Here is an early look at part of Wednesday's Editor's Desk column in the Chapel Hill News. For new blog readers, we try to use the Editor's Desk column to comment on the news gathering process, and in this case, changes at the N&O and Chapel Hill News that affect our news gathering.
N&O public editor Ted Vaden wrote recently about the end of the N&O’s West edition, which served readers in Orange, Durham and Chatham counties.
How does this affect local readers?
The move to the new Triangle & Co. section in the N&O means local stories have to compete against statewide and Raleigh-centric stories for the best play. When a local story is high profile, like Jesse DeConto’s Sunday update on the Eve Carson case, it’s going to get on B1. Ditto for Matt Dees’ Friday story on Chapel Hill police investigating University Massage.
But when a story is of primarily local interest, or happens late at night (because of an earlier press run), chances are it will run inside the section or you will see a “refer,” or short summary sending you online.
That’s why our story on Hillsborough aquiring land for a possible future train station ran on page 4B in Friday's N&O. In fact, that story is a good example of our new model. We broke the story Thursday morning at www.newsobserver.com, followed up with a short story in the next day’s N&O and expanded on that with additional interviews and information in Sunday’s Chapel Hill News.
We followed that model in covering the Town Council’s health insurance discussion and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority’s rate hike. In both cases readers got the basic facts in the N&O, followed by more information (including a list of current council members’ insurance costs) in the Chapel Hill News.