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Archive for December 6, 2006

Dec. 6, 2006 — Technology rewriting the newspaper

Traditional journalism in this country is a series of snapshots. Any news publication is a reflection that is reinvented every day (in the case of most newspapers), each week (for newsmagazines such as Time and Newsweek), or sometimes monthly (National Geographic.

But recently, in order to compete with the constant news cycles of cable television news outlets, newspapers have ramped up to compete. No newspaper website would be caught dead these days without a “breaking news” feature, often an RSS feed that can send emails right to you.

The Washington Post last week was following a story at breakneck speed on Dan Steinberg’s Sports Bog. The subject was D.C. United backup goalkeeper Nick Rimando as the subject of a game of “Assassin” sponsored by a radio station.

“Assassin” is one of those games which is often found on college campuses where individuals stalk a particular subject, or even each other, with harmless weapons. The idea is to “kill” the particular targets and become either the sole survivor or be the first to make a particular hit on someone.

Steinberg, through use of video, telephone, radio, the website, and the D.C. Sports Bog, held a subculture of D.C.-area residents in rapt attention for several days while Rimando taunted his stalkers.

Other newspapers have had their reporters take to the Web with exclusive content and even mobile equipment. The Gannett chain is amping up the concept with mobile journalists working out of their cars with wireless equipment.

Gives a new meaning to the word “telecommuting,” eh?