OLD Media Moves

100 pounds of content, small bag

January 8, 2007

Rockford Register Star business editor Jack Burke has a great column Monday on what it’s like to be in his position every day.

Rockford Register StarBurke wrote, “I can’t think of a day that I haven’t wished I’d done something different with the business section. Oftentimes my self-critiques are small. A missed brief here, a photo caption that’s not quite right. Other times I smack myself on the head and mutter incoherent curses under my breath.

“Day in and day out, the biggest challenge is fitting 100 pounds of content into a 5-pound bag. Access to three major wire services is like being a kid in a candy store. You want one of those auto industry stories, two of those investment stories, and one each of the gas price, housing and wage stories.

“More than 90 business stories moved on the wires before 9 a.m. Tuesday. Between 4 and 5 p.m., 64 more stories — better than one a minute — moved on the system. Granted, some were no more than updates of earlier stories, or business agate such as copper prices and such. Separating the wheat from the chaff takes time.

“So whenever I’m asked how wire stories get chosen for the section, I have to offer a somewhat sheepish ‘it depends.’

“It depends on space. It depends on what local stories we have. It depends on what the news of the day is. It depends on what the wires are offering. It depends on what stories people have seen and heard on TV, the radio and online.”

“I’m not saying it’s a free-for-all. It’s more of a balancing act.”

Read more here.

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