Blogs

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

How newspapers can set themselves apart in a crowded information market

Last month’s blogpost was a warning that the attack on journalism by certain actors on the public stage is having an effect on community newspapers, and that social media are driving readers to spend more time with national news than with local news. How can community papers can adapt to this radically changed news landscape?

For community newspapers, getting it right outweighs getting it first

Randy Mankin is a friend of mine. He is the owner and publisher of the The Eldorado Success  and Big Lake Wildcat, both award-winning weekly newspapers in West Texas. Eldorado, you may remember, was the site of the YFZ ranch, a religious compound headed by a man named Warren Jeffs. Jeffs is a self-appointed prophet in

When tornadoes strike: Newspapers need a coverage plan

The tornadoes in Van Zandt County last weekend are a reminder of a sobering fact of life for Texas newspapers: When it comes to covering tornadoes, it’s more a matter of when than if. An average of 1,224 tornadoes touch down every year in the United States, according to a tornado tracking study that reflects

Local editorials are the franchise of local newspapers

What’s the first word you associate with editorials? Editorials can serve a variety of roles. They educate. What are the current rental codes and how would they be strengthened under a proposed ordinance before the city council? What’s the process, and the pros/cons, for annexing land to a city? They enlighten. Newspapers might feel an

Grammar changes can erode meaning

International visitors are often amazed with the number of cereals available in American supermarkets.   Wikipedia lists almost 400 brands – and that’s counting Cheerios, for instance, as one brand, not the 20 different Cheerios varieties you can buy. Do you really need to be able to choose types of Cheerios that range from oat cluster

Distrust of national media may affect the credibility of local newspapers

Trust in “the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio” in polls taken by the Gallup Organization was at 32 percent last year, the lowest ever – and was significantly lower than the 40 percent recorded in 2015. Rural newspapers have often presumed that such trends don’t affect them, because they’re in closer touch with smaller

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