My "eureka" moment came when I was riding a streetcar in San Francisco in 2004.
News doesn't wait for the magazine to come out. You can't just control it by dictating its delivery. That day, I called Keith O'Brien, then editor of the Web site, and told him to start posting stories daily, rather than holding back for the print edition - a change he had been advocating for some time. It can take time for us traditional print types to shift our thinking.
The evolution is still going on at prweek.com, where news online is now un-gated from today. Features, surveys, and specials remain behind the wall, but spot news will be open. We have also, in the past few years, introduced blogs, podcasts, and more Web exclusives - all of which are oriented to making the Web site a destination with its own identity, but in concert with the print edition.
We are not unique, and readers might be saying to themselves, "Well, duh," when reading this. During the past few years, the debate over online vs. print models has grown heated inside newsrooms and publishers' meetings. The fact is that no model has been proven to completely solve the dilemma of keeping all publishing platforms relevant and credible, but I think that we, in the global media sense, are getting closer to cracking the code.
What remains difficult is calculating the perfect editorial-team matrix that will allow this to happen. Web extensions have sometimes been a strain to populate for existing print-oriented reporting teams. Job descriptions for your average reporters even five years ago would have looked roughly the same as they did in the early 20th century. Here is your beat, here is your deadline, go forth and report, and don't be late.
Now reporters are expected to add content to many more channels. It has helped that reporters are increasingly interested in developing their own brands and may be more willing than in years past to participate in vehicles outside print.
But, in fact, there is plenty of content just waiting to be seen by more people, already created within the traditional reporting role. Each week, more time goes into reporting and writing the news content that goes in a particular print edition than what actually goes into the whole rest of the magazine, from a production point of view. News, in my view, forms the foundation of a publication's credibility. A robust news section demonstrates access, journalistic rigor, and understanding of the key issues of interest to the readers.
News is also the gateway to the deeper topics. There are few things more satisfying than breaking a story on the Web, then following up in print with analysis that takes the story further.
In the same way we realized three years ago that news couldn't "wait," we now see that news is also the doorway to a greater understanding of PR by a broader audience. We look forward to not only continuing to innovate, but also to making sure a wider range of people can see the great things we are already doing every week.