Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor Mike Leary says the paper is "adopting an Inquirer first policy for our signature investigative reporting, enterprise, trend stories, news features, and reviews of all sorts. What that means is that we won't post those stories online until they're in print."
Instant reaction by the online crowd was predictable; Jarvis went ballistic.
Holding routine features, trend stories and reviews seems pointless and counterproductive, but holding exclusive stories for simultaneous publication is not always a bad thing. That's not the real problem here.
Our job is to serve the public, not advance one medium and oppose another.
A publication plan for "signature investigative reporting" should be one that's designed to bring the largest possible group of people into the strongest possible engagement with that piece.
That might require holding the BFD for simultaneous publication in print and online. It might require teasing and setting the stage with advance components, some of which might appear in only one medium.
And it might require tailoring the online and print presentations into different, complementary pieces. It's entirely possible that the print and online components might be completely different with some parts being print-only.
And the whole process might work best if writers use beatblogging techniques to work the territory during the reporting process.
But you can't do that if you regard one medium as yours and the other as theirs. And that's the real problem with the Leary's memo.
In his memo, Leary wrote: "We'll cooperate with philly.com, as we do now ...." Well, gee. That's so nice of you. Us and them, the great divide.
UPDATERyan Sholin has an interview with Chris Krewson, Executive Editor, Online/News at the Inquirer, with details.