Blogs

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

Stories to localize: mental illness and drug addiction

The stigma that still surround mental illness and drug addiction, especially in rural areas, are major obstacles to addressing those issues. Rural news media can play an important role in reducing stigma and helping individuals and communities face up to their problems and deal with them. The Paducah Sun saw that opportunity when a 13-year-old

Publisher tells why she decided to run for school board

Editor’s note: Stamford publisher Callie Metler-Smith recently ran for and won a local school board position — an unconventional move in a profession that has long held that journalists should stay out of politics.  We asked her to explain why she did it. As small town newspaper publishers, editors, and reporters we all know the

Engaging with readers by covering the news that matters to them

One of the wisest comments I ever heard from a newspaper editor was from my friend John Nelson, editorial director of Landmark Community Newspapers. It went something like this: “We need to give readers what they want, but we must also give them what they need – and make them want what they need.” John

National politics generate local story ideas

As newspaper publishers worried about tariffs on newsprint, farmers and others in rural America worried about tariffs on other products that could spark a trade war. The Rural Blog is keeping its readers current on trade and many other issues; here’s a sampling of stories from the last couple of months. One-third of U.S. soybeans