Today's letter from the editor**:
Our days are starting earlier and ending later here at the Bradenton Herald.
Why in the world would I want to make a reporter and editor get going at 6 a.m.? Or have the Page 1A editor finish the print product and then build the home page for Bradenton.com at 1 a.m.? Sheer torture seems like a logical guess.
Nope. The reason? You. Our newsroom has to mirror your habits. Your demands for information. Your need to know.
And when you need to know it.
We are building a "continuous newsroom" — a local newsgathering operation that can provide you news and information around the clock by integrating our print and online products to be that seamless source.
We’ve reallocated newsroom resources and changed how we produce the paper version of the Herald to help make this change. It’s proving to profoundly change how and what we deliver to readers through Bradenton.com, the Bradenton Herald and the Lakewood Ranch Herald.
We’re getting our first breaking news, story updates and tips for the day posted to Bradenton.com by 7 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. Early-birds with connections to Manatee County are loving it, from the feedback we’re getting. The phones and emails have never started so early, or continued through the evening so late as news develops.
One of our most intrepid reporters, Carl Mario Nudi, has been promoted to full-time online reporter. You’ll still see his byline in print, because the stories will be that good. But his beat is online, all the time.
Carl is a great snapshot of how we’ve changed. He’s an amazing journalist who has literally done it all. He started as a pressman in Detroit years ago, when newspapers were still "hot type" and gritty. In our Bradenton newsroom, he has been copy editor, cops reporter, computer super-user, layout editor, Palmetto reporter and islands reporter. For the past two years, he has been hammering at me to let him at the world of web reporting. So now he’s in at 6 every morning. You go, Carl.
His backup, law enforcement reporter Robert Napper, is at the helm when Carl is on vacation. Two other veteran journalists have been tapped as early-morning online editors: Gary Taylor, communities editor, and Jennifer Rich, business editor. And all the other editors are helping post the breaking-news updates and blogs coming from just about every reporter throughout the day.
Within the next few weeks, you also will be finding more news videos on Bradenton.com. Paul Videla, a staff photographer for the past five years, is becoming our videographer to help develop daily videos and slide shows on Bradenton.com. He is working with Photo/Visual Editor Tom O’Neill to train all the reporters and photographers in capturing video and audio to enhance our key stories throughout the week.
Enough of the early-bird specials. For you night owls, Night Editor Matt Pallister, 1A Editor Brent Conklin and Night Metro Editor Joe Saunders are working later to give you the complete scoop of that day’s newspaper online. We’re usually online by 1:30 a.m. to complement the print copy of the Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch editions.
And your Bradenton Herald/Lakewood Ranch Herald still gets to your doorstep or driveway between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. — sometimes even earlier. There’s nothing better with a cup of coffee than the Herald.
**Joan Krauter is executive editor of the Bradenton Herald. Starting today, she and Managing Editor Jim Smith will be writing a "Letter from the Editor" published on Sunday's op-ed page.