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Victoria Newspaper Letting Readers Pick The Stories

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Internet commenters are some of the most eloquent and compassionate people around, especially when the story they're commenting about involves illegal immigrants or

alleged rape victims

.

The editors at the Victoria Advocate appreciate that input and are now letting you, the Internet reader, help produce the print version of the paper each day. All this month, there's been a live video stream of the paper's daily 10 a.m. editorial meetings, where editors chat with people online. That produces a list of possible stories, and an online vote determines the next day's front page.

According to Gabe Semenza, the paper's public service editor, once all the kinks are worked out, the paper will start advertising the broadcasts to hopefully drive up participation.

"We're print people so having a camera recording was a little uncomfortable, but that went away in about a week," Semenza tells Hair Balls. "I imagine it's staying around forever, I can't see any reason not to."

In today's vote, a story headlined "Did Judge Koetter rule that a woman must tie her tubes?" has a commanding lead over a Hurricane Ike debris story and something about the Victoria groundwater district's controversial new rules.

"Ultimately, we make the decision," Semenza says. "We expect that to change as the participation increases."

-- Paul Knight

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