Blogs

Community newspapers must change, adapt in new media era

That was a tough but mostly accurate headline The Associated Press put on the 2,344-word story it published at the start of Sunshine Week last month: “Decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold.” But as usual, the headline didn’t tell the whole story. The story had a strong central basis, the research

Newspapers need to explain how we work — more letters FROM the editor, not just TO the editor

Newspapers cover almost every imaginable topic, but when it comes to understanding and explaining their own roles in society, many community newspapers fall short. They keep doing business and journalism pretty much like they always did, with digital media as a sideline because they can’t make much money at it. Their presence on social media

Closing of newspapers leads to more local political polarization

The rise in political polarization in the U.S. in undeniable, but it may have nothing to do with the politics, according to a recent article published by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. National publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have seen tremendous growth in the age of polarization. But what

It’s time for a community journalist to win a major ethics award

Has any rural journalist has won one of the major journalism-ethics awards? I don’t think so, and if that’s right, such honor is greatly overdue. It is generally more difficult – and can be a lot more difficult – to do hard-nosed, ethical journalism in rural areas and small towns than in metropolitan areas, partly

Paid endorsements: treat carefully when requiring down payment for democracy

My hometown newspaper instituted a new policy requiring that readers “pay” for the First Amendment right to express, and explain why, who or what they support or oppose at the voting booth. The newspaper is sadly is not the first and won’t be the last to begin charging readers for election endorsement letters. As a

Community newspaper newsrooms are accessible because they represent relationship journalism

Adapted from remarks at “Journalists in the Hot Seat: Staying safe in a hostile political climate,” a panel discussion at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications convention in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 9. (The discussion was telecast on C-SPAN and is available at https://cs.pn/2vX3LgE.) Most of us who have worked in rural

Even if your paper is small, don’t hesitate to take on important projects

PORTLAND, Oregon – Small, rural newspapers can win open-records battles with state agencies and beat larger news outlets at covering big stories in their communities, says a journalist who spent most of his career at a metropolitan daily but has returned to the business of publishing a rural weekly. Les Zaitz, publisher of the Malheur

Here’s some help in reporting on suicides

High-profile deaths always grab headlines. Suicides especially draw attention as witnessed by the deaths of renowned fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain. The news was carried in big and small newspapers alike. Yet, when suicide strikes in our own communities, many newspapers ignore the news. It’s time that all newsrooms have a thoughtful

A magazine guy offers ideas for newspapers

I’m a trade magazine (specialty publications) dude. I’ve been an editor or publisher for over 30 years. And I’ve spent hours sitting in newspaper seminars, listening to weekly and daily publishers. Why? Well, we both buy paper and ink. We both publish on a regular schedule. We both try to serve our communities. We often

Texas reporter appears on Darlie Routier documentary series

(If you were watching ABC during prime time during June, you may have recognized a Texas reporter, Kathy Cruz of the Hood County News.  Kathy was featured in all four episodes of “The Last Defense.” The story below appears in the July Publisher’s Auxiliary, published by the National Newspaper Association, and is used by permission