Relying On The Wires For Local Copy Just Another Chapter In The Sad Saga of the Once-Mighty Long Island Daily
Because it pretty much has Long Island to itself, Newsday has long been the journalistic equivalent of an 800-pound gorilla -- a nice spot to be in when you're the hometown paper for 2.7 million people.
But circulation scandals that masked a steep readership decline, a shrunken newshole and dozens of buyouts that saw dozens of seasoned reporters bid adieu have put a serious dent in what was once a must-read.
Case in point are two stories that appeared today on Newsday.com.
More newspapers are using their Web editions as vital conduits between editions to put their own imprint on breaking news. Reporters can bang out a story's essentials for the Web and update it as necessary, then get down to the business of preparing their main story for tomorrow's paper.
Alas, that was not on display at Newsday.com, which on its home page had the story on the New York Islanders firing their coach. But instead of a dispatch from Islanders beat writer Alan Hahn, Newsday posted a full-dress version from the AP.
The Islanders are the one major-league pro team on Long Island. Even if hockey is not front and center in the hearts and minds of most sports fans -- and the Islanders are not even in the hearts of most New York-area hockey fans -- it still merits Newsday jumping on the story faster. Sure, you pay the AP big bucks to do that for you, but not for breaking news in your backyard. Pretty sad.
The same can be said for an AP dispatch on Newsday.com about a report being shot down that Republicans had approached Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi about endorsing him in a possible run for governor.
By running this story, Newsday not only used wire copy that quoted the New York Post, which ran the original report, but later quoted The New York Times about another development in the governor's race.
Again, Newsday's not in the business of matching the wire word for word, but when it comes to something that involves the most prominent politician in your region, you need to get cracking on that story and make it your own. Regardless of whether Newsday can't or won't, something is wrong. And given the cutbacks Tribune has demanded at all of its newspapers it isn't likely to be made right anytime soon.