Rob Collins

Rob Collins, editor of The Norman Transcript.

Journalism is known as the first rough draft of history.

When I first joined The Norman Transcript in 1996, we’d gather the news all day. We’d polish it, edit it and then publish the daily newspaper. In the early days of the internet, we’d dump all the content online overnight.

Now I’m back in the Norman newsroom after nearly two decades. Some of the technology has changed. We still gather news for our print edition, but our website is updated much more frequently in the digital age.

There’s a lot of news in Norman. Stories are now breaking on our website in real time, and we are posting the news and video and texting alerts to www.normantranscript.com.

(Shameless plug: You can sign up for Transcript text alerts called TextCaster at https://tinyurl.com/TRANSCRIPTtexts online. Options include breaking news, severe weather alerts, sports and school news and closings.)

We’ve blasted out several text alerts during the past few weeks. For example, we’ve sent dispatches of breaking news of several peaceful Norman protests.

Before last week’s Norman City Council meeting, protesters advocated for the defunding of the Norman Police Department.

Ultimately, Norman Mayor Breea Clark made a motion to postpone the passage of the budget to a special meeting last Tuesday night.

Right before press time last night, the city council was holding a special meeting about the next fiscal year’s budget. Hopefully, we broke the news on the website and sent out a TextCaster news alert before we delivered today’s newspaper.

We’re trying hard to exercise ethical news judgment in reporting on the Black Lives Matter movement as it relates to law enforcement. This is a very sensitive, serious topic with passionate and engaged stakeholders during a pivotal time in history.

There’s that word again: history. That concept of newspapers as the first draft of history was coined in the 1940s, well before publications had websites.

It’s important to be first with breaking news, but it’s even more important to be right. We’ll only report documented, verified sources both in print and online. And we’ll update news as it develops.

Journalism is a profession we take very seriously, and it’s more important than ever.

As always, thanks for reading.

Collins can be reached at editor@normantranscript.com.

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