Yesterday the NRC newspaper for the iLiad contained not one but three files: the normal Thursday newspaper, Wednesday’s newspaper and a letter of apology. What had happened? The Wednesday paper that was sent out to all ePaper readers was a bit strange, to say it in a nice way. Lots of articles were about a journalist that was retiring, and from the articles it seemed like he was a combination of a god and an alcoholic at the same time. The way he did his work as a bike racing sports journalist? By drinking until the sun came up, watching the bike race on TV close to the finish line and then quickly interviewing a couple of riders. It certainly lowered my esteem for the professional traditional media journalists (bloggers sometimes report in a more professional way!).
I assumed the journalist would be very famous in Holland, but that because I did not live there since 1995 I had probably missed that. But it turns out the reason for all these articles was a different one: it was a mistake by the NRC. The paper makes a special edition of its newspaper for every journalist that leaves, with personal stories about his or her professional life. These stories were not meant for publication, but NRC by mistake sent them out to all iLiad readers. Their second big mistake in 3 days.
So the paper sent out an apology to its readers for its blunders over the past days and for this one in particular and tells its readers that they will get compensation for these mistakes. That’s fine, but what’s not so good is that they replaced the ‘wrong’ paper of Wednesday with a new updated one. They literally deleted the Wednesday paper and put a new one in its place. I think this is very wrong, they don’t get to decide what is on my iLiad! Suppose I had written some comments next to articles (which I do sometimes, just like in a normal paper), they would be gone now as well. The papers seems to try to hide their mistake in this way, but is only making it worse in my opinion. People own their content in the digital age, not the media.
NRC is doing its best to deliver new media content, but forgets new media is different from traditional media. And new media means two-way communication, so I hope they don’t mind this blog post. At least NRC is experimenting with ePaper (and the only paper in Holland to do so) and that’s something to applaud. They are not afraid to be entrepreneurial, even though that inevitably leads to some errors. I wish them good luck solving all the problems!