Scott Stanford is general manager of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Call him at 970-871-4202 or email sstanford@SteamboatToday.com
Not too long ago, the newspaper announced its foray into television with the purchase of Steamboat TV18.
This week, as promised, we started putting news broadcasts on the air. The news clips, which are three to five minutes long, run at 7 and 8 a.m. weekdays as part of the Steamboat Today morning show on TV18.
It has been a learning curve for me. Foremost, I'm finding out that while the broadcast only lasts a few minutes, the preparation takes hours.
If you've seen our newscast on the Internet, then you know the drill - a summary of the day's news and sports headlines with some photos and graphics. We're not where we need to be, but we're much further along than when we started in August. I hope the next six months will produce as much progress.
Our goal is to continue adding traditional news video to the newscast and the Web.
One of the things this process has reminded me is being a newspaper editor isn't what it used to be. Ten years ago, most editors were focused pretty heavily on the printed word and growing readership in their newspapers by growing circulation.
Don't get me wrong - the print newspaper is still a huge part of my job, as is producing content that will help grow circulation.
But the Internet and TV increasingly consume more of my time.
These days, I'm up at 5:30 a.m. My first task is to check our Web site to ensure it's updated properly and all the links work. I update the weather on the Web site. I upload the morning news video and check several RSS feeds for news and sports headlines from across the nation. I watch TV18 to make sure the news looks good. By the time I get to work and pick up the print edition of the Today, I've already read most of it online.
I am on our Web site throughout the day - monitoring comments, updating my blog, posting stories and sending out news alerts as warranted. (By the way, did you know you can get breaking news and sports from Steamboatpilot.com sent to your cell phone?) Right now, I'm also spending time each day on our TV news - writing scripts, delivering the newscast, taping the newscast and working with video.
And, oh yeah, I occasionally write and edit stories for the print edition.
I don't have a crystal ball, so I can't tell you what will be the dominant medium in 10, 20 or 30 years. What I do believe is if you randomly selected three people and asked them how they access news, you likely would get three different answers. Some rely solely on the newspaper. Some get all news online. Others would say TV. Some download newscasts to their iPods. A few might say from their cell phones.
I think our role as a newspaper is to stay focused on producing news and delivering it in whatever form readers want it.
An example: I had a call today from a hotel manager who has an important client coming next week. The client wants to read the International Herald Tribune - a Paris-based, English-language newspaper owned by the New York Times - during his stay. Problem is, you can't get the Herald Tribune delivered here. But what you can do is sign up for the newspaper's electronic service, which allows you to download and read a replica of the morning newspaper using a Newsstand browser.
I don't know if Newsstand or a similar electronic system is in our future, but I'll take that up after I get this TV thing figured out.
If you get the chance, please check out our newscast either on Steamboat TV18 or on the Web. I'd really like your feedback.
Scott Stanford's From the Editor column appears Thursdays in Steamboat Today. Call him at 871-4221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org