Blogs

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

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