Philadelphia Inquirer won't apply Web-first policy to features

While most newspapers, looking to offset large print advertising revenue decreases, are trying to leverage the Web to the utmost, at least one is bucking...

While most newspapers, looking to offset large print advertising revenue decreases, are trying to leverage the Web to the utmost, at least one is bucking the trend by emphasizing its print edition.

Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor Mike Leary told staffers on August 7, in a memo reprinted on Romanesko, that the newspaper would hold off posting investigative, enterprise, trend stories, features, and reviews to Philly.com until they appear on paper. Leary emphasized that the newspaper – which shares Philly.com with the Philadelphia Daily News – will still emphasize breaking news online.

Reaction from the Web skewed to negative. Jeff Jarvis said: “This is insane. Even the slowest, most curmudgeonly, most backward in your dying, suffering industry would not be this stupid anymore.”

On the pro-Inquirer side, Howard Owens advocated using the Web to create a distinct product. “With proper focus and strategy, there is reason for a good-sized, well-run newspaper operation to repurpose its print product for online,” he said. “All of those resources should allow the online operation to feed off, but not be a duplicate of, the print operations. It should allow a newspaper operation to avoid the soul-sucking, readership-killing, repurposing of print content online and the aggressive pursuit of Web-centric content practices.”

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