joplin High School media instructor Bruce Vonder Haar's columns have centered around Joplin sports teams and issues and have been thought-provoking. The game coverage suffers from the same predictability that hampers the Globe's.
The center point of the Daily is not its weekly Sunday edition, but its Internet edition and that has had problems from the beginning. It does not provide the easy interactive features that the Globe website has, and if it plans to beat the Globe by being up to date technologically, that is a must.
The Daily has landed stories that do not show up in the Globe, and it has proven itself to be a worthy competitor for the Globe on many local stories. It still has a long way to go, but then again, the competition has barely begun.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not understand why Joplin Daily insists on running those columns that the state representatives have plagiarized from other sources. Mr. Hacker, could you offer an explanation?

Anonymous said...

If the Joplin Daily's motto is "All Joplin...All the Time," then why is Bruce Vonder Haar writing about Mizzou basketball?

Anonymous said...

Bruce's small paragraph about Mizzou basketball centered around a former coach at MSSU (IN JOPLIN) deserving a shot at a chance for the job.

Anonymous said...

I used to look forward to receiving the Sunday edition of "The Daily". Yesterday's edition told me what I missed on their website during the week and what was coming up this week on the site. Who cares?
"All Joplin, All The Time" - what about last weeks article about the Route 66 museum IN CARTHAGE? That's all Joplin?
The "Globe" isn't perfect, by any means, but at least there are articles of interest to anyone not in school in the Joplin, TJ, or McAuley schools. The "Daily" reminds me of the weekend news on the local stations - nothing but fluff and "we have to fill seven minutes of news" to get to the weather and sports, which is the only things that happen in Joplin".
Extra-topical, but a web-site for news will never replace the ability to carry the newspaper around the house (by this I mean into the bathroom).

Anonymous said...

The Route 66 museum may go in the Jasper County Courthouse. Since most of Jasper County's residents live in Joplin, and most of the county's tax revenues come from Joplin people, that is a Joplin story. And I do believe that Route 66 does run through Joplin.

Anonymous said...

Good stretch.

Anonymous said...

When the "Daily" has some content that's important to me, I'll be happy to change my opinion of the paper. Here are some ideas:
If you choose to cover schools, why not feature one school in the district each week. Talk about their facility, their demographics, test scores, what they offer to the community, etc. Some schools work under a theme - how do they choose the theme and what are some of the things they do to follow the theme.What makes them unique.
Business section - highlight a business advertiser or manufacturing plant. What do they make, why do they make it, who are their customers, what do they do for the community, what ties do they have with other area companies, why did they choose Joplin?
The paper loves religion, why not do the same for individual churches. Highlight one each week.

Anonymous said...

Great idea on choosing a different church each week for a feature story. The local churches are under-reported by all the media.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on Carol's blog, it is very well done, I usually sit and cry for/with her as I read it, she is very good at communicating. I guess I never thought of wanting to know more about her job but that does sound like an idea, something other than chemo and pain. The others have not impressed me much, maybe I don't relate to them as well, we all like different things.

Randy said...

Having Carol comment about her work would go right along with the idea of her blog- people continue to function, their lives continue to go on, even after they have been hit with such a terrible blow. While it is important for people to share Carol's experience, it is also important for people to see that those with cancer, like those with disabilities, lead productive lives and continue to contribute to society. Carol Stark has cancer, but there is much more to her than that, and if she shows that, her blog can really be a source of inspiration to those who are going through similar difficulties.

The Insider said...

The JoplinDaily.com is a piss poor excuse for a newspaper. The writers are amature, the basis behind it is not to give the readers what they want, but to generate money for the company as they are lacking sales in other areas. Exactly what happened to the huge Big Nickel paper they used to produce. Seems to me its getting smaller and smaller due to more of the internet based classified ad pages that are available to anyone, anywhere for alot less money. I don't think the globe has to worry about anything since it already has its name embedded into the Southwest Missouri area. Until the JoplinDaily gets better reporters and a better staff, they will be reduced to just another pathetic paper pushed onto people for the companies sake of saving the publishers butt for being a failure at all their other numerous publications (which are good for dog kennels)