The real value of our Valeri scoop on the web last night won't be measured by the number of other outlets that picked up the story and credited us with it last night or this morning. (Looks like almost nobody did - although that should change today).
Rather, it lies in the surprising ease of the decision.
Two months back when we first began laying the groundwork for NewsNow, our breaking and live news section on TheSpec.com, we ran into some significant push back from people concerned about "scooping" ourselves, about "tipping off the competition," or "giving it away for free". Wednesday morning when I raised the idea of crafting a strategy to use the web to break Steve's developing story on Valeri's curious land dealings something marvellous happened.
It took the room about three seconds to give it the nod.
Not only were there no concerns raised, the idea seemed such a no-brainer that nobody even bothered to say "good idea". (Sigh.) That's a whole lot of culture change in a very short time.
We've still got a ways to go - this morning our big scoop is hidden behind that infuriating rotating door of story promos on our home page, the one that punishes you by sending you to the wrong story if you don't time your click EXACTLY right. Why in heaven's name we're going out of our way to make it hard for readers to get to our stories is something beyond the ken of mere mortals.
And a search of Google News found the story easily enough - but our site still shows as a "Subscription" site, which may discourage readers from ever visiting and discovering that Berlin firewall has fallen.
One other really useful measure of the success of our NewsNow push came last night at about 8:45 in the form of an e-mail to Steve Buist from a reader reacting to his story. A single e-mail may not seem like much, but it shows that there are readers out there looking for news - when they want it, not when we get around to printing it and dropping it off at their front door. And they're starting to believe we'll give it to them.