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Building your own digital house

Sunday, January 28, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:17 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dear digital reader:

Pound enough nails in enough 2x4s, and you’ll eventually be able to frame out a house.

The new house of newspapers is digital. The nails might be considered

the shifts in priorities. Witness one big ole nail — the Los Angeles Times — last week. Its editor said the Times would treat online, latimes.com, as the primary delivery vehicle. The Web is where the eyeballs and advertising dollars are flowing, so that’s where the Times will go.

Paper isn’t king anymore in Los Angeles.

What’s the Missourian’s take on all this?

More than a year ago, Missourian Publisher Dean Mills talked about a “paper-less” goal. Not killing our printed editions, but devoting more resources to digital forms. Witness the eMprint Missourian, the rich-media PDF publication on Sundays; mymissourian.com, the site for and by citizens of mid-Missouri; and Mobile Missourian, a cell phone text information service.

In November, the next wave began when voxmagazine.com was launched, replacing a static, “print-like” Web site with this amazing, interactive site. I’d say it was very cool, dude, but I’m not hip enough.

In just a month, columbiamissourian.com will undergo a similar transformation. I have high hopes (and a few worries) for producing something special. There will be more news throughout the day, not just for one “edition,” databases that help you find the information you want, and generally a much more dynamic site.

Where does that leave me on the print vs. digital continuum? Solidly with my eyes on the future — scratch that, present — which is in digital delivery of news, conversation and commerce.

At the same time, print isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, I’ve pretty much failed the desire of my boss for less paper. Just two days after the columbiamissourian.com re-launch, a new print Weekend Missourian

will hit your doorstep. I’ll tell you more about those plans in a later letter.

Presidential politics, Part II: Last week, I noted that it was a year until New Hampshire — far too far away for me to be caring about the race. And then came the polls.

I can’t fathom what purpose these polls might provide, other than to provide more obscenely warped news coverage. Check this bit from World News Now (ABC) on Monday. Charles Gibson says: “And just very quickly, the horse race. I’m not sure these polls are worth a tinkers, whatever, at this point.” Then a graphic with the numbers pops up. Isn’t it a little demeaning to describe the election for most powerful person in the world as a race of horses?

Again, I’m taking the pledge to swear off worrying about it all for now. Who knows — perhaps I’ll last more than a week this time.


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