I still remember the first scoop I got as a young reporter. In the early 1990s, a few months into my career, I’d heard of a study about to come out at ARVO that purported to show an increased number of complications from daily disposable contact lenses over reusables. I know—it’s not exactly Watergate, but it was a big deal at that time and in this field. Disposables were considered safer to wear, so why would they lead to more complications? It sounded juicy. The company flew me down to Florida so I could go see the presentation. I dashed off a quick story just under the wire for our print deadline. It was out in a few weeks. Not bad for a monthly magazine in 1992.
It turned out to be nothing, of course. But the experience of digging for a story and reporting as quickly as the means of news dissemination allowed always stuck with me. And now I’m at it again—well, the whole Review editorial staff is, I should say.
In early April we launched a news feed on the magazine’s website: www.reviewofoptometry.com/news. Naturally, these days we can deliver news much faster. Each weekday morning we post a few stories, and we add more throughout the day. It’s been a little stressful, a little distracting and a lot of fun. Connecting with our readers as soon as we have something to share is a novelty for a monthly publication, especially one more known for complex ‘how-to’ articles that take months to prepare and usually weigh in at around 3,000 words and 50 references.
Long-form journalism of that sort is Review’s strength, and we don’t intend to give up our tradition of publishing instructional features, most with an incredible shelf life—some of the most popular articles on our website are a few years old. One on meibomian gland expression has been in our top 10 page views for almost a decade, in effect making it our own Dark Side of the Moon.
So, we’ll stick with what ODs turn to us for each month. But I hope you’ll also start looking to Review for real-time reporting on the news of the day.
Some will surely end up like my old scoop from ’92: much ado about nothing. So it goes in the news business. The bulk of our coverage thus far has been tightly focused stories about studies that look potentially clinically relevant. Will they change the world? For most, likely not. But each adds a little something to the mosaic of knowledge you have about the multifaceted world of clinical optometry. And some, like the controversial DREAM study of omega fatty acids for dry eye, will indeed have long-lasting impact on what you do all day—and we were able to share our thoughts on that as it happened. When something warrants more depth, we’ll flesh it out for expanded coverage in the magazine’s News Review section, adding quotes from experts not found online.
My one regret about the Review news feed: with today’s technology, we were able to do this year’s ARVO coverage entirely from our offices. No tickets to Hawaii for us. Such is the price of progress.