Questions You’ve Raised

Jim Pumarlo welcomes your questions. Click here to submit your question and receive a response.

Recent Writing

Are you telling your own stories?

Are you telling your own stories? I circulated a column celebrating community newspapers earlier this year in recognition of Sunshine Week. Its publication prompted a few comments. One reader, who hailed from a Minneapolis suburb, read the column in his local paper....

Special projects energize staff, community

I fondly characterize newsrooms as organized chaos. That definition has aptly described operations for the past 18 months with the impact of COVID-19. The story has demanded constant attention, and there are likely fewer reporters to handle the task due to the economic toll of the pandemic.

Sharpen your editing with these press releases

The hyper partisanship in today’s political landscape was on full display with passage of the American Rescue Plan. It passed on a straight party-line vote.

Start benchmarking performance of politicians

It’s customary to rate the president’s performance after the first hundred days in office. The stark contrast in personalities and policies of Donald Trump and Joe Biden provides plenty of observations and commentary. National issues range from the pandemic and the economy to immigration and racial unrest.

A salute to those who wave the editorial banner

Last summer’s Grassroots Editor still sits in my stack of journalism publications. The edition announced the Golden Quill winners in annual competition sponsored by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

Newspapers excel as your collective ‘eyes and ears’

My days of sitting behind an editor’s desk have passed, but I’ll never lose my newspaper blood. I regularly enjoy my first cup of coffee while scanning newspaper websites. It’s a great way to keep current on what’s happening in communities.

Initiate conversations with your readers

A reader questions your policy for reporting suicides. A retailer challenges your staff to produce timely and relevant business news. A reporter is confronted for printing a press release charging a candidate with unfair campaign practices without contacting the accused for a response. A family member gets emotional over publication of an accident photo.

Make public affairs coverage relevant and timely

How many newsrooms have received complaints about coverage of local public affairs – specifically meetings? It might be the city council, school board, county board or one of the numerous other government bodies under your microscope.

From an elected official: “You didn’t give the full story. Where was my quote?”

Don’t close books just yet on 2020 elections

Mention election coverage in the aftermath of this year’s tumultuous presidential contest, and many newsrooms will likely turn a collective deaf ear. For most editors and reporters, the next cycle of elections is the farthest thing from their minds.

Not so quick.

Execute your strength: Put names and faces behind the stories

Nothing is more satisfying than looking at your product – whether it’s the print or digital edition – and smiling in approval, “We’ve got it covered. We’re connecting with our readers.”

Developing relationships with subscribers and advertisers is imperative to success in today’s fractured media landscape. The stakes are even higher as many newspapers navigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

Book endorsements

Anyone who has edited or published a community newspaper knows the most challenging and, often, agonizing part of the job is dealing with sensitive issues. I dealt with many issues like this during my career as an editor, and wished there was some type of guidance...

Seminar endorsements

I would like to thank Jim for contributing to the success of our first virtual convention. He delivered an engaging, well presented, and valuable online workshop for our membership! We had great attendance and I think that everyone took away a vast amount of...

 Who is Jim Pumarlo?

Community newspapers, at their best, are stewards of their communities. The news columns are a blend of stories that people like to read and stories they should read. The advertising columns promote and grow local commerce. And the editorial pages are a marketplace of ideas.

Jim Pumarlo understands that energized newspapers are at the foundation of energized communities. His message is straightforward: Community newspapers – whether delivering information in the print or on the Web – must focus on local news if they are to remain relevant to their readers and advertisers.

Click here for more info on Jim Pumarlo.

You’re welcome to reprint these columns with the appropriate tagline:

Jim Pumarlo writes, speaks and provides training on community newsroom success strategies. He is author of “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in Small-Town Newspapers,” “Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Coverage” and “Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage.” He can be reached at www.pumarlo.com and welcomes comments and questions at jim@pumarlo.com.

Seminars

2021

May

21 – Colorado Press Association/Kansas Press Association Joint Virtual Convention
Webinar: “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues”

February

11 – Alabama Press Association Media Summit & Winter Meeting
Webinar: “Business – an Everyday Beat”

January

15 – Wyoming Press Association Convention
Webinar: “How to make public affairs coverage relevant and timely”

2020

July

30 – New England Newspaper and Press Association
Webinar: “Covering Business News in Challenging Times”

30 – California News Publishers Association
“Finding Time for Big Editorial Projects”