Jim Pumarlo, Community Newspaper Training

Are you regularly communicating your policies to your readers?

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The Inlander/September 2009

A reader challenges your policy for reporting on B-squad sports or questions why a particular quote wasn’t included in a story. Your newsroom has a brainstorming session to discuss how its election coverage can be more relevant to readers. A reporter is caught red-faced for printing a press release charging a local official with unethical conduct but fails to contact the accused for a response.

Energize editorial pages with point/counterpoint

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Publishers' Auxiliary/August 2009

Timid editorial pages unfortunately are becoming the norm in far too many community newspapers. Even more disconcerting are those newspapers where editorial pages are largely nonexistent.

Many editors and publishers are so preoccupied with directing their print and online operations that editorial pages take the back seat. A common complaint is that they don’t have time to develop, research and produce thoughtful opinions on important issues facing their communities.

Overcoming the challenges of reporting on school referendums

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The Inlander/August 2009

How many editors have been challenged to present balanced reporting of labor disputes? It’s often a predicament, as usually one side – the union – does all the talking, and the other side – the management – largely remains mum. The dynamics make it terribly difficult to give fair, ongoing coverage in what can be a weeks-long confrontation.

Conflicts of interest? Be square with readers

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Publishers’ Auxiliary/July 2009

Avoiding ethical conflicts requires constant oversight in newsrooms. Navigating mine fields can be a full-time job for small-town journalists.

Newspapers should report the news, not publicize proclamations

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The Inlander/June 2009

The dairy industry is vital to the economy and central to the livelihood of thousands of communities. Its contributions are celebrated each year during June Dairy Month and provide a springboard for stories and commentaries in newspapers.

June Dairy Month, and the innumerable proclamations celebrated throughout the year, should give newsrooms pause to evaluate these press releases when they cross their desks.

Public affairs reporting much more than coverage of meetings

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Publishers’ Auxiliary/June 2009

Newspapers devote a great deal of resources in covering government meetings to keep readers abreast of decisions that affect their everyday lives. It’s little surprise that the coverage prompts its share of complaints.

Federal stimulus checks bring out the worst in reporting `whom' vs. `what'

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The Inlander/May 2009

Money is being distributed at record pace these days, courtesy of federal stimulus checks. And though the bailout prompted partisan debate at the Capitol, you’ll be hard pressed to find a lawmaker unwilling to reap the dividends.

Cut and paste content: the good and the bad

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Publishers’ Auxiliary/May 2009

Electronic delivery of information has revolutionized how newspapers collect and disseminate information.

Ground rules for columns written by public officials

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The Inlander/April 2009

What’s the impact of a legislative budget-balancing bill on local schools? How will a proposed change in the market value of commercial/industrial property affect city taxes on residential parcels? Will a proposed constitutional amendment on transportation funding pit metro vs. rural interests?

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