Alex Kreitman speaks on the Burlington Times-News Hyperlocal Use of Online Journalism

Alex Kreitman is the online editor for the Burlington Times-News.

Alex Kreitman is the online editor for the Burlington Times-News. Photo by Megan Wanner.

By Megan Wanner

Alex Kreitman, the online editor for the Burlington Times-News in North Carolina, spoke to Elon University, N.C., students Monday about the newspaper’s use of their Web site to bring its readers constant updates on local breaking news stories, including multimedia aspects to give their audience more than just words on a page.

“We keep updating until the full story is there and that is the story you’ll read in the newspaper,” Kreitman said.  “With reading our newspaper online, you gain so much.  You get the play-by-play almost.  Instead of just opening the paper the next morning and getting the full story, it may be a little bit old.”

Within the last year and a half, the Times-News has been concentrating on improving the video aspect of their Web site.  Instead of posting video of sit-down interviews, the paper is interested in video that tells a story, giving emotion or action to the news report.

The Times-News website has become even different from the print version as it lacks the multitude of feature stories that hold together a print newspaper.  Instead, the Web site concentrates on all the breaking news stories it can constantly keep updated accompanied by video and pictures.

As a local paper, the Times-News is mostly concerned with printing stories that would not be covered anywhere else such as local car accidents, crimes and city council meetings as opposed to national stories that their audience can learn about from television news networks and national papers.  The Times-News still prints some national stories, just not in the most prominent place in their paper or on their Web site. 

“We talk about what stories should go in, and a lot of times we pass on national stories to put on the front page and go with local stories because the stories have been out all day,” Kreitman said.  “They’ve been on CNN; they’ve been on Fox News and the 24-hour news cycle has kind of killed off these stories for print version.  We still put them in the newspaper but we’ll kind of bury them a little bit because people probably already know about them and they would much rather read about local stuff.”

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