PAULINE'S PICKS: Smaller Paper Fills a Need With a Nightly Web Newscast

By: Pauline Millard What do you do if you're the editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer and you realize that there is no local television station? Your paper may cover the news in the morning, but in the evening, there is no way to get local news, shy of a station that mostly offers updates about Raleigh.

If you're Brian Tolley, you look to the Internet. Tolley's paper has a well-designed Web site, the, which covers the Fayetteville area well. Local news is up high and other sections, such as sports and military news, are easy to find. There are streaming AP videos, and blogs written by staffers.

Tolley hired Sabrina Lavdis, a broadcast journalist by trade, to anchor the newscasts and brought on Brandon Plotnick to produce. Together they used the traditional nightly newscast format to create a hyper-local, five-minute webcast of the day's news. It runs in the evening so that viewers will get content that didn't appear in the morning paper. Recent topics included the start of a Citizens on Patrol program and a local hollering festival, as well as weather and sports.

There's only one problem with these segments: They are a little hard to find. Given that this is a new feature, I would think the Observer would want to show them off. Instead, they're buried behind a small tab that reads "Video & More." The newscasts are well done and deserve a lot more attention than the casual viewer might give it.

All in all, the Observers' newscasts are a great example of blending readers' natural migration to the web for news while keeping the content highly localized. They still get their newspaper in the morning, and an extra dose at night.

I'm always fascinated by how newspapers, especially local ones, are adjusting to the Web. If you know of one that should be featured, don't hesitate to drop me a line.

In case you missed them, here are past Picks:

The Washington Post uses various multimedia in a special report and Post Traumatic stress Disorder and the Walter Reed medical center. Tells Local Stories -- With Audio Slideshows

Podcasts on The New York Times

The Miami Herald's 'What The Five!'


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here