photo courtesy Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times
photo courtesy Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times
Three hours ago I was resolved not to talk about market trends in this post. This is supposed to be an overview of what I think of The Seattle Times, after all, and I've spent a lot of time talking about how a refocus on local stories probably saved the paper from going the way of the PI in 2009. Again, that was all three hours ago. My feelings have changed.

What happened three hours ago was the publishing of an amazing article by Erik Lacitis on "white hat hackers," computer geniuses who try to break down programs and hack systems to find the security flaws. The piece profiles Leviathan Security Group, a technology security company specializing in internet security. It uses the story of one of the hackers at the company, and the company itself, to describe how the internet security industry is booming, worth around $1 billion last year.

About three-quarters of the way into the article I realized two things. First, this was really good writing. I had just read an entire article on a guy who hacked computer systems for security purposes and accidentally learned a lot about the industry this character was in. The second thing I realized was this article was published online at 8 p.m. on Sunday night, which means it probably got cut from the Monday morning print edition. Whoa.

I've spent a lot of time in this blog talking about how market trends dictate the way the news is reported. An inability to compete nationally forces papers to take on a regional focus. A need for supplemental elements to a print story dictates that seasoned reporters learn video. Web traffic dictates what the biggest stories are online as much as editors do theses days. However, there is one thing that cannot be changed within the industry, cannot be affected by market trends, cannot be changed by the short attention span of the online media consumer, and that is good reporting. The Times is built on a base of strong reporting.

At the end of the night I don't particularly care what video is attached to what story. Is it nice to have a visual supplement to an article? Absolutely, but its not necessary. The one thing that will turn me off to a story faster than anything else is if the reporting seems thin. I can't stand it. If there is no substance than there is no reason for me to stay on a page longer than 5 seconds. I have never once felt that an article I opened on The Times website lacked substance. It has been the best beat I've covered so far i any of my media blogging experiences. Long live The Times and
 





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