The Seattle Times' lead story on the big game came from an AP reporter
One thing that I have repeatedly been able to say about The Seattle Times in this blog is that they are really good at picking up stories off the AP wire. That isn't a bad thing either. As a regional newspaper they shouldn't be wasting money, and more importantly valuable reporters on a story that is of no intrinsic value to Seattle.

I keep saying this because it is true. We live in an era of shrinking budgets and smaller staffs. It is the responsibility of a newspaper to use its budget and manpower in the most effective way possible. Covering a game far away that involves no teams from the Pacific North West in not an effective way to do that.

In fact, the focus The Times has on regional stories is evocative of a paradigm shift going on throughout the industry right now. Former major players in national news like the Dallas Morning News and the Boston Globe are now focusing their content regionally in an effort to control a piece of the market where there is little competition. Even the mighty Washington Post is moving in this direction under the guidance of new editor Martin Baron, who previously ran the Boston Globe.

Now obviously everyone would like to see original content from the Times on the game, but it makes no business sense to provide it when you can get excellent coverage from the AP wire. The newspaper's resources are put to much better use covering the grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Unlike the Superbowl, this story has major implications for the Seattle area as the commercial division of the aerospace giant is based in Renton, Wa. That coverage, by the way, has been excellent so far.

Ultimately, its going to be tough to analyze The Times' coverage of national news events because they won't – and shouldn't – cover them with their own reporters. They do a fine job of picking the right stories to fill space and leading with news relevant to the Seattle area. Props should be given to Barry Wilner and Howard Fendrich though. They wrote the AP pieces that The Times was picking up and the stories were good. Once again, this just isn't The Times' thing.

Now without further ado, here is "Leon Sandcastle."
Janet I. Tu's piece on Monday showed the strength of The Times reporting.
In today's journalism world of shrinking newsroom budgets and even smaller staffs it is no surprise the The Seattle Times turned to AP articles for the majority of their coverage of President Obama's second inauguration. As was pointed out in the previous post, the Times is an excellent REGIONAL newspaper. They have neither the budget nor the ability to compete with the national news sources for coverage of a story like the inauguration of the president.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the coverage found on the website was bad. In fact, The Times did a very good job of picking things of the AP wire to satisfy the need of those turning to The Times for coverage over CNN or the Washington Post. In fact, with the exception of video the Times had everything a POTUS–watching 24–hour–news–cycle–junkie might ever want.

Let it not be said that because they used so many AP stories The Times didn't have any of its own coverage of the inauguration. On the contrary, there were a few articles that were able to connect the big event in Washington to the local Seattle community. One such article, written by Janet I. Tu, focused on the importance of having the first African American President inaugurated for a second time on the day honoring a man who did so much for the advancement of racial equality in the United States.

This kind of national news really isn't in the wheelhouse of a newspaper like The Times. While they do provide some national coverage, there is better national coverage from organizations that carve out their niche with national news. The Times is far more adept at covering the stories that are important primarily to the local Seattle community, and The Times should focus on these stories because they will be able to sustain a higher readership that way.

That being said, I was very pleased with how I was able to follow the inauguration from The Times website. The AP articles blended well with the local coverage of the event and MLK day. It was updated early and often, which is about all you can ask from what The Times was doing. I would call it a successful day for The Seattle Times.
Ah yes, another semester in journalism class with Prof. Herbert Lowe. Of course, this means another new section for my blog and another newspaper beat assignment to write about. After The Star Tribune and NBC News we have The Seattle Times, a great paper from the emerald city in the Pacific Northwest.

One thing I've noticed after examining a lot of news sites for journalism classes is that a lot of these sites are designed in a similar fashion, though no two are exactly the same. For example, the headline section of The Seattle Times is similar to Boston.com, very clean with all the sections laid out in order of popularity directly under the masthead. And the front page and top stories is reminiscent of the Strib. All the top stories are listed next to a large photo that links to the lead story. Under that lies the top stories from each section organized in individual boxes. This is all very clean and simple. There is nothing truly innovative about it, but it is easy to use and quick to navigate.

The real strength of The Seattle Times lie in content. The Times produces content aimed primarily at a local audience. They are not, and will never be a New York Times or a Washington Post or  Wall Street Journal, which means they don't have the national draw and attention those newspapers have. This does afford them the distinct advantage of having a niche market, which leads to a more devoted readership.

The coverage of local business and the local economy seems to really stand out for the Times. Though this is my interpretation after limited experience with the paper and there may just happen to be several important stories in that area right now, the Times seems to excel in their business and economic coverage.The sports section of the Times is impressive as well. It should also be noted that the Times has had recent success in investigative pieces, including one on the crystal meth industry in the Pacific Northwest which won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2012.

Overall The Seattle Times appears to be a strong news source fr those in the region. However, because it features a primarily local ad regional focus it does not have much draw for those outside the greater Seattle area.