If you checked the "Top Stories" listings online at gloucestertimes.com this week, you would have noted many of the same lead stories that topped our front page in the Gloucester Daily Times.
Those ranged from the latest plans from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority — now looking at raising fares but sparing us the weekend rail cuts we had feared — to another dire cod assessment that threatens our fishermen. Then, there was Friday's powerful story about the death of Rockport U.S. Army doctor Michael McCaddon, whose widow, Leslie, talked poignantly about the military stresses and culture she believes led him to take his own life.
Yet the same online "Top Stories" list — the first news offerings a reader sees when he or she hits the gloucestertimes.com homepage — also spotlighted stories and packages reporting that the Gloucester High School Fishermen's football team will be playing its "home" games next fall at Endicott College in Beverly, while Newell Stadium is prepped for its $3.5 million "renewal" and restoration project. Wednesday's Top Stories featured our Taste of the Times packages on preparing Easter dinner and other culinary treats.
Neither of those were Page 1 stories in the Times. So you might wonder, was the Fishermen's football story bigger news than the Page 1 story on the Inspector General's office investigating SeniorCare's care management for an elderly local man who passed away earlier this month? Is preparing Easter dinner a bigger deal than a proposed $29 million Rockport town budget proposal?
Why, you might ask, would your community's newspaper do that?
For one thing, our news presentation at gloucestertimes.com isn't meant to simply repeat coverage in the morning's Gloucester Daily Times.
We often update the site with breaking news or other updated coverage. At the same time, our online news pages don't necessarily include all of the community listings, freestanding photos or other features that are in the print edition. That's why I often say the coverage at gloucestertimes.com isn't meant as a substitute for the print edition of the Times; it's complementary to it.
Also, some of our features can be presented very differently online, and the classic example of that is Taste of the Times, with its hundreds of cooking videos and thousands of recipes. In that vein, the lead Taste of the Times package will almost always be among our top stories — and it should be, especially for its wide audience of followers.
The same, in many ways, goes for the story of the Gloucester High football team's temporary 2012 "home." To area sports fans and local sports readers, that is indeed a major story that, at various times, might have been a Page 1 Times story.
This past week, however, it likely would have run on the lower part of the front page, while it was obviously our lead story for our Sports section where we were able to better spotlight it. So, online, it certainly fit as among our "Top Stories" of the day.
Just as I see the Times having more than one "front page" each day, I also see our Top Stories box as showcasing lead stories from several of that day's online sections — a sampling, if you will, of the many stories and features available at gloucestertimes.com.
For, just as the Gloucester Daily Times offers more news and information beyond Page 1, gloucestertimes.com also showcases features and other coverage beyond the lead news stories of the day.
As always, let me know what you think.
Questions? Comments? Is there a topic you'd like to see addressed in a future column? Contact Times Editor Ray Lamont at 978-283-7000 x3438, or firstname.lastname@example.org.