Off the press

June 2, 2009

By David Hayes

David Hayes Press Reporter

David Hayes Press Reporter

The Press is now a major daily newspaper

I truly enjoy working at The Issaquah Press. Writing at a weekly community paper has also allowed me to do much within newspaper production, and I am grateful for the experience.

However, I’ve learned one of the downsides of a weekly publication is breaking news. It used to be if an event happened after 9 p.m. Monday night, it wouldn’t get in our paper until nine days later, because it missed our deadline to get in that week’s Wednesday edition and would need to wait until the following Wednesday — an eternity in the news business.

I once covered a weekend city meeting, writing an accompanying story. Then, I covered the follow-up City Council meeting on Monday and a key fact changed, but it was too late to recall the story without incurring thousands of dollars of “stop the presses” penalty fees.All of that changed when we became a daily paper. If that’s news to you, then you haven’t been to our Web site lately. In fact, a lot has changed on our electronic edition of The Issaquah Press since I first started here.

But the biggest difference is the posting on the homepage. Reporters are actually giddy in the newsroom to fill that spot with something breaking, especially if it gets there before any of our competition has the info.

Our team coverage of the winter floods is a perfect example. Our readers were well-informed of developments as they happened, thanks to repeated live updates we posted to the Web page — from which streets were flooded to which businesses were under water and which homes were in danger of floating away. It was information other news sources didn’t have for a week. Nothing feels better in the biz than scooping the other guy.

Another aspect of our Web site I enjoy is instant feedback. Where we used to only post the occasional story on the Web, now we catalog an entire issue. And each story has the opportunity for the reader to leave a comment, for whatever reason.

For example, when I wrote a column about David Lanz’s upcoming performance at Bake’s Place, little did I know he would actually read my Off The Press. He wrote: “you are busted…a Lanz fan huh? Should have known :-) see you Sat…I will be the guy playing the ’88’s. thanks for the ink! dL”

Others use the comments space to write a note to the person within my story. I interviewed Skyline High School graduate Josh Rawlings when his jazz trio debuted locally, again at Bake’s Place. The comments show that we have readers outside the confines of Issaquah. Guy and Judy Ludvigson wrote, “So excited for you, Josh. Sure hope we are in the area when you come to Minneapolis.”

We frequently get readers who harbor a need to find errors and let us know about them. Now, with the Web, the notification is quicker. Once, a typo I made actually gave an item a whole new, even plausible label. In a Home & Garden story I wrote about energy rebates, I missed a typo under the graphic. Erik didn’t. He wrote, “The article and drawing caption mention ‘thankless’ water heaters. These are really ‘tankless’ water heaters. These heat water only as it is needed without a tank.”

So, if you enjoy receiving our paper, check out the Web site. Let us know what you think. I believe it only makes us a stronger publication that will keep attracting new readers.

Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or dhayes@isspress.com. Comment on this column at www.issaquahpress.com.

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