Macy’s vs. Gimble’s

I was reminded this week of the scene in Miracle on 34th Street (1947) when Kris Kringle, the store Santa at Macy’s Department Store, tells a shopper she can find the toy her child wants –and Macy’s is out of– at Gimble’s, a competing New York store. Kris put the needs of the customer ahead of Macy’s and is rewarded by none other than Mr. Macy himself. You’ve seen the movie about a thousand times.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

Last Friday, police and the FBI found a 13-year old boy who had been missing for four days, and a 15-year old boy who had been missing for four years in a suburb of St. Louis.

I clicked over to to see what we had on the story and found a couple of grafs with some sound contributed by a radio station stringer in St. Louis.

I should explain that I am not a journalist and don’t mess with the stories written by our reporters. I do, however, add photos when we have them (as in this instance). But because I knew there was a lot more on the story than we had, I added links to Yahoo! News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and NPR. Something I almost never do. I was definitely off the reservation.

Our reporter later pulled the link to NPR and explained: “We don’t want to send people to a competing news organization.”

I confess I hadn’t thought of NPR as a competitor to our state news network but –again– it wasn’t my call to make. I found myself using the Miracle on 34th Street defense:

“I thought I was putting the needs of those visiting our site ahead of any competitive concerns. They’ll appreciate the links and come back to us next time.”

I got off with hardly a slap on the wrist but came away thinking about how much blogging has changed my thinking. A lifetime ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of telling a listener to our radio station they could get what they wanted/needed at the cross-town competitor. But these day, I’m all about the links.

I think I was right in this instance but a) it really wasn’t my call and b) I wouldn’t know where to begin to convince our hard-working reporter. Somewhere on 34th Street?