Larry Platt: A better way to bring you the news

Posted: February 27, 2012

IF, LIKE ME, you are also a passionate reader of our sister publication, the Philadelphia Inquirer, you'll see some out of the ordinary things in those pages today: the byline of Daily News basketball beat writer Bob Cooney on a story covering yesterday's NBA All-Star Game, and the byline of our Dick Jerardi on a story about Kentucky Derby favorite Union Rags. And in our pages, you'll find Inquirer staff writer Matt Gelb's story on the Phillies.

These are the first examples of a shared-content plan put together by the editors of both newspapers and philly.com that seeks to transform our four brands - the Inquirer, Daily News, philly.com and SportsWeek - into a true 24/7 news operation online that eliminates needless duplication in print, while simultaneously strengthening that which sets each print brand apart.

What does all that media jargon mean? It means you'll start seeing the same game stories in both papers. Those stories, however, will be surrounded by more unique analysis, columns, perspective, investigations and enterprise in each newspaper. So these pages will run the game story by the Inquirer's Gelb - but we will supplement that coverage with columns unique to the Daily News by, say, David Murphy and Sam Donnellon.

In short, we will have a group of writers whose work will exclusively appear in the Daily News, a group of writers whose work will exclusively appear in the Inquirer and a group of writers whose work will appear in both papers. Nearly everything in the print editions will appear first on philly.com along with new, original content. If you're a sports fan in search of a running report of all the day's sports news and commentary, we want you to turn to philly.com in real time.

That's why, as these changes roll out over the next weeks and months, our columnists will be providing their instant analysis on breaking news on philly.com every day. As Josh Barnett and John Quinn, DN and Inquirer sports editors respectively, have laid out, if you want to know what Rich Hofmann or Bob Ford thinks about what Andy Reid said at noon, you won't have to wait until the next day's paper. That will be on philly.com. A version of what they write on philly.com might be reverse-published in the next day's newspaper - or it might not be. Every journalist working here will produce as much digital content as they do stories and photography for their paper.

This plan debuts today in sports, but it will soon include our coverage throughout both papers and online. We realize we have to be smarter about serving your needs, and that the Inquirer and Daily News can't waste time competing against one another on matters where there is little or no payoff. This is not a dilution of the unique Daily News and Inquirer brands. Instead, it is the largest news operation in the region (finally!) agreeing to work together to cover a wider array of stories and provide more depth in a way that continues to set the papers apart from one another - and from every other news outlet competing for your time.

Finally, this plan is also an acknowledgment that we can no longer be satisfied telling you today what you already know happened yesterday. Your life moves too fast for you to wait on us. As it is, the voices of the Daily News garner a huge philly.com audience that's disproportionate to our size - so just imagine how our commentary in real time will serve your interests.

To that end, we debut on page 6 today "The Conversation," a daily roundup of how provocateurs like Ronnie Polaneczky and Will Bunch inflamed the passions of our online community in their blogs yesterday.

Look, let's be real. We've taken some well-publicized hits of late. But the journalists in all three of our newsrooms have responded by not only standing up and shouting their values from the rooftops, their direct editors have also come forward with a visionary plan for moving forward that puts serving you first.

This will be a work in progress, no doubt. But as long as the journalists who pick up my spirits every day continue to do what they do - tell the stories of our time, without fear or favor - and as long as they keep serving the reader and our city above all else, my bet is on the passion that still resides in these newsrooms.


Contact Larry Platt at 215-854-5944 or plattl@phillynews.com.

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