Top Five Columns
Jim Pumarlo wrote a weekly column as editor at the Red Wing (Minn.) Republican Eagle. 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.
“How can you not win? Jim Pumarlo’s columns provide readers with information vital to understanding the policies, ethics, standards and content of this newspaper. It’s well-written, informative and enlightening – especially so for readers interested in the ‘behind the scenes’ thinking that editors do every day. It’s a good column. It might be something my newspaper ‘creates’ in the future.”
— Judge’s comments Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest, 2000-01 Best Explanation of Newspaper Operations or Newspaper Ethics, first place
“More papers should adopt this policy. You’re not afraid to admit an error in judgment – something that goes a long way toward building readers’ trust.”
— Judge’s comments Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest, 1997-98 Best Explanation of Newspaper Operations or Newspaper Ethics, first place
Joe Johnson’s thoughtful letter on this page set the editors to scratching their heads. Is it truly in the public interest to list the salaries of local government workers by name?
A restaurant gets new owners. That’s news. The same restaurant sends out a press release about the popularity of its special home-made soup. That’s an ad.
An investment firm relocates. That’s news. The company announces a new line of annuities. That’s an ad.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.