Blogs > 37th Frame

Photography, notes, commentary and much more from former Reporter Online Editor Chris Stanley.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I like Firefox. I have liked Firefox since Firefox 1.0. All my computers have Firefox, all the work computers have Firefox (because I installed it). It's free, and I get nothing from this endorsement except a geeky satisfaction in being a little different.
What's so great about Firefox?
It just works. That's all. It handles bad HTML well, it's clean and simple, it doesn't get between me and the pages I want to see.
Internet Explorer is over-featured and buggy, IMHO. Like most Microsoft products. It's picky with code, and often loaded with all sorts of toolbar extras I didn't ask for or want.
Chrome, well I haven't tried Chrome, but I don't feel any need to, yet.
Remember Opera? Netscape? AOL? They all had their day. That day is gone.
Safari? Seems to work well on a Mac, but I don't use Macs most of the day.
So what are our readers using? Not surprisingly, they are using what came with their computers, namely Internet Explorer. It breaks down like this on an average day:
  • Windows XP, IE 8: 19%
  • Windows XP IE 7: 14.5%
  • Windows 7 IE 8: 11%
  • Windows XP, IE 6: 9%
  • Windows Vista, IE 8: 9%
  • Windows XP, Firefox 3.6: 7%
  • Windows Vista, IE 7: 5%
  • Mac OSX, Safari 5.0: 3.86%
And the list goes on from there. Here's a few on the bottom:
  • Linux: Chrome 5.0: .01%
  • Windows 2000: Firefox 1.0: .01% (is there a computer museum nearby?)
  • Windows Vista, Safari 4.0: .01% (see, I told you there was no point to this)
  • Windows XP, Flock 2.0: .01% (wha?)
  • And a smattering of Netscape, Mozilla and Opera leftovers.
Fight the power. Go blue and orange.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Press preview

Here's a few photos of our press facility in Exton last night...I am working on a video of our press run which I will be posting tomorrow.
It's quite a place, and the people I met there are very proud of it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Job printing for the new age

Have you ever seen a photo of a newspaper office from about 100 years ago...usually a group of mustached-men and women in long dresses and hats posing in front of a brick building. Sometimes the sign on that building said the name of the newspaper; another common sign on these buildings was "JOB PRINTING."

The actual printing of a newspaper takes anywhere from an hour to a few hours, once that is complete the press could sit idle until the next run. This is why companies (like our own) have combined printing operations to maximize the amount of return they get on very, very expensive machinery.

In those off-times, newspapers printed everything from supermarket circulars to specialty newspapers, trade publications, community guides, coupon books and even the newspapers of competitors. The more the press ran, the better the investment paid off.

As pressrooms have disappeared and consolidated, individual newspapers are missing out on that revenue. Some of that business simple faded, as some groups moved to electronic publication, and others moved to the consolidated operations.

So now local newspapers are left with a newsroom, advertising and circulation departments, some administration, and a whole lot of empty space. The print product is brought in each morning by truck and distributed to carriers; otherwise the once-bustling press room sits quiet.
So now we must ask, what can replace that lost business? What can make the community newspaper the center of the community once again? We have many ongoing efforts to bring the community into our newsroom - blogging, new advertising initiatives, crowd-sourcing - yet we are still missing one important piece of the community puzzle.

A hundred years ago, a local business or organization might have turned to the local newspaper for help with publicity - job printing. What is the modern version of job printing?

A web site.

So, here is something to ponder, an idea as old as newspapers themselves but as modern as Web 2.0. Why not get newspapers in the business of creating web sites, providing a complete solution for local businesses and organizations to not only get on the web with a well-designed site, but to tie in the marketing of those sites with the news product through banner ads and other traditional web advertising?

This would require people with a very different skill set, but they are already out there creating web sites, promoting them with social media, creating video and even producing good old-fashioned paper marketing materials. We need to find those people, perhaps partner with them or even hire them outright.

The effect would be to increase the reach of a newspaper back into the community, which will not only serve to make money directly for the organization, but support the news operation as it migrates toward the web by increasing the number and visibility of businesses that advertise on their news web sites.

Once again, the newspaper, or local media center, or whatever you want to call it, could once again become an integral part of the community and not just a side show.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Then and now

Retired Reporter Chief Photographer Willard Krieble stopped and joined former Managing Editor Dick Shearer for a podcast interview, which will be posted in the near future. I took a photo of Willard at his old desk:

Which is sort like this other photo we had sitting around:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Digital too complicated? Here's something, uh, new

It looks like somebody got stuck with a warehouse full of crappy film cameras...

Does this mean that when you turn 65 you can't plug a USB cable into your computer?
Thanks to for this gem

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Almost there!

The cubicles are out...and the tables are in. I had no idea office furniture weighed so much.

The transformation continues

Last time I looked, 'hauling' wasn't on our list of job responsibilities in the newsroom.
But that didn't stop reporters Dan Sokil and editor Tony Di Domizio from volunteering their afternoon to help me and building maintenance guru Tony Arena to disassemble and haul away 25-year-0ld cubicles from the middle of our newsroom to make way for the new Community Media Lab.

Next up - cleaning out five and ten year old documents and media guides from old file cabinets, then we bring in conference tables and chairs purchased from the Chamber of Commerce.
When were done, we'll have a clean, open space for our staff and the community to use to meet, collaborate, and cover this community like nobody else.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The transormation begins...

Except for some paint, a new carpet and some new computers every decade or so, this newsroom has not changed much in at least twenty years, probably many more.
Back then two reporters shared each writing terminal, and the pagination machines (what the pages were laid out on) were as big as a filing cabinet and twice as heavy.

Now the reporters use a mix of terminals andPC's, as do our paginators. We're looking at different approaches for the future, likely something mobile such as a wireless laptop so they can work in and around our towns and post stories as soon as they write them.

But our beloved newsroom, like many, is overflowing with old computer equipment, piles of press releases, municipal documents and old newspapers. Besides not being a very comfortable place to work, it is also not very inviting to the public. If we're serious about turning our readers into partners in covering our communities, we need to create a space where they can meet with us and get some help putting their news on the web.

So we're gutting the newsroom - just the center part - and turning it into our "Community Media Lab." We'll add some conference tables, chairs, our video editing station and a computer or two. We're planning some classes on blogging, how to add audio and video to your blogs, monetizing them, and giving you a chance to come in an talk with our reporters about how we cover the news and how we can do so better.

We thought about putting this lab in other parts of the building, but decided that if we are serious about turning our news readers into news gatherers we had to bring them right in the center of our operation.