It’s been a wild and crazy ride for this thing we call newspapering. A hundred years ago the industry got on a rumbling steam locomotive, loaded with hot lead and linotypes, and headed off on a magnificent journey. We didn’t know where we were going, but we sure knew when we arrived at the station a century later that things had changed.
The platform we stepped onto was completely different. Actually, there were multiple platforms. Newsprint was still one option, but on the other side of the train was the walkway of websites and social media.
As the train pulled away we noticed it, too, had changed. It was now high-speed rail.
A lot of newspapers have come and gone in the last several years, and sadly many departed because they refused to change with the times — or changed so much that they lost track of the one thing that counted the most, their customers.
Fourteen years ago, when Kerry Smith founded the Illinois Business Journal, she didn’t know which direction her train was taking her, but I dare say she found her way back to the station in good fashion. She retired her engineer’s hat in September and I gladly assumed the editing controls of a paper poised to be stronger than ever. Since that time, I’ve been helping my business partner Al Ortbals chart a new course, adapting to reader and advertiser needs.
This month, I believe, represents significant achievement for us, and I wanted to briefly tell you about it. We’re making changes that will complement our monthly print edition.
We are in the process of updating our website, www.ibj.com, to add Associated Press and local headline content that will be changed as news happens. If the Dow Jones plummets 200 points, you’ll know it minutes later. If a bank president gets named locally, we’ll have that news up there shortly after we find out about it.
From our website, I can link those headlines to our IBJ Facebook site or
I can put them on our Twitter feed, @ILBusinessJourn, or my personal Twitter feed, @dennisgrubaugh.
This cross-promotional publicity will be our way of reaching out, so that far more people have access to our efforts.
Even old dogs like myself can change with the times. The way I figure it, if Miley Cyrus can twerk, I can tweet. Simple as that.
All this is designed to get more local business news in front of the public. And you, the reader, can help me:
- Start sending me any local interest news releases that you’d like to see included on our website. If I can also squeeze them into our print edition, they’ll be included. Email is best.
- Friend us on Facebook. You’ll then start seeing our posts, featuring business highlights of the day.
- Follow the paper (or me) on Twitter. On the IBJ feed, I’ll stick to business news and issues. On my personal site, I get a little crazy and sometimes mention the grandkids.
- Call me with those hot tips. And I don’t mean the best pony at Fairmount Park. What I’m really looking for are breaking or routine business news and good ideas for stories and profiles.
My goal is to present a more complete news package, offering something useful to readers every day of the year. We’ll save our best efforts, our most unique production, for the print edition.
News happens more than once a month and if you don’t change you’re likely to get run over in the process. When it comes to lead, follow or get out of the way, I’d rather lead.
My intent is to use this new, multifaceted approach to keep this 21st century business news train on track, ready for whatever’s ’round the bend.