Times-News editor Alex Kreitman encourages Elon students to be innovative

Sarah Beth Costello
February 10, 2009

The duties of a reporter have changed significantly in the past 10 years.

Burlington Times-News Online Editor, Alex Kreitma, speaks to a class of Elon University journalism students about journalism's future

Burlington Times-News Online Editor, Alex Kreitman, speaks to a class of Elon University journalism students about journalism's future

Not long ago, most newspapers hired reporters solely for their writing and reporting skills. But journalism has evolved over the last decade as the Internet has increasingly become more prevalent.

Alex Kreitman is the online editor for the Times-News. Kreitman graduated from Elon University in 2006, and has experienced dramatic changes as a journalist in the last three years.

The Times-News is a small local paper in a region many in North Carolina deem as “the country”. The paper is responsible for reporting local news and public interest stories, and has a broad circulation extending throughout Alamance County.

EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY

A couple of years ago, the majority of the Times-News staff were not technologically minded. Any media that accompanied a written piece was appreciated, even if it was a short video captured on a cell phone.

Kreitman expects much more from the reporters as the Internet continues to grow. Over the past year and a half, a big focus has been placed on improving video for the Web site.

Through Freedom Communications,Inc., the owners of the Times-News and many other newspapers and TV stations, Kreitman and other reporters were able to attend several seminars and conferences.

“[Now] all [our] reporters know how to shoot video, most of them can take photos and also, of course, write their stories,” said Kreitman.

The accessibility of the Internet enables reporters to post headlines via cell phones and laptops while in the field. Reporters are able to continually update stories until the full story has evolved.

“Reading our newspaper online, you gain so much,” said Kreitman, “you sort of get the play-by-play.”

INNOVATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS

In order to keep a broad audience when the Internet has replaced the need for many to subscribe to a printed publication, journalists must be innovative.

Over the last year, the Times-News has offered several contests to interest and attract readers. Subscribers can participate in online contests during basketball season, and attempt to predict the winners in order to win prizes.

Other contests emerged, including the dirtiest car contest, the best Christmas decorations and the ugliest recliner. The ugliest recliner contest received 45 entries and 50,000 votes. The page views sky rocketed as readers submitted entries, and cast their votes.

THE FUTURE

Despite some pessimism concerning journalism’s future, Kreitman is hopeful that this new era of journalism will be fruitful.

Reporters are not only writing anymore. They are photographing events, capturing and editing video, and updating websites and blogs.

According to Kreitman, the newspaper businesses are looking for younger and innovative reporters who have the ability to do more than write.

“You guys,” Kreitman said to a class of Elon journalism students, “have the biggest advantage the way you were raised and brought up with technology.”

Kreitman discusses the training journalists are now receiving at the Times-News:

Visit Alex Kreitman’s Blog

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1 comment
  1. Janna said:

    Great work. Now because I always want people to be MORE perfect, I will offer a few tips. Always put your byline on every piece, even though it is your site. People searching around don’t always look at the header, and sometimes the name of the person in a header is not the name of the author of a piece of writing. When you write subheds, include a verb and more specific details – your second of the three does this, just do it all the time; remember it is a point of entry and a teaser to get readers involved, so really work it. The first line of your piece could be argued – people STILL hire for “reporting” skills, it’s just that now the reporting skills include shooting video, thinking about graphics and tagging and SEO headlines and all of that good stuff, too. The reporting toolbox is larger than just words on a page. You have some AP Style errors and a few other editing errors – for instance no closing quotation mark at the end of the piece. Go back through with a fresh eye and fix stuff. AP Style on numbers is to use numeral on 10 – so fix that subhed…

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