Monday, July 31, 2006

Something encouraging happened last week on our Web site, www.beaufortgazette.com, and I wanted to share it.

A judge sentenced to life in prison a woman convicted of murdering a Beaufort man in May 2004. We had it up on our Web site within minutes of the ruling. A death sentence had been possible, and this case has been of significant interest around town.

But here's what I found encouraging:

About 10 minutes before we posted the judge's ruling, one of our bloggers posted that she was on the site and "sitting here refreshing the website to see what happens."

In other words, she was turning to us for breaking news, not merely waiting for the paper to reach her doorstep the next morning.

It seems to me that's exactly how the process is supposed to work. When our readers (I still call them readers, although there probably is a more all-encompassing term these days) turn to any form of the newspaper brand to get their information right away, and we provide that information right away, we're doing our jobs. We haven't yet trained everyone, including ourselves, to think automatically of the Web site for breaking news, but this is a step in the right direction.

- Steve Blust

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