My reading habits have changed a lot in the almost 20 years I’ve been executive editor of the Star-Telegram.Back in the mid-’90s I had what most would classify as an “obsessive media habit” because of my job. I would of course read the Star-Telegram before I came to work, then follow up by reading The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today at my office.After that I would get on my computer and look through all the wire services we subscribe to.When I returned home, there was always a pile of magazines to plow through, from TIME to U.S. News & World Report to Sports Illustrated and People.And on weekends I would usually read at least one book.But compare that with what I do now: In addition to all the aforementioned, I constantly look at Twitter, Facebook, the Huffington Post and content from dozens of social media apps, news sites and blogs. I get text alerts from multiple news organizations 24/7, and I use aggregators like Digg and iPad apps like Flipboard to seek out content that might interest me. The evidence is clear. The digital age has given me a bad case of FOMO — fear of missing out.And of course I have many more ways to read Star-Telegram content now compared with 20 years ago. We have our main website, star-telegram.com, an entertainment site, dfw.com, and a high school sports site, dfwvarsity.com.We have a monthly luxury magazine, Indulge, and just launched a monthly city magazine for Keller (where I live) called K. It’s the same large format as Indulge but with lots of Keller-specific content. We have a Spanish-language weekly newspaper, La Estrella En Casa, and weekly newspapers for Arlington, Weatherford, Keller, the Alliance area, Mansfield, Colleyville, Grapevine and Southlake.We have a monthly sports magazine designed for the tablet, DFW OT, and a tablet news app.And we just started work on a new tablet app we hope to debut soon that takes full advantage of the gorgeous photo and video reproduction capabilities of the tablet. My preferred way of enjoying the Star-Telegram is to start my day with our e-edition on my iPad. It looks just like the pages in the paper, but I’m able to make the type larger and share articles by e-mail or on Facebook (and never any ink on my fingers!).Then I check our mobile site on our smartphone app to get the latest news before I leave for the office. Once there I go through the print edition and check in with star-telegram.com on my desktop multiple times a day to see what’s new. When I get home from work, I fire up my iPad again after dinner to look at our tablet app.Not all of you who read on our digital platforms read the way I do, of course, or enjoy the same content that appeals to me. To get a better idea of what you want, we’ve embarked on a project with the American Press Institute to understand the sort of things our readers and users want and how to better satisfy them.Soon we’ll begin to electronically “tag” every piece of content we produce so we can see what users are consuming. We’ll learn what our audience is viewing, when they are viewing it and on what devices, and how much time they spend. We’ll find out how much of our content is shared through social media, too.Learning that will help guide our coverage and even how we present our content to you. In addition, API will be conducting a communitywide survey to quiz readers and potential readers regarding the kind of information they want to know about. That’s a lot better than the way we used to decide what content to produce — it was called editor intuition!
Jim Witt is executive editor of the Star-Telegram. 817-390-7704 Twitter: @jimelvis