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Prediction - Press Herald's lead story tomorrow

My bet is that the Portland Press Herald will lead its paper tomorrow with today's news - news, in fact, from VERY early this morning. Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at a rally near the Pakistani capital. It's all over the Web: CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and everywhere else (including the Press Herald's own site) already, and will certainly be the lead item on evening news broadcasts for the adult-diaper-wearing folks who still watch the TV news.

But my money says tomorrow's Portland Press Herald will assume that their readers are living in a media vacuum, and will begin with the shocking - and, by then, shockingly old - news that former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Its story will include a play-by-play of what happened at the event, though all of that information is already available to anyone with electricity (whether radio, TV, or Internet).

It will be an enjoyable spoof of the Press Herald's continuing attempts at "convergence" (see my analysis of their last effort - or lack thereof - back in October), in that the newspaper will again not acknowledge that we in the 21st century have many ways of getting news, and the slowest of them is the daily newspaper. Which means that - as we alt-weeklies have long since figured out - newspapers are best off positioning themselves as interpreters of news, explainers of the context, and helping people understand ramifications of events, rather than just reporting that such-and-such a thing happened and hoping the audience makes sense of it themselves.

If I'm right, you all owe me a penny. If I'm wrong, well, then maybe we're starting to get a daily newspaper made for intelligent thinking people, and that's a reward we can all be happy with.

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