Monday, October 10, 2005

"Not enough space" no longer a valid excuse

It's the low-point in the life of a reporter. You work your behind off on a story and spend whatever time you have perfecting it. Then, at the last minute, you get word from the editor that you've just lost a chunk of space and your piece will have to be butchered. Either you do it or someone else does it for you.

Or you find yourself working on a story that simply can't be told in the allotted space. You feel you'll be a doing a disservice to your readers/listeners if you have to compress the story to whatever amount of space you're being given.

But, as a mere leaf on a monolithic tree that can be blown away at a moments notice, you follow orders just so that a) not all your hard work goes to waste and b) to keep that paycheque coming.

Well, those dilemmas are now passé.

If they aren't, then that's a sign your higher-ups are somewhat like those suited dinosaurs in the Microsoft Office commercials.

With practically every single media outlet boasting a web site, each good piece of work that's shortened due to space constraints should now be getting all the space it needs online.

Readers/viewers/listeners should have two options for each online story that was originally shortened for broadcast or print: Original story and detailed story.

Tell viewers and readers that they can get a detailed version online. People like having choices.

Wiping out meaningful words by means of the delete button is anything but productive use of resources when the option to put them to good use - at no extra cost - exists.

The same goes for stories that didn't make it to air or print because they weren't important enough.

Put 'em up. It can't hurt.


Blogger Darcy O'Brien said...

Sikander, I believe for the most part, with the obvious exceptions of editors and owners of media sources,that you have struck on a common nerve that many of us wrestle with each day. No one should have their voice altered, unless for reasons of decency or clarity. Even under those conditions it is but a breath away from sliding down a slippery slope of censorship. That being said I encourage all inquisitive minds, and those who truly take the words of "unfettered" and "without fear or favour" to heart, to look at
Click on the site's "About Us" and check out the shape of citizen journalism. For every problem there is a solution, and you may be surprised that a solution you are pondering, has in fact been put in motion somewhere else.

6:09 PM  

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