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Columns : Editorial

Untapped Resources

Building a community of POLICE readers on the Web.

January 01, 2003  |  by - Also by this author

Usually this space is reserved for a discussion of an issue that is vital to law enforcement. This month, however, we ask your indulgence. We need to talk about an initiative we are undertaking at POLICE that we hope will make the magazine more valuable to you and will enliven our Website.

The world famous mission statement of the New York Times is, "all the news that's fit to print." It's a high standard and one that very few publications can live up to. Truth be known, not even the venerable Times can claim to offer all the news that's fit to print anymore.

In an age of declining newspaper readership, shrinking ad revenues, and competition from broadcasters and the Internet, the best most papers can boast today is all the news that "fits the print." That's a reference to an old journalist joke that's common at mediocre papers: "We offer you all the news that fits the print," meaning all the available space in the publication.

But often editors are left with more material than they have room for in the pages of their publications. A decade ago, this stuff ended up in the trash. Of course, that was before the popularity of the graphic version of the Internet called the World Wide Web.

It was once believed that the Internet would run every print publication in America out of business some time in the first year of the then expected Gore presidency. But a funny thing happened on the way to print's inevitable extinction. The dinosaurs didn't lay down and decay into crude oil.

The Internet didn't bury print publications. It actually revitalized them. Almost every print pub has a corresponding Website, and that Website gives the editors a place to publish content that didn't fit the print, a way to build community with the readers, and a method for disseminating breaking news.

OK. I know you're asking, What's this got to do with the price of gasoline and meat?" Simple. This is all a roundabout way to ask you to take notice of some new features in POLICE magazine and on policemag.com.

For example, on the print side, we are instituting a new monthly feature called "How to..." This month the topic is "Acquiring AEDs." Next month we'll tell you "How to...Set Up a K-9 Unit." We want to get your feedback on this new feature, so we are setting up a special forum section on our Website where you can go in and give us a piece of your mind.

Another new thing we're doing is building a stronger relationship with the print content in the magazine and the Website. In the November issue, we added a Web extra segment to our coverage of law enforcement applications for video cameras. This month we extend our Special Report on Preventing Training Accidents with an additional Web-only article on safety in firearms training. As the year goes on, we hope to provide you with more and more original content on policemag.com.

Our goal here is to make policemag.com and POLICE magazine better. Currently, policemag.com is a largely untapped resource. This is especially true regarding the policemag.com forums. The forums afford you an opportunity to share your thoughts with the POLICE staff, heap praise or condemnation on our content, and share ideas with other Police readers and law enforcement officers. Just go to policemag.com and click on the Forums icon. You'll get a list of forum topics that are active, and all you have to do to join in the discussion is click and enter.

We believe that by offering you extra content and kickstarting our forums, we can turn policemag.com into a valuable gathering place for our readers. We hope you'll join us there.

Tags: Communications


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