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Writing second day ledes on first day stories (thank you, Internet)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Write-brained, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. How often are you being asked to write second-day ledes on stories that have been on the internet all day long?

    For instance, a big-named coach resigns at 9 a.m. and the story has been on the internet all day - do your editors want you to write a second-day story on the assumption that everyone already knows the news?

    I'm not necessarily quarreling with the logic. Well, I am a little: Is it really safe to assume the reader already knows the news?

    But my biggest problem has been actually coming up with solid, second-day ledes that don't sound contrived and don't bury the news. I feel like I have to two-days worth of reporting in one day to get a good second-day lede, and that's damn hard sometimes.

    But then I wonder if I'm just a dinosaur who needs to recognize that the meteor is going to strike me unless I change.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I think it's a necessary evil as we try to put out two vastly different products (print and online) at the same time, but also an unrealistic workload for one reporter on a daily basis.

    News organizations need to devote people to doing this stuff for the Web, instead of cutting back staff and asking the people who are left to do (sometimes) twice the work. It's a stupid concept.
  3. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Wait...your all's papers have/had you write a second version?

  4. Yes. Most of the time it's not a problem - you just write a blurb/teaser for the internet and then write a longer, more specific version for the paper. But on bigger stories, stories in which your reporting goes directly online, it's really difficult to find something to save.
  5. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    It's dumb. Change the headline. Once they click you get the web traffic. You don't get web traffic for someone reading the lede.
  6. I'm talking about re-writing a second day lede for the paper the next day.
  7. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    I think it is best to handle it case by case. If we're talking real hard news and the "old" lede is still the best I'd stick with it. We can't just assume people have heard/seen it.

    So sometimes something I've written for the web gets the same lede, though even those times it might have updates throughout the story.

    But if I have the time and a "softer" lede wouldn't kill it I'll do it.

    Funny thing is, I've been ripped on the web by some of the usual idiot readers after I've kept the same lede. Their rationale was that I was being lazy and wanted to put my feet up and have a cold one.

    They just can't fathom the fact that I might think it was the right call or that I moved on to work on other stories. ::)
  8. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    We put in our stuff:

    As first reported on www.dipshitdaily.com, then pick up the web lede, with a little tweak, if needed.
    Then do some new intro grafs, as needed, just to update the situation, and then keep the body of the story the same. Or as close to the same as possible.
    I don't know if that is the right way, but it works for us.
  9. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I had to do that on the main story when the Mitchell Report was released. It was one of those things that had been so thoroughly reported an analyzed all day (from early in the AM here on the west coast) that we had to freshen it up by the next am's paper.

    On other stuff, though, I've been told it's OK to have the same story (or the same news) on the web one afternoon/evening and then in the newspaper the next morning, because the audiences are different.
  10. I think it should depend on the story more than it does at our place - where, often, it's an automatic "it was on the web at noon, must be significantly different in the paper," even if it's a "the freaking news is the freaking news" type of story and even if it's not a Big Deal Story that would've been universally read on the web. The latter bothers me most; I've never seen the web numbers, but I'm guessing we're going through the rewrite, and burying the news, so 1-5 thousand of our tens of thousands of readers don't have to read the same lede again.
  11. beardpuller

    beardpuller Active Member

    I would, these days, in almost every case. I work in a market where anything significant that happens with the big-league teams is all over radio, TV, and the Internet in minutes. Hell, I covered a 1 p.m. NFL game Sunday and tried to write that as a second-day story for Monday, after blogging it. Who in Philadelphia doesn't know that the Eagles won, and how, by Monday morning?
    threadjacking alert: If you blog a line you think is funny, are you allowed to use it in the paper the next day? Or is that too much like telling the same joke over again?
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