Reporting history is becoming more futuristic

Published 10:19 pm Saturday, January 23, 2010

A quote from Mark Twain’s Autobiography once depicted news as “history in its first and best form, its vivid and fascinating form …”

Much to the chagrin of many in the newspaper industry, the reading habits of readers has dramatically changed over the recent years, and as a result has forced us to change the way we distribute “history in its first and best form.”

Each generation of newspaper professional – as it is with just about every type of profession – talks about how it was in the “good ole’ days.” Some generations often talk about the days of hot type, flash bulbs and wax. Then, there are those who – believe it or not – talk about newspapers in the days before the Internet.

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I am one of the latter. I still remember putting out a newspaper when there wasn’t an Internet and when those in the newspaper business sat around black and white televisions in the newsroom to watch the verdict in the O.J. murder trial. If you’re curious, the TV – as I remember – was a 12-inch, anything but HD television with rabbit ears.

But, in the nearly two decades I have been blessed to work in this business, I have seen newspapers go from watching breaking news on television or hearing it on the radio, to having the ability to transmit breaking news through the Web, Facebook and Twitter.

Reporters today use smart phones to provide updates from news events around the world and have the ability to compliment their in-depth articles with video and sound.

More than any other media, newspapers today are truly multimedia, and it has been an amazing thing to observe.

Through our daily newspaper, Web site, Facebook and Twitter pages, we reach far more people throughout Suffolk and Hampton Roads than ever before. Our reach today gives everyone in Suffolk – and anywhere else for that matter – the opportunity to get the latest in community news, sports and information.

Over the coming days and weeks, you will see a renewed focus on our Facebook and Twitter pages, offering new features and more updates. And, you will also see more videos added to our online coverage.

These improvements and changes come at a time when we have seen even greater interest in our daily newspaper readership and record traffic at

Newspapers today have to be able to change to meet the demands of their readers. Newspapers have to find ways to get news and information out in a format that their readers want it and in a timely fashion.

As for me, I still find the feel of a daily newspaper enjoyable. I love the opportunity to sit back in my chair and flip the pages one by one.

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t check my phone each morning for our daily news e-mail.

The information business is a fast-paced world, and I am proud to be a part of it. Where else can you have a hand in reporting history in its most “vivid” form?