Opinion

Web site and newspaper can work together

I discovered last week another advantage of The Herald's growing emphasis on delivering information through the Internet.

Like most newspapers, we are devoting more resources to our Website, heraldonline.com. We routinely post online breaking news stories from York and Chester counties and from around the nation. We also send more news alerts via e-mail to readers who subscribe to that service.

People expect to receive news faster, and we're constantly looking for ways to meet that expectation.

We're also delivering information in formats that historically have been foreign to newspapers, including video. During the last few weeks, we produced 11 video news segments previewing local high school football teams. Throughout the season, we will feature a video from one high school football game each Friday night.

We shoot video at more breaking news events. And we record weekly "podcasts," or radio shows, that feature several of our staff members.

But an unexpected aspect of heraldonline.com surfaced last week. We discovered it's a good tool for fixing mistakes.

On Thursday, we reported on page B1 that a Rock Hill man had pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. The problem is that we misidentified the bank that was defrauded. Instead of reporting that the bank was BB&T, we incorrectly said it was South Carolina Bank & Trust.

In years past, our only option for fixing the mistake was to include the corrected infor'mation in the next day's paper. But with The Herald increasingly becoming an around-the-clock news organization, we took several steps before 10:30 a.m.

First, we immediately pulled the story off of heraldonline.com. We later sent out a bulletin to readers who subscribe to our online newsletter. The bulletin explained that the story contained an error. And the bulletin included a link to the correct story on our Web site.

We later included the corrected version of the story in our afternoon e-mail newsletter.

The printed newspaper you're holding now remains a key publication for us. It is a vital avenue for delivering information. But heraldonline.com is allowing us to add more options for delivering the information we gather.

Through our mistake last week, we also discovered that the Web site and the newspaper can work together in unexpected ways.

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