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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.

Friday, March 4, 2011

At The Saratogian, we're here for you -- literally

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about working at The Saratogian is its location in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs.
The Saratogian’s 100-year-old building is literally a stone’s throw from City Hall; a block from restaurants and coffee shops for all tastes and budgets and time frames; and just under a mile from my home.
The newspaper’s owners, the Journal Register Company, has affirmed its commitment to making sure the local newspaper maintains a local presence.
That’s no small thing nowadays in the rapidly evolving world of journalism. The advent of “mobile journalism” means that reporters are equipped with the technological tools to report in words and pictures from virtually anywhere, on the spot.
Mobile journalists have a competitive edge in a digital first world. They don’t have to “go back to the office” or even call in. They can post stories, pictures and video online from wherever they are, and spread the word via social media.
Mobile journalists also present a cost-savings to media companies. Although the tools of the trade aren’t cheap, a company can save money by eliminating a physical base of operations.
That’s the bottom line for the Times Union, which the other day announced that it would soon be closing its Saratoga Springs office, which has been on the second floor of a downtown building. While acknowledging the significant cost savings to the Hearst Corp., the Times Union’s positive spin is that the newspaper will maintain its presence in Saratoga Springs with its “mobile journalists.”
Homeless journalists, if you ask me.
The demand is always increasing (from both readers and bosses) for the immediacy of digital reporting from the field. But at The Saratogian, our feet on the street eventually lead back to our quaint corner building with the cool Superhorse in the lobby at 20 Lake Ave.
Having this place to hang our hat, charge a Flipcam, make calls, interview people, edit video, upload photos, and meet people is not just important for Saratogian employees. It’s important for the community, too.
Community members have never been shy about stopping by, to drop off a news item, place a classified ad, chat with reporters or editors, attend a blogging lesson, be interviewed, have a picture taken or pick up some extra copies of the print edition.
That’s another one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about working at The Saratogian: There’s a real sense of ownership in the community when it comes to their hometown paper. Having a physical presence is an important part of that relationship.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article.

But it would be nice if the Saratogian would stop publishing all those press releases as "news" articles. Anything without a byline, I skip reading it.

March 6, 2011 at 2:40 PM 
Blogger Fresh Ink said...

A story without a byline is a story nonetheless. Often what is sent to us as a press release is indeed news, generated by the sender. The challenge in the newsroom is to distinguish between credible user-generated content and self-promotion. The line sometimes gets murky. So rather than skip an unbylined article, read it critically, as you would any article. On our end, I think we should look at ways to tell the reader where the information in an unbylined story is coming from. How does that strike you?

March 8, 2011 at 12:12 PM 

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