Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Feel Good Story about Newspapers that Wasn't

Stupid facts; always ruining a good story. See, I had a blog entry pretty much written in my head. The short version went like this:

While talking about yet another detail of our latest winter storm I had an odd thought: our family's definitive source for all things weather is the Capital Weather Gang, which is part of the Washington Post. Isn't it odd that in this day and age, the best weather info I can get is provided by a newspaper? I mean, back in 1913, newspaper based weather reports were probably advanced technology. But by now, doesn't radio, TV and the web trounce newspapers in this department? So what makes the Washington Post so successful?

The problem with this thesis is that the Capital Weather Gang, while owned and hosted over at Washington Post, is really a blog. According to the CWG About page, it was the first local weather blog, started in 2004. In 2008 www.CapitalWeather.com moved over to WashingtonPost.com.

So I don't get my weather from an antiquated source (no offense, newspapers) that's rediscovered its purpose, I get it from the the leading edge of technology: online.

Like I said, facts are so annoying.

Still, there are a number of important lessons here.

First, never underestimate the power of a blog. I know, by now that term is practically antiquated. Still, with a few clicks, you can have your idea online and be competing with established players, and as the Capital Weather Gang shows, you can be victorious. Sure, it takes a huge amount of work, but it's far cheaper than buying printing presses and outfitting a TV studio.

Second, never underestimate the power of good content. Weather seems like it should be nothing more than data. Heck, if I say: OK, Google...what's the weather today I'll get a response from my phone in just a couple of seconds. But as the Capital Weather Gang shows, there's a whole lot more to the story than raw data, and with solid writing, I'll actually want to read about it.

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