The 24/7 newsroom in a small city

I’ve been reading articles lately, especially one by Steve Yelvington, that say that once a Web-focused newsroom wakes up to the idea that news happens day and night, there’s no going back.

But I wonder whether that is true for newspapers in small cities. I know for a fact that my local 18,000-circulation paper is starting to think about the Web as its primary source of news; the newsroom is taking its first steps anyhow.

Say that my paper does become Web-centric, posting stories online as they are done and using the print version as a digest of all the online work done the previous day. Can this work in a city of this size, where offices actually close at 5 p.m. and there just aren’t any sources to talk to much after nightfall?

In other words, can the 24/7 newsroom operate in a small city that doesn’t really operate 24/7? Is there any point to a 24/7 newsroom in that city? Is there any point to a Web-centric newsroom — the benefit of which is quick dissemination of news — in such a city?

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