Is it "news" if it's two weeks old?

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The Chronicle‘s Move-It section reports the following:

Good news. The Texas Department of Transportation says work on Spur 527 and the main lanes of the Southwest Freeway through the Montrose area is progressing so fast that the contractor will beat December’s planned opening by several months. The work should be finished in June or July, said TxDOT spokesman Norm Wigington.

That’s not news. That’s olds.

There is a strange exchange with a reader later in the column:

Last week’s call for feedback from readers about the Chronicle’s daily Hot Spots box on Page B2 produced just three responses — which may mean that most readers are satisfied with it or may mean they don’t notice it at all.

Bryan Jones suggested an RSS feed, an online service that would send updated traffic advisories to subscribers’ computers without their having to continually visit the Web site. The suggestion has been passed to our online people, who are also considering a traffic and transportation blog, but the question at hand is whether Hot Spots in its current form is helpful.

Here is the request from last week:

Computer users can see a detailed list of road work (plus a real-time traffic map and views from freeway cameras) by going to www.houstontranstar.org. To check your route, click on “regional construction,” then “txdot lane closures.”

The Chronicle publishes a daily Traffic Hot Spots box on Page B2, but the box is too small for the complete TxDOT list.

Is Hot Spots helpful to you? Could it be improved?

Suggestions, please.

It seems the “question at hand” was exactly as the reader thought — that suggestions were being solicited. And the suggestion for an online solution with an RSS feed is not bad.

Given the Chronicle‘s difficulty with editing of all sorts, having an abridged, edited “Traffic Hot Spots” box daily just seems like a recipe for disaster (not unlike some actual Chron recipes of late). My suggestion would be either to run a more complete, detailed, accurate list of road work, or ditch the thing altogether and refer people to the web.


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Kevin Whited
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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX