Most Florida newspapers did give the debate prominent front-page display, among them the Orlando Sentinel, The News-Press of Fort Myers, the St. Lucie News Tribune, The Ledger of Lakeland, The St. Augustine Record, The Tampa Tribune, and the Tampa Bay Times. The Sun Sentinel managed to squeeze a couple of graphs about the debate at the bottom of its front page, apparently unwilling to give up space for an adjoining story: “More inmates sue to get dental floss.”

On the same day that the Herald and Post kept the debate story off their front pages, Newsweek announced that it is abandoning print and going all-digital in 2013. Some believe that the same fate is inevitable for the print editions of newspapers. I think they are right. But whether the future is digital or paper, news judgment will be central to success. In this case, not putting the debate on the front page sent the wrong message to readers.

 

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Brian E. Crowley is editor of Crowley Political Report. A political journalist for more than two decades, Crowley is an analyst for WPTV NewsChannel 5 in West Palm Beach and is a principal of ImMEDIAcy Public Relations.