Site gives readers their very own journalist

Posted: June 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , | View Comments

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It's dangerous to go alone! Take this. | Photo by Rob Fisher

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this. Photo illustration by Rob Fisher

Vaughn Hagerty is not out to save newspapers.

As the Web development manager for the Star-News in Wilmington, Hagerty hasn’t spent his days proselytizing about the impending death of print or lamenting the vampirism of sites like Google.

What interests Hagerty are good ideas. And he thinks he’s got one.

In mid May, the staff at the Star-News launched, a site that solicits questions from regular readers and answers them using traditional reporting.

The underlying concept, Hagerty says, is a simple one.

“I think all newspapers are trying to find our place in this new world. ‘What are the jobs that we’re doing?’ is sort of a central theme,” Hagerty said. “One of the things that came up was this help desk concept, like how could we provide this sort of information.”

That initial concept, which stemmed from a formal conversation among the newsroom staff, led to a Q&A format facilitated not by experts, but by journalists whose task it is to answer the question as completely as they would in a traditional news story. Read the rest of this entry »