As The Crimson’s sports section has been demonstrating it is perfectly acceptable to run stories that are first published on the site and then later (if applicable) in the paper. To do it you need hustle and dependable, steady, accurate reporters. Reverse publishing, when you start realize its potential, gives you options for the next deadtree issue:
1. You have the story. So you don’t HAVE to write it again. A simple prominent box that says “More stories on samfordcrimson.com” helps drive people online.
2. You want to flesh it out with more details in the newsprint. Assign an editor and let’s expand the story.
3. You have the story online, but this story is just so important we should run a version in the paper, too. Perfectly acceptable. The story just needs to still have value by the time the paper hits newsstands on Wednesday.
Evelyn Lauer wrote about this last year, and she’s telling you what to expect:
There is a small window of opportunity for posting a breaking news story online: somewhere between right now and three days from now–and there’s not much room to budge. For example, no one is going to care about why we had a fire alarm three days from now, they care today. “What are people talking about?” I always ask my students. (Of course, when they say, “nothing,” I laugh and say, “That’s not possible.”)
Soon my staff began to put pressure on themselves–and our staff grew–and by second semester, we were posting two to five new articles a day. And then our readers started to expect it.
If you’re going to go online, know you CAN be immediate, you’ll WANT to be immediate, you WILL BE immediate–and, eventually, your readers WILL EXPECT you to be immediate.
The things to watch for are the same thing as publishing in the paper, namely accuracy, accuracy and accuracy.