Blogs

Community newspapers needed to provide a voice for rural America

A year ago this month, Donald J. Trump surprised most of the world and probably himself by winning the presidential election. He couldn’t have done it without rural America. The numbers in the exit polls were clear.  Trump won 62 percent of the rural vote, more than any modern president.  And here’s the statistic that

Playoffs are around the corner: Here are some ideas for improving your sports coverage

With the high school football playoffs almost on us and prep basketball about to tip off, now is about as good a time as any to consider again about how to beef up your online sports readership. And while it may seem sometimes you’re having to rob Peter to pay Paul when it comes to

We need to be ready to prove that print ads work

When it comes to advertising sales, we’re still stuck in the 1980s. How do we know? Because we’re still trying to sell space for ads in the newspaper – and we’re trying to sell to folk who don’t necessarily believe that print ads are effective. So that means your ad sales team will often need

Newspaper mottoes and slogans: Helping to brand your editorial product

Does your newspaper have a motto? Or a slogan? Do you know the difference? Mottoes, slogans and marketing pitches were common in the days when most big newspapers had competition, as they tried to give themselves a distinguishing character. As the big newspaper markets became monopolized, there was less need for them, but now, when

Saying goodbye to Dixie

I grew up whistling Dixie. Literally. It was one of the first songs my daddy taught me, and I liked it. A third-culture kid growing up in British Commonwealth countries, it gave me a connection to my home state of Louisiana. It evoked images of grand plantation homes like Tara in Gone with the Wind,

Balancing the right to know with the right to privacy

Public records are the foundation for reporting a range of stories important to your readers. Police reports reveal a string of continuing break-ins in a neighborhood. Minutes from a school board committee reveal discussions and eventual recommendation to close an elementary school. Letters sent from a state agency to landowners identify potential locations for off-site

Wise County Messenger adopts a digital first ‘daily mindset’

Note:  We’re reprinting this column from the Wise County Messenger. Editor Kristin Tribe explains the paper’s commitment  to being first with the news in Wise County. The Wise County Messenger has always taken pride in being the No. 1 source for local news. Throughout the years, we’ve evolved from a weekly to semi-weekly paper, incorporating

A community journalism response to the ‘fake news’ phenomenon

In a challenging environment with fewer resources, greater vulnerabilities and increasing attacks from politicians and the politically motivated, how should news organizations respond? One editor-publisher’s approach — a calm, respectful but strong defense of journalism and its essential role in democracy — seems to work. Brian Hunt, editor and publisher of the Walla Walla (Wash.)

Help in localizing the health care debate

The debate over changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is especially significant to rural areas, and The Rural Blog has several stories that can help inform your local coverage. Obamacare’s private-insurance options are on life support in much if not most of rural America. A third of counties, mostly rural, had only

Could free distribution be an option for community newspapers?

Here is a common scenario, using a fictitious newspaper as an example. The Belleville Bugle is a high-quality weekly that has served its community for more than 100 years. The town the Bugle serves is prosperous. Households have more than doubled over the past 30 years. There is new industry. Belleville is also a bedroom