Jim Pumarlo, Community Newspaper Training

Dos and don’ts for the election countdown

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Publishers’ Auxiliary/October 2012

Don’t fear. The exhausting election season is nearing an end. Your newsrooms are soon to return to normalcy – still chaotic, but at least a little more organized.

Elections are one of the most scrutinized areas of coverage, especially if newspapers have a strong editorial voice. Editors and reporters are well aware of the political passions – just log your phone calls, e-mails and visits from candidates as well as their supporters and detractors.

The first step for meaningful business reports? Make them understandable

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The Inlander/October 2012

Your newsroom has just finished brainstorming on how to beef up its business reporting. The conversation happens to be at the same time your newspaper has a major announcement itself. What better opportunity to signal to your readers a new page in local business reporting.

The headline: “Publisher announces the call for redemption of all its public debt”

Take inventory of your newsmakers

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Publishers’ Auxiliary/September 2012

Here’s an action item for your next newsroom meeting: Ask reporters to identify the community newsmakers. Better yet, bring a stack of newspapers from the last couple of months and circle the newsmakers receiving attention in words and photos.

Customer service is job one for newsrooms, too

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The Inlander/September 2012

Customer service is the byword as businesses navigate today’s challenging economy. At newspapers, that means paying attention to details in all aspects of the operation - everything from prompt service for advertisers to efficient turnaround on submitted news briefs to on-time newspaper delivery.

No room for slow news days with a well-planned editorial calendar

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The Inlander/August 2012

We’re in the dog days of summer, which often are accompanied by a slowdown in news. More than a few editors likely are challenged to generate substantive content. It’s time to turn to your editorial calendars.

Websites, social media integral to everyday coverage

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Publishers' Auxiliary/July 2012

The newspaper is just off the presses, and your photographer is dispatched to a fatal accident scene. The mayor gives an inspiring State of the City speech; your story in the next day’s edition captures the highlights, but time and space do not allow any attention to the details. Newspapers deliver blow-by-blow stories of election campaigns, but casual readers fail to grasp the continuum of coverage.

Plan now for endorsements, the final step of election coverage

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The Inlander/May 2012

Readers have been inundated for months with coverage of the 2012 presidential election. But newsrooms should also be brainstorming for ways to bring attention to local races.

Election coverage is one of the most exhaustive and scrutinized tasks facing community newsrooms. Substantive coverage also is vitally important to an informed and engaged citizenry.

Numbers, without interpretation, leave readers in dark

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Publishers' Auxiliary/May 2012

Spend any time in a newsroom and numbers readily become a fact of everyday reporting. Reporters’ eyes can easily become glazed by the stream of statistics.

Looking to invigorate your editorial page? Focus on letters

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The Inlander/April 2012

Newspapers frequently ask how they can promote a lively exchange of ideas in their communities.

There’s no silver bullet, but one premise is fundamental: Letters are the lifeblood of an editorial page. Take steps to ensure substantive letters, and you’re well on your way to making your editorial page a must-read. My apologies in advance to anyone who takes offense, but thank-you letters should be at the bottom of the pile – if they ever are published.

Newspapers should record, not rewrite, history

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Publishers' Auxiliary/April 2012

An individual is convicted of failure to comply with a police order; he pays his $100 fine plus $65 in court costs. The misdemeanor is reported in the newspaper’s police blotter, and, in most cases, that would be the end of the story.

Pumarlo.com • Jim Pumarlo • Community Newsroom Success Strategies • 1327 W. Sixth St. • Red Wing, MN • 55066 • (651) 380-4295