January 2, 2012

First Box isn't about winning a race

The Internet has put local media outlets in a competitive situation, but accuracy still must be more important than speed.

It used to be that when breaking news happened around here, you waited until the WIRY news reports or the 6 p.m. WPTZ or WCAX newscast to get the first report. The next morning, the Press-Republican published a story on whatever happened.

That's not at all how journalism works anymore. We all have had websites for years, where we can report the news soon after it happens. And you can read it on your PC or tablet or have it delivered directly to your mobile phone.

The output of news continues throughout the day, 365 days a year. On Christmas Day, for example, there was no print Press-Republican — the only day we don't publish a newspaper. But there were two fires in the area, and you could read about what happened at

The ability to get news online immediately carries an inherent danger: When something has just happened, details are sketchy. It's easy to get incomplete information from officials who are themselves just starting to sort out what is going on.

The Press-Republican staff has firm orders not to put anything online that hasn't been verified by a solid source — even if that means we get beat by other news media. Accuracy is far more important to us than bragging rights.

We publish a "First Box" on some of our stories, and that has been misinterpreted, at times. The weekly Plattsburgh newspaper called The Burgh, for example, took a shot at the Press-Republican in an editorial a couple of months ago because they had posted a particular story online before the time listed in our "First Box."

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  • lois_clermont.jpg The rush on Election Day

    We thought Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would mess us up Tuesday night, but it was actually Bill Owens who did, Editor Lois Clermont writes.

    November 8, 2012 1 Photo

  • lois_clermont.jpg Editing Speakout is challenging

    Speakout is overwhelmingly popular, emphasis on overwhelming, Editor Lois Clermont writes.

    April 21, 2012 1 Photo

  • lois_clermont.jpg First Box isn't about winning a race

    The Internet has put local media outlets in a competitive situation, but accuracy still must be more important than speed, Editor Lois Clermont writes.

    January 2, 2012 1 Photo

  • lois_clermont.jpg Never without a book

    I remember the magical feeling when, as a kid, I had saved up enough money for a new book and got to go to the back of Marie Beemer's stationery store on Brinkerhoff Street to make my selection, Editor Lois Clermont says.

    August 1, 2011 1 Photo

  • lois_clermont.jpg Reporting on youth crimes

    The death of Karen Bourdon on May 1, allegedly at the hands of her 14-year-old son, raised a number of ethical questions in our newsroom.

    June 11, 2011 1 Photo

  • lois_clermont.jpg Misconceptions about the Press-Republican

    Everyone has their pet peeves at work. Over the years, I have heard a few generalizations about the Press-Republican that are frustrating, Editor Lois Clermont writes.

    May 2, 2011 1 Photo

  • Column: Decisions made more difficult by Internet

    One of the many difficult decisions we have to make at the Press-Republican is when to publish the name of someone who dies in an accident or fire, explains editor Lois Clermont.

    March 19, 2011

  • Screening letters, by the numbers

    One of the jobs I am getting used to in my new role of editor is monitoring letters sent to the Press-Republican. It's not as easy as it might seem.

    February 15, 2011