A little strange

The Seattle Times did a piece today introducing itself to P-I readers who may have migrated. Executive Editor David Boardman wrote it and structured it as a Q-and-A.seattle-times-logo-2

I thought it was very telling. Boardman made up a small list of “assumptions” that P-I readers might bring to the table, and then proceeded to address them. It’s a fine idea – and a good style to use in this kind of a situation.

With that said though, some of the “assumptions” he assumed really gave me pause. One of his assumptions was, “The Times won’t take on the establishment.” His first citation was the Pulitzer the paper won in 1950.

Another of the “assumptions” Boardman set himself up to take down was, “The Times doesn’t care about breaking news.” He wrote about this as if breaking news means just marking time with the broadcast outlets who can tell us what’s happening when it’s happening. A newspaper who perceives this to be their role in “breaking news” doesn’t get it. Just because you can match the timeline on the Internet now isn’t really the issue – the issue is whether YOU break news. Any fool can cover “breaking news” – but it takes a Journalist (big J) to Break news. As the only newspaper in town now, the Times has to understand this concept, and define breaking news its way – not as posting something quickly on the Internet – but as originating a new story that it has “broken” for the rest of the market

I have to tell you something: When you are able to “assume” a certain percentage of the marketplace in which you operate doesn’t think you’ll speak to authority or break news, you have a problem.

It would like me writing a Q-and-A piece about myself and listing some of the assumptions people have about me as: “Does poor work” and “Can’t understand simple concepts.” If I am in a sorry enough state to have to assume that those are the kinds of things people think about me, it is somewhat telling – in my opinion.

Bottom line? If you’re the dominant hard news organization in town and still have to TELL people that you break news and aren’t afraid to question authority – it’s not good.

We should already know that about you.