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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Saratogian will Flip for you

In 1985, The Saratogian switched from publishing in the afternoon and became a morning newspaper. More and more people were looking for their news first thing in the day. So we changed, to be there when people wanted their news.
Twenty-five years later, we’re still changing — for the same reason, with a twist. We want to provide your news when you want it, where you want it and how you want it.
You might be reading this over a cup of coffee on your desktop monitor, or laptop, or BlackBerry.
The point is, we’re in the news business, not just the newspaper business.
Finding news online isn’t exactly new. But just this past week The Saratogian began new initiatives to use the Internet to be more timely, compelling and maybe even fun. And more is coming.
Last month, we reported that John Paton would be the new CEO of the Journal Register Co., the Pennsylvania-based parent company of The Saratogian. This month, Paton started his new job with a bang. Or whir. Or whatever you call the sound of a Flip video camera.
He wants this media company to get with it, technologically speaking. To make the point, he sent every publisher and editor home with a Flip and a promise to quickly equip every reporter with one.
We took the toys out of their boxes right away. Our newest reporter, Patrick Donges, a December graduate of University at Albany, knew what to do. For a story about the Saratoga Springs Police Department’s Facebook page, he brought his pad, pen and Flip over to Chief Christopher Cole’s office.
Back in the newsroom, Web Editor Steve Shoemaker quickly uploaded the video. So you can read Donges’ story and also watch Cole talk about the Police Department’s Facebook page in a quick video clip at
Meanwhile, using the more sophisticated video camera, sports writer Stan Hudy, working with Shoemaker, videotaped senior night for the Saratoga Springs ice hockey team. It’s a sweet tribute to the players and their parents.
The Flip will be used more frequently for less complicated quick hits, such as breaking news. Hey, if Tom Coons’ sixth-graders at Maple Avenue Middle School can use them (see the Feb. 5 story by Mareesa Nicosia), so can we.
We’re still learning to think now, as in right now, about getting news online. We’re learning to think of the different ways you want to receive news, and how to make them complementary, not repetitious.
As fun as the Flip is, Paton recognizes we’re not about games and gimmicks. We’re only as good as our content. No matter how the news is gathered and reported, it must be timely, compelling, relevant, complete and credible.
That has always been our job, going back to The Saratogian’s start in 1855. And it will still be our job, whether you’re reading news delivered to your door or to your iPad.
Barbara Lombardo is managing editor of The Saratogian. Readers may e-mail her at blombardo@


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