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A Big Net Deal: Getting Staff's Attention

There are certain words and phrases that scare readers off, especially in business news. Believe or not, they scare off newsrooms too.

This is a particular problem for news managers (that'd be, cough, me). We know that a certain

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story is really important. But our editors and reporters tend to drag their feet on it; not out of maliciousness or ignorance, mind you. Just because it is B...O...R...I...N...G in terms of writing and reporting.

We have one of the these types of stories today. But I finally managed to get my staff to pay attention to it at our morning news meeting.

"Folks," I said (okay, I'm cleaning this up a bit for publication). "What if we couldn't put up all our news stories and videos because the Internet pipes were too clogged? Would we stay in business long?"

I got a few stunned looks.

"Or what if someone said to us: 'Hey, you do too much broadband-hogging stuff. We're going to limit how much you can do in a day.' Would we like that?"

Now the entire news staff was focused (a noteworthy development). And so I'm confident our coverage of ... net neutrality ... will be on target today. (The FCC will be taking up the issue)

Yes, I kind of simplified the conflict. Net neutrality involves a lot of considerations and there are good arguments and legitimate points of view on every side of the issue. But that dang term ... net neutrality ... just doesn't invite rapt interest among readers AND writers. The stories get little readership and perfunctory coverage (okay, there's an exception from time to time).

But there's nothing like making it personal. So maybe this time?