How do you frame a Web clipping?

Published 12:54 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

Have you ever printed something from the Internet to frame? Pasted it in your scrapbook?

Me either, although I’ve received one or two emails memorable enough to make the wall.

That’s one of the things I think about when people predict the demise of the medium to which four generations of my family have devoted their lives.

I have boxes of clippings I deemed interesting and worth keeping, things we once called refrigerator news. We are as flattered now when someone forwards a link to an interesting story as we are when they clip out items and post them on the refrigerator. Still, there’s something less permanent about the digital form. Indeed, as technology and Web sites change, archives sometimes get lost.

Are newspapers going away? I don’t think so. We’ll be different, for certain. We already are. While as news organizations, we once saved everything for print and guarded our content zealously until those printed words were on the street, we now deliver news on multiple platforms – in print, online, on Facebook or Twitter, in email blasts – often as quickly as we receive it. With the iphones that are the constant companions of those of us collecting Covington County news, we can report, photograph, and post to our Web site from any place we have phone service. I don’t understand how that vehicle works, but it sure is fun to drive.

For some, a snippet or a headline is enough; others still want the whole story. But because we can deliver on these diverse platforms, our audience has never been bigger.

In our industry now, we see the scaling back of large, metropolitan newspapers. More than ever, people turn to newspapers for hyper-local content they can’t get anywhere else.

And at least one of our readers, Class of ‘61’s Harvey “Pete” Donaldson, tells me he checks Andalusia news daily for a different perspective of what’s happening in the world.

SEAGD’s Greg Henderson reminds me often that he reads the headlines in our morning email, and how helpful that is when his work takes him away from here.

Both examples are flattering, but also illustrate how local content is now delivered. It boggles my mind that last month, there were more than a half-million page views on our Web site.

Tablets and other mobile devices with which the industry is now experimenting will change how you read us five or 10 years from now. I still believe that total shift won’t happen until there are better ways to archive digital content. After all, can you frame a Web site?

As we mark National Newspaper Week for 2011, we thank you, our readers, for trusting us as a source for local news. It is an honor and a privilege to do this work, especially in this place.