Above the Fold: Free, but worth its weight in gold

above-the-fold

Most free stuff is worth what you’re paying for it.

An exception is Above the Fold, a compilation of the front pages of Florida’s newspapers, produced by Cate Communications and delivered to your inbox daily by 8 a.m.

In time it takes to drink a mug of coffee, you can take in a drone’s-eye view of what’s important to citizens and taxpayers outside #TheProcess.

The aerial maps provided to Above the Fold readers are revealing.

Recent example: Times-Union readers were horrified to learn a domestic violence arrest warrant for frequent felon Darryl Whipple gathered dust for 47 days, and might still be sitting on someone’s desk in Jacksonville had Whipple not walked into a Golden Corral restaurant carrying a can of lighter fluid and a match, which he used to set his estranged girlfriend on fire.

Meanwhile, down in Orlando, Sentinel readers were waking up to a story about a spike in arrests of witnesses to crimes at the behest of prosecutors whose balancing of priorities was open to debate.

Taken separately, these stories are interesting.

Side-by-side, they’re a wake-up call for people who work in and care about the criminal justice system.

For folks who love to connect dots and look at big pictures, Above the Fold is pure, addictive fun. For managers in Florida’s understaffed print and broadcast newsrooms, it’s a vital resource.

But it began life modestly as a labor-saving device for Kevin Cate, who needed to track “above the fold” news coverage of Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign and wanted to spare his interns the boring task of doing it by hand.

The tech-savvy Cate could pull Florida’s front pages out of the ether, but he pays well over $2,500 per year for actual subscriptions.

He understands the collective judgment of local editors is valuable, and he’s justifiably proud of the large volume of traffic he drives to newspapers’ websites.

“We’re trying to provide context,” Cate said. “Just because something gets aggregated somewhere, that doesn’t mean it’s actually important.”

Florence Snyder

Florence Beth Snyder is a Tallahassee-based lawyer and consultant.



#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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