Guardian to “offer news online first”

There’s been a lot of comment about the Guardian’s decision to publish its stories first on the web. New media Guardian to offer news online first shouted Guardian Unlimited, which went on: “The Guardian will become the first British national newspaper to offer a ‘web first’ service that will see major news by foreign correspondents and business journalists put online before it appears in the paper.

The shift in strategy marks a significant departure from the established routine of newspaper publishing where stories are held for ‘once-a-day’ publishing.

The move aims to strengthen and complement the strong track record that has been built up through Guardian Unlimited’s own breaking news content.

By putting the main elements of the Guardian’s news online first, the paper aims to widen and deepen coverage online to benefit the Guardian’s expanding global readership.

However, copy from agency and news wires services will continue to be re-purposed or run as normal.

The system will give reporters and writers on the paper the opportunity to produce more copy of greater scope outside of the limitations of the daily paper.

Some exclusive stories will continue to be held back for the newspaper to maintain the quality levels of the print version. The object is to not remain beholden to a 24-hour printing cycle and be beaten to important news by print and new media rivals.”

Jeff Jarvis makes a lot of the announcement.

But as Kieran Daly, Group Editor of Flight, points out in an email to me:

From our perspective, this is the key bit:

Rusbridger said: “Nearly all City information is now available on the day, and it seems to me a bit old-fashioned waiting for an artificial print deadline in order to put up City stories.”
According to Rusbridger, the intention is for 95 per cent of stories to go straight up on the internet. He said: “If we had a world exclusive interview with George Bush that everyone was going to follow up, we might hold that back for the print edition.”
The Guardian gets next to no city or foreign exclusives, so this is a logical move. But as Rusbridger acknowledges, if your material is exclusive then the situation is different.

And that, strangely enough, is the view taken by The Telegraph. According, again, to Jeff Jarvis, despite rumours to the contrary, Telegraph journalists are free to publish whatever they like of the web as and when they like in order, just as the Guardian has said, not to be scooped by online rivals.

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