Jim Pumarlo, Community Newspaper Training

How are you performing? Ask your readers

Categorized under:

Publishers' Auxiliary/July 2008

When is the last time readers complained about the accuracy of a story? Or called to say they’re pleased with a story but irritated by a headline? Or found fault with how their ideas and statements were conveyed in a story?

Time to shed brighter light on government proceedings

Categorized under:

Distributed as a guest editorial by the Minnesota Newspaper Association in observance of Sunshine Week, March 16-22, 2008

Minnesotans’ everyday lives are affected by the decisions of governing bodies. A school board decides to close a school. A city council sets parameters for business incentives. A county board regulates where feedlots may be located. State legislators debate tax policy.

How to handle candidates’ letter-writing campaigns

Categorized under:

The Inlander/ March 1, 2008

Editors take great pride when they know their newspapers are “making a difference.” A strong barometer is the editorial page, and specifically letters to the editor. So why do so many editors stifle the exchange of ideas during the months-long election season?

The volume of letters indeed increases dramatically with orchestrated campaigns. At the same time, letters reflect a basic mission of newspapers: To get people to think and share their ideas.

Prepare now for candidate announcements, interviews

Categorized under:

The Inlander/ Nov. 17, 2007

The race among states to be first in selecting presidential candidates guarantees that holiday gatherings are likely to be interrupted by political telemarketers. The accelerated election season also means that newspapers must be prepared for all candidate announcements.

Election 2008: Your Guide to Excellent Campaign Coverage

Categorized under:

Quill/October/November 2007

Covering elections is hard work. Considering the hyper-partisanship of readers, the dozens of interest groups knocking on your door and the demands of new technologies, it’s amazing when a community newspaper can produce any meaningful coverage.

This article should help you get a handle on some of the challenges in election coverage. It was distilled from information in my new book, “Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Coverage.”

Vibrant editorial pages – a community’s conscience

Categorized under:

The Inlander/September 2007

Quiz any group of editors and you’ll find little disagreement. Local news is the franchise of community newspapers. School board actions are more important than congressional deliberations. Prep sports deserve top billing over professional teams. A local fund-raiser merits more prominence than even a dramatic story from across the state.

Yet, many newsrooms fall short in one of their most important responsibilities – advancing debate on significant issues through local editorials.

Pumarlo encourages consistency, endorsements

Categorized under:

The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors Newsletter/September/October 2007
Whether you believe you’re doing it right or whether you fear you might be doing it wrong, Jim Pumarlo’s latest book “Votes and Quotes” is worth reading if you want to give your readers solid campaign and election news and opinion.

Pumarlo's Custom Newspaper Training

Categorized under:

"Jim Pumarlo's training style is inviting and incisive. He's very knowledgeable on the issues smaller newsrooms face and can clearly and concisely provide ways to handle them based on his 25-plus years of experience at community newspapers.

"My staff came away from his day with us excited about the ideas they discussed and better prepared to face the challenges of the future. I recommend Jim's candid yet cordial approach to anyone who wants to help their community newspaper excel."

Robert Berczuk
Executive Editor

Business news much more than grand openings

Categorized under:

Publishers Auxiliary/September 2007
A discussion of business news inevitably prompts editors to focus on routine Main Street occurrences. A clothing store celebrates its grand opening. A restaurant opens, offering a distinctive cuisine. A flower shop celebrates its 25th anniversary.

These stories, though worthy of recognition, underscore an underlying point. Business news is much broader than those items which typically qualify for chamber of commerce newsletters. Coverage should be incorporated in the everyday news menu.

Editorials can serve variety of purposes

Categorized under:

Minnesota Newspaper Association Bulletin/September 2007

A newspaper has a responsibility, say, to identify all stores fined for selling cigarettes to underage youths, especially if the fines are assessed at a city council meeting. Nevertheless, the story will likely draw wrath from the businesses and from their employees.

In contrast, a newspaper can be selective in topics it addresses on its editorial page. The positions are not welcomed by all, such as the decision to endorse or oppose a housing development or a school closure.

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