Bill  Phillips
Bill Phillips - Prince George Free Press

Bill Phillips is the editor of the Prince George Free Press. He was the winner of the 2007 Best Columnist award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association?s Ma Murray awards. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist awards and, in 2003, placed second. Bill Phillips' Blog

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Reporting news 'as it happens'

The Internet has certainly changed how newspapers operate. For many newspapers the move to putting stories on their Web sites was a reluctant one. Many of us are still hesitant about ‘scooping’ our own print product by posting stories on the Web before they appear in print. There is also the fear about tipping off your competition.

However, things have changed. The focus now is to get the story out, and get it out fast. In many ways we’ve towards being like a radio station in that we can publish news immediately.

Case in point was Thursday’s shooting at Moxie’s. The police received the call at 3:45 p.m. The Prince George Free Press, the Citizen, and Opinion250 all had stories about the shooting up on the Web by 4:05 p.m. The Citizen gleaned its initial information directly from the police scanner, Opinion250 likely did the same, and for us reporter, Teresa Mallam, purely by coincidence, was going to meet someone at Moxie’s and was greeted by police at the door.

We had video up on our Web site by 5 p.m. and Opinion250 had a still picture up by 5 p.m. also.

It used to be that, in this business, we got our stories done based on our press deadlines. Now, we try to get them out as quickly as we can on the Internet, in addition to getting them out in print.

It is exciting because we can report on news as it happens. However, it’s different way of thinking for those of us who have been in newspapers a long time.

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