When a breaking news tip comes in at 6 p.m. or later, editors have to figure out who to put on the story and fast. The decision isn’t as simple as picking the strongest reporter; all journalists have lives outside the newsroom that are beckoning.
Your kids get the latest hype about their world by text messaging their friends, but your neighbor still relies on an ink-on-paper newspaper to bring his news to his doorstep. Some go to the Internet only to check e-mail or read about a specific topic, while others watch every video posted to a news site.
In 1981, Roger Fidler wrote an essay for the Associated Press Managing Editors about what newspapers might be like in 2000 and beyond. Fidler, now the director of technology initiatives for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, envisioned a successful digital alternative to print that would be portable, durable and easy to use and would preserve many of the features that people have come to appreciate about print media.