Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today Share Content

The Orlando Sentinel this week began a trial run of a content-sharing venture with former rival Florida Today. This reduces newspaper competition in the Central Florida area, which is already a one-newspaper town. Only the Daytona Beach News-Journal and Florida Today provided some level of competition to the Sentinel. It raises the legitimate question, why buy a paper if they are all going to contain the same, exact news written from the same, exact perspective?

Although content sharing may not do much for readers, it is the wave of the future. It helps newspapers cut costs by not having to staff and maintain bureaus in certain areas. The potential to pool reports also cuts costs. The Miami Herald has already entered a similar pact with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post. Other newspapers around the country are also taking this route.

However, the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today won't share all content, since enterprise and investigative reporting will remain exclusive -- at least for now.

Get the details from the memo below:

From: Hall, Charlotte HSent: Monday, January 12, 2009 10:25 AMTo: OSC DL EditorialCc: Anderson, Julie; Benson, Kelly; Burke, Dyana; D'Orlando, John; Greenberg, Howard; Hall, Charlotte H; Khahaifa, Avido; Lafferty, Mike T; Motley, Robyn; Ortiz, Norbert; Schaible, Linda A

Subject: Florida Today Sharing Importance: High

Today we begin a test of a content-sharing partnership with Florida Today. Routine news stories and advances of events posted on our Web sites can be picked up by the other paper for publication in the next print cycle. Stories and photos will be attributed to the originating paper, and bylines will be used. Exempted from the sharing arrangement are columns, investigative stories and major enterprise stories.

Florida Today content will not appear on OrlandoSentinel.com and vice versa, but the Web editors from the papers will pursue an aggregation strategy, including RSS feeds for some content.

During the test, the managing editors and team leaders will also explore the possibility of pooled coverage or team coverage of events on a case by case basis. The test will run three months, and the arrangement could be made permanent or expanded at the end of that period. Mark Russell and Roger Simmons are the point people in our newsroom. If you have questions, you can direct them to Russ, Roger or me.


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