Meridian Star

June 13, 2007

June 13, 2007


Wow! I’m really surprised that the hate mail hasn’t been flooding in. I haven’t updated my blog in two months. I guess the response I did get came from those who actually read my blog — all three of you. Seriously, other than Josh Thomson (my buddy who asks me on a daily basis when I’m going to update my blog) and forum regular Roving J, I guess no one else noticed. But I do appreciate the both of you — at least I know you were reading.

I do plan on updating this blog twice a week like I did in the beginning. We’ve been going through some staff changes over the past few weeks and I’ve been out of town a few days as well.

Here’s a quick update:

• In sports, we’ve yet to replace our page designer. We hope to have that filled by the end of the month. This will greatly improve our daily sports content. Right now, we have two sports employees who are spending much of their time simply putting their pages together. And, yes, the error of the wrong caption in the Sunday paper of the MSU baseball game was beyond embarrassing.

• In news, we have two new faces. Lindsey Key, who replaces Kassie Rowell on our copy desk, will be working on design and layout and also will eventually do some photography work. She is a recent graduate of Delta State and we’re pleased to have her on board. Nathan Martin joined us last week and will be our summer intern. Nathan is a talented writer who’s in school at Patrick Henry College in Washington, D.C. Our other intern, Jeff May, is also helping us out this summer.

Some things to be on the lookout for in coming weeks: our news department has recently taken over control of the Web site, from a content standpoint. This is an area I’ve wanted to address for some time. We’ve revamped our approach to online in the past 10 months but we’ve been very inconsistent. We’ll have two Web updates one day and then go days without other updates. Other problems: we constantly leave stuff out; our state and national news is way behind; our site is hard to navigate (this is something I’m working to see if and when can be changed); and some sections go days without being updated.

The good news: Ben Lockridge will soon be freed up and trained to take full control of these problems. We are currently working on a system in which he will make sure all of our content is fresh and easily digestible. The good things we’re doing on our site: the Meridian 360 video previews are great; our Star Video feature is a great addition; some days we do a good job of updating the site for breaking news; and our new election section (which is actually more advertising than news, but still good).

Our next challenge is to be more consistent. We’re averaging 4,500 unique visitors a day — more than double what we had a year ago. That means the audience is there, we simply have to devote more time and energy from our end to keep and grow that audience. I think we’re on the right track and I believe these past two months have been bumpy due in large part to the transition process.

Anyone with other suggestions and/or thoughts on this, please e-mail me at editor@themeridianstar.com

Also, for a great read on what newspapers face today, follow this link (or copy and paste it in your Web browser if the link doesn't automatically connect): http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003588833

It’s a great read about the big boys, which drives home the point of what small dailies like us are forced to deal with on a daily basis. Read it and let me know ways you think we can improve our approach.