Blogs

The importance of an editorial calendar

It’s standard procedure at newspapers to chronicle the year. Headlines typically include the passing of noteworthy individuals; the success, or maybe failure, of a civic project; milestones in sports achievements, election results or key community benchmarks. Convene a brainstorming session with your newsroom – better yet, with a cross-section of employees from your entire “newspaper

Localizing the bathroom bill: Don’t cede talk-topics to Facebook

A Texas editor called to ask for help with localizing the bathroom bill now in the Legislature.  Localization is an issue for all newspapers, so let’s review the technique. Localization opens a whole new world of content for any community newspaper. It means you are not limited to what’s happening in your community – you

Four quick fixes any newspaper can use to improve writing

Community newspapers are always looking for ways to improve the reader’s experience. We’ve improved design and photography and even experimented with larger point sizes and more readable fonts (And somewhere, Ed Henninger is smiling). But nothing improves the reader experience more than readable writing. Some editors just glaze over when they start thinking about making

New federal policies may bring big changes to communities

Big changes in Washington will mean big changes in your county, and we’ve been covering them on The Rural Blog. President Donald Trump’s pledge to deport undocumented workers could lead to a labor shortage in agriculture, in which an estimated 16 percent of the work is done by people who are in the U.S. illegally,

The readers we have vs. the readers we want: a circulation dilemma

One of the dilemmas faced by any medium is the extent to which journalists give readers what they want – no matter what that is. So do we cater to the needs of the readers we have, or do we try to include content that reaches the readers we want?  And if we do that,

Trump policies to impact rural areas

Rural votes played a big role in Donald Trump’s victory, and he plans some big changes that will have a big impact in rural communities. Extractive industries do most of their extracting in rural areas, and Trump promised “to topple just about every major energy and environment policy enacted in the past eight years,” Robin

Fake news: Nothing new in the history of journalism

Fake news is nothing new.  When people talk about it on the internet and social media, they treat it like it’s society’s newest trend.  But that’s far from the truth. Fake news is as old as … wait for it … the story of the birth of Jesus. But let’s start with the definition of

Here’s how a CVC audit can boost your ad sales

No ad sale begins until you hear the first objection. Have you heard any of these? •I don’t think you have as much circulation as you say •I don’t think that people who read your paper are the type who shop at my store •Nobody reads newspapers any more •People read newspapers for news, not

What you’re missing when you try to sell ads to national chains

You’ve tried to sell advertising to the manager of the store that’s a part of a national or regional chain. And you’ve been told, “I don’t make those advertising decisions here.  I’ll give you the contact information for our regional office.”  You emailed and you called, but you either got no reply at all or

How to bring the presidential election home to your readers

Tip O’Neill famously observed that all politics is local. A good community newspaper believes that and acts upon it. Some races are obviously local – the ballot choices for mayor, city council, county commission and state representative are populated by people you know, people who shop alongside you, people you see at Rotary and church.