Gazette gaffe

I don’t normally write about work for numerous reasons. It’s not because it’s not interesting, I don’t want to do anything unprofessional or against company policy. However, there’s one thing on the Gazette Web site this morning that disappointed me. It underscores the need to make sure the right hand knows what the left is doing.

Friday, I covered the Michigan Tech University Board of Control firing President Curt Tompkins. Obviously the dismissal of the head of the area’s largest employer is big news. So my editor gave me the go-ahead to put all the stories on the Web (in part to beat WLUC Channel 6 to break the story). We beat them by 6 minutes on the Web.

OK, I’ve very thankful to post the full stories online (another story, another time). We don’t have a specific way of handling “breaking news” on the Web site, but I’ve developed a special area above the main story zone on the Web site. I think it’s worked very well over the past year. I did the same thing Friday, but the updated versions of the stories (and their headlines) wouldn’t be ready until the paper’s done.

I couldn’t be there at the end (after all, I had a 14-hour day), but I created the pages for the Web editor to update and put online. I didn’t leave any sort of note — I though the big red “breaking news” at the top of the page would be enough for the Web editor to see where the Tompkins story went. In hindsight, I should’ve left a note.

Here’s what I saw this morning:


Further on down the page, the stories from the print edition were in the regular layout. In my mind, that’s obviously incomplete (with the story description missing) and should be corrected (which I did). I guess the mistake is easy enough to make — it’s a unusual addition to the site.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose.