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.
His seminars and training workshops are practical and interactive, including handouts that participants can use to tailor policies and procedures to their specific operations. In addition to his standard menu of seminars, he works with newspapers to provide custom training for their needs, including individual writing critiques.
Jim Pumarlo spent 27 years working at small daily newspapers in International Falls and Red Wing, Minn. He served as editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle for 21 years. He resigned in 2003 and currently is director of communications at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the state's largest business advocacy organization. He can be contacted at www.pumarlo.com.
He released a book in 2005, "Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a Small-Town Newspaper," which was published by Marion Street Press in Chicago. His second book, "Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Campaign Coverage," was released in 2007.
He remains active in the newspaper industry through his consulting and speaking. He is involved in the Minnesota Newspaper Association as a member of its Journalism Education and Legislative committees. He is past president of the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation Board of Directors. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Committee. He also is past chairman of the Premack Board which oversees the Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award competition, one of Minnesota's most celebrated journalism honors in public affairs reporting. He serves on the Minnesota News Council, which promotes fair, vigorous and trusted journalism by engaging the news media and the public in examining standards of fairness.
In 2005, he was given the Al McIntosh Distinguished Service to Journalism Award by the Minnesota Newspaper Association. In 2007, he was recognized as a "Friend of Minnesota Newspapers," an award given by the Minnesota Newspaper Association.
He was responsible for daily editorials at Red Wing and also wrote a weekly column, often responding to questions posed by readers. His column was recognized in the Minnesota Newspaper Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest as a consistent winner in the category for "best explanation of news operations or ethics" He received the Minnesota News Council's first Accountability Award in 2000. He also received the MNA President's Citation for commitment to the highest standards of the profession in 1996, and he received an award of merit from the Society of Professional Journalists, Minnesota chapter, for distinguished service in the field of freedom of information in 1995.
His editorials and the newspaper's overall editorial page were recognized in competition sponsored by both the Minnesota Newspaper Association and Inland Press Association.
The Republican Eagle won first place in Best of the States competition as the best daily newspaper under 10,000 circulation in the nation by the National Newspaper Association in 1998. The newspaper won the General Excellence Award as the best nonmetropolitan newspaper, under 10,000 circulation, by the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 1998 and 2003.