To e-mail or not to e-mail, that is the question

To my surprise, a post I wrote yesterday praising The College at Brockport‘s student newspaper, The Stylus, for getting the news of the spring concert act out to students over the break sparked some debate.

Dan Reimold at College Media Matters questioned the need for an e-mail alert to the story as opposed to simply posting the news on the web site. I appreciate his feedback. I’d like to clarify  that quite frankly I believe the e-mail alert was necessary because this is occurring during the break and students and members of the college community would not be checking the student newspaper web site for updates when they know the students aren’t there working on the next issue. (Full disclosure: I am the newspaper’s adviser, but knew nothing of the story or e-mail until I received the e-mail.)

I don’t think those receiving the e-mails would view them as cluttering their mailboxes. The community here would see this as big, breaking news. Maybe in New York City or San Francisco or a huge university this would not be big news, but here in Brockport it is. (And please don’t take that as a sign that The Stylus is a sleepy little paper. It’s not.)

Part of determining the importance of news and even what is news is knowing your community. I certainly don’t slight Mr. Reimold for not being familiar with Brockport. I just want to offer some clarification as to why I think it is fantastic that Stylus editor Amanda Seef broke the story over the break, with the first newspaper of the semester still weeks away. She got the story, didn’t wait for the announcement to be “officially” released by the college and recognized that this would be important enough to her readers to alert them. That is good journalism.

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