• Keep on Counting...

    While the previous Talking Texan post may lament the declining numbers of print newspaper circulation, the audience for online news is continuing to grow. In fact, 2011 marks the first year in which the online news audience has surpassed the print audience, according to Pew’s State of the News Media.

    Surprisingly however, that trend is not echoed on college campuses where students are still more likely to pick up the print edition than search for news online.

    But it seems that The Daily Texan, and its newly redesigned website, may be bucking that trend, or at least reaping the benefits of some timely breaking news. On Sunday night, the top two search terms on the site were “Afghanistan” and “bin Laden,” demonstrating that people visit dailytexanonline.com for international as well as local and campus news. The third most popular search term, was “fireworks” referencing the explosive showing on West Campus in celebration of the bin Laden news.

    From when the new site went live late Saturday night through this writing, dailytexanonline.com has had over 30,000 unique page views.

    One of the many things that the Texan has succeeded at in its coverage of a world-wide story is relating that story to the campus community. Tuesday’s front page story on the UT alumnus who helped lead the effort to bring down Osama bin Laden, accounts for half of the total unique page views the site has received.

    The multimedia components of the bin Laden story have also garnered a lot of attention, with the video and slideshow of the local reaction getting almost 1,000 unique hits.

    However, it’s not just the big breaking news events that are drawing traffic to the site. The third most popular story is about Steve Carell’s departure from “The Office”, which has also generated a number of comments.

    The ability for readers to comment on stories, whether they be about news, entertainment, or sports, is a great feature for any website. And it is hopefully just one of many features that the newly redesigned dailytexanonline.com will have to allow interaction between the newspaper and its audience. Greater interaction, and great news coverage, is what will keep bringing people back to the site, and allow the numbers to keep on counting up.


     

  • By the numbers/classic rock

    While our graduating seniors are scrambling around trying to figure out their next step, I've been surprised by the number of job openings I've been hearing about from editors interested in hiring Texan staffers. 

    Now, they aren't all glamour destinations (Amarillo, anyone?) but they all represent a good place to start. If you're interested in a job in journalism, touch base with me and monitor this aptly named website.

    I don't want to be a Negative Nancy, but the latest newspaper circulation numbers are a bit disheartening. When I worked at The Boston Globe (back in the early 80s and 90s) the daily circulation was 535,000 and Sunday was 816,000. Take a look at the numbers now, if you dare. The small- and mid-size papers interested in hiring Texans may be OK, but the regional metros are taking a beating.

    OK, a quick quiz for you. Can you name the journalism-related songs written by the following artists: 

    Don Henley

    Joe Jackson

    The Clash

    Bob Dylan

    Have any more you can think of? Send me a note!

  • 'There's got to be a morning after...'

    Most of you probably aren't familiar with the song quoted above, which was a huge hit for Maureen McGovern back in the 1970s, but it's the tune I always hum to myself the day after any major news event. You name it -- big election, massive fire, start of a war -- the first day (and night) covering a huge news story is an adrenaline high.

    The next day is always the hardest. Everyone is exhausted, you can see the mistakes you made in the rush to deadline and you have go out an amaze your readers or viewers all over again. Not an easy task.

    The Texan staff felt "the morning after" effect yesterday, but still put out a strong paper this morning. It's totally appropriate to give over the whole front page to bin Laden coverage one more time. The disappearance of the skybox and rail tells the reader something unusual is happening. I say we go back to normal tomorrow.

    The package is strong, particularly the UT connection to the Seal unit that did the dirty work. Can we get more on this this today? That might be our natural follo.

    Do you regularly go to the Newseum site? You should! Follow this link to see today's front pages from across the country and around the world: 

    One other thing, unrelated to Osama. I'd like to know who is leaking regents' documents to Ralph Haurwitz at the Statesman. Check out their lead story this morning:

    I'd like to think this story is the result of good reporting, but given the detailed list of who had access to the memo, I'd suggest someone seeking to undercut Gene Powell's agenda is using the Statesman to further his or her own! Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I'd like to see the Texan become part of that chess match!

  • First big test

    Nothing like a major, worldwide news event to test a news staff -- and a new website! When the news broke last night that Osama bin Laden had been killed, editors at The Texan, like editors around the world, tore up the front page and went back to work, despite the late hour.

    The result of that effort, including reporting, graphics and photos from Austin, is in readers' hands this morning. Our effort in print easily outshone the Statesman. Our images were picked up by AP and are appearing all over the world. I saw one of our shots on "Good Morning America" today. Equally impressive is the work  that went into getting the news up on The Texan's new website. We went from a "breaking news" banner to a full-fledged story with staff art -- and an accompanying video and slideshow -- in a very short period of time. The website and the staff responded in a truly professional manner.

    A shout out to managing editor Claire Cardona, design editor Veronica Rosalez, news editor Lena Price, multimedia editor Josh Barajas, Sydney Fitzgerald and Ashley Morgan of the copy desk, Audrey White and Will Alsdorf of the news desk, lensers Erika Rich, Corey Leamon, Trent Lesikar, Andrew Edmonson and the rest of the photo staff and Web angel Michael Redding for all their hard work last night. It's one you one won't forget, trust me.

    Bin Laden's death brings back memories of 9/11 for everyone who was alive at that time. I remember it as my day off, a warm, sunny Tuesday, as I watched the planes crash into the Twin Towers. Those planes came from Boston, where I worked at The Boston Globe. I drove into the office and left my family at home, where I barely returned for the rest of the week. Intense work, intense emotion -- that's what I remember. I still find it hard to squeeze any joy out of this.

    I urge you to follow coverage of the media and this event on romenesko:

    http://www.poynter.org/category/latest-news/romenesko/

    there you'll find this note of interest to copy editors everywhere:

    New York Times staffers received this memo early Monday morning:

    From: Jolly, Tom 

    Date: May 2, 2011 4:15:37 AM EDT

    To: 

    Subject: Two style decisions

    At Jill and Bill’s request, we dropped the honorific for Bin Laden.

    Without a “Mr.” in front of his name, it was decided that we should capitalize the “B” in Bin Laden on second references.

    Thanks.

    Tom Jolly

    Associate Managing Editor / Night News

    The New York Times

  • A brand new day

    Thanks to the efforts of many people, but particularly managing editor Claire Cardona and Web rescue angel Michael Redding, The Daily Texan today has a new, and vastly improved, website.

    This is something of an historic occasion – many Texan staffers past and present have been clamoring and hoping and waiting for this day. Now it’s here. We'll proudly promote that fact in Monday’s paper and through our social media.

    Of course, nothing on the Web is set in stone and there undoubtedly will be adjustments and additions to be made (archives, any one?). But the bottom line is that we have the new website that will allow us to produce more original, online-only content while also presenting our Texan material on the Web in a more logical, eye-pleasing way. And did I mention that our blogs now exist?

     I’ll leave the more technical assessments to our new multimedia adviser, Jennifer Rubin. This is a great gift and opportunity for her and all of us.

    I just want to speak – and say thank you – to the many people who made this day possible. That list includes the aforementioned Michael and Claire, Ana, Jillian, Lauren, Ben, Sean, Ryan, Viv, Veronica, Lena and, yes, Dustin and Nolan and the California dream team. That elusive dream is now a reality, let’s see what we can do with it.

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