The fall of the Dayton Day-old newsless

Random. It’s the only way to explain the ipad edition of the Dayton Day-old Newsless.

It may or may not allow you to click on a story into a reader view most days. This means you have to move the page around and try to magnify it to read it, where as when you click into reader view- you can increase the type size and make it easier to read- plus no page jumps, the whole story is there.

Which is essential if you want to email the story to someone, which I’m likely to do. However, months ago, the function stopped adding the headline to the subject field of your email- a time wasting pain in the ass. Used to be easy.

The sports section is worthless- since the deadline for this edition is the same as the print edition- sometime before 3pm. So none of last nights scores are in the iPad edition. Doesn’t really matter much, the sports staff is so thin, they can’t possibly cover even a smattering of the local sports news. They almost should consider giving up anything except UD and WSU and maybe the local pro-soccer franchise, we do still have it right? The Browns, the Bengals, OSU, the Blue Jackets or the Cavs- can all be read about elsewhere. Just stop trying- and dedicate the resources to doing something right.

The Thursday “lifestyle” sections by region never made sense and are mostly redundant, with very little significant content. As an ad vehicle, it’s a joke. Stop wasting electrons- figure out how to do it right- with more meaningful regions- or stop. Where is “Dayton” proper? South Dayton? No. #FAIL

The last two weeks, Thomas Suddes column on OpEd is gone. It was the only worthwhile statehouse column out there. If it doesn’t return, the paper has lost some real value. Fire Ron Rollins and bring Suddes back if you are looking for cost savings. Really.

USA today, or not today, that is the question. It’s been totally random for the last few months, as if they keep forgetting to pay the bill. Not that it has a ton of value, since many of the stories are the same as in the main paper- but, at least the sports is more up to date. They also manage to have at least one worthwhile story per day, which is more than I can say for the DDn.

If I read the New York Times first, I feel smarter, but, feel like I’m cheating my local community. Most of the good stuff I see in the Times and add to my Facebook feed – I see in the next two days in the DDn. Sad, but true.

And most importantly- if they are going to read my blog for leads on stories- they should credit where they got the info from. Monday May 6th I wrote a story: The Wire: Dayton Edition. I identified the person who was the FBI snitch for the first round of indictments. I pointed out that he had a horrible business reputation- and that the city was giving him contracts galore. They ran a story 2 weeks later about the same thing on Sunday May 19 “Dayton worked with contractor despite red flags. Unfavorable reference checks didn’t stop city from hiring company.”

Real journalists cite sources, and when they quote folks who ask “why are you only indicting black men” at the DOJ/FBI press conference- usual practice is to attach a name to the person who asked the question- which was me.

Here’s the thing, considering I do this for free, why can I routinely scoop the folks who are getting paid to report the news?

Here’s a few hints to the Cox/Advance team:

Don’t try to run ten different websites. We don’t need different sites for Dayton.com daytondailynews.com mydaytondailynews.com WHIOTV.com WHIO radio. Build one really good site and do it in WordPress- it’s what the NYTimes uses. There’s a reason for it.

Forget the print edition. It’s cheaper to hand out kindles to subscribers than keep supporting paper. It’s dead. Esp. when it’s making you put the paper to bed at 3pm. Don’t even worry about laying out a print like experience online. Go digital or go home.

Video is key to telling the story. And, not car wrecks or Sally Sweetface reporting live from the steps of a darkened city hall. No “live from the newsroom” stuff either. Figure out how to put stories together- that people want to watch- and monetize them with pre-roll. Build them into your digital paper.

Once you’re online only- with no print space restrictions- you can do the short/med/long thing- but, be like Medium- and not the NYT- put an estimated read time at the top of the story.

Build a community. Comments can be your friend. But, do it intelligently, with logged in and verified identities. This is also how you build page views and ad revenue (but, you’re not that smart).

Become a champion of open meetings- all government meetings are video recorded- and reviewable. Make sure meeting minutes are ADA compliant. Find the freaks who go- and deputize them to keep you abreast of what’s going on. Champion the local watchdogs. Mario Gallin does a better job on FB following DPS than Jeremy Kelley will ever do. Hello?

Same goes for High School sports. You can’t cover them all- but, you can have reliable sources feeding the machine. Make it easy.

And last but not least- hire people who can really write. It’s still a joy to read Tom Archdeacon. Find storytellers. Let them do their thing.

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