Current Seminars

Jim Pumarlo is available to present his seminars to your audience. Click here to contact Jim for more information on seminars.
Public affairs: “How to make meeting coverage relevant and timely”
Coverage of local governing bodies — school board, city council, county board — remains a primary responsibility of community newspapers. But newsrooms must change their approach if they are to engage readers — put more focus on previewing the meetings and report on government actions in terms of the practical impact on readers.
"Business News: An Everyday Beat"
Business news – stories about employers and employees – has a big impact on communities. What happens at the workplace might even overshadow a decision of the local city council. Yet many newspapers struggle for consistent coverage of local business. This session offers practical steps to start on a path of substantive coverage, including helping businesspeople understand the importance of reporting the good news as well as the bad news. Developing business news is an important step toward increased advertising revenue as well.
"Developing Sources and Beats"
Confrontations are unavoidable if newspapers are doing their jobs reporting both good and bad news. Relationships don’t always have to be rocky; however, connecting with sources is a two-way street. This session offers practical tips on how to develop community beats, and how to foster an understanding so traditional and nontraditional sources will be equally forthcoming with good and bad news.
"ABCs of Editorial Writing"
Locally produced editorials are becoming increasingly scarce among community newspapers for a variety of reasons. Editors are challenged enough with everyday responsibilities. Publishers are afraid of offending someone, especially a major advertiser. The task doesn’t have to be so foreboding, and editorials don’t always have to be structured as “us” vs. “them”. But editorials must offer an opinion. This session offers basic and practical steps to gain the confidence to write editorials about the important issues facing your community.
"Vigorous Editorials: A Community's Conscience"
This workshop focuses on the importance of a strong editorial page and its role in community leadership. Vigorous editorial pages are the conscience of vibrant communities. The seminar identifies the principles integral to effective editorials and editorial pages. It identifies and explores avenues for reader participation on the editorial page. Participants also will learn the importance of using the editorial page to regularly communicate newspaper policies and procedures to readers.
"Elements of Outstanding Election Coverage"
Election coverage is one of the most demanding and scrutinized tasks that faces newspapers, especially if readers perceive a newspaper to have a political “bias” on its editorial pages. This seminar helps participants formulate a plan for covering elections – before, during and after – and to think through the impact of their decisions on readers. How do you handle letters to the editor? Why is it a newspaper’s responsibility to offer editorial endorsements? What are some tips for election night and post-election coverage? These and other aspects of election coverage are explored.
"Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a Small-Town Newspaper"
Identifying suicide victims and reporting names of suspended high school athletes are among the many challenging news decisions facing community newspapers. This session will teach participants how to handle these stories ethically and professionally. It will emphasize why it’s important to print all the news – the good and bad – and will help participants understand the three-part process to effectively handling sensitive stories: Developing the policies, uncovering the facts, and explaining newspaper policies to readers.

 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.

Current Schedule



9 – Online Media Campus
Webinar: “Business News as an Everyday Beat”



Minnesota Newspaper Institute and Bethel University, St. Paul

Five-part online course to train citizen journalists

Assisted in developing curriculum, and presented session on public affairs coverage and meeting reporting


8 – National Newspaper Association Foundation

Webinar: “Interviewing Skills: Techniques and Improving Observation in Volatile Situations”

Co-presenter with Corey Hebner, Michigan State Police community service trooper

2-3 – Texas Center for Community Journalism, Management Boot Camp

Presenter: “Finding Time for Editorial Projects”

Presenter: “Delivering What Your Community Wants: Connecting with Your Readers”

Panel participant: “Leading the Newspaper, Leading in Your Community”


5 – National Newspaper Association Foundation

Webinar: “Your Role in Election Coverage: Why You should be on the Front Lines”

Co-presenter with Al Cross, director of Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

19 – National Newspaper Association Foundation

Webinar: “Outstanding Election Coverage: Identifying the Elements”

Co-presenter with Al Cross, director of Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues


28 – Minnesota Newspaper Association Convention

Panel participant: “Reconnecting with Your Community”



21 – Colorado Press Association/Kansas Press Association Joint Virtual Convention
Webinar: “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues”


11 – Alabama Press Association Media Summit & Winter Meeting
Webinar: “Business – an Everyday Beat”


15 – Wyoming Press Association Convention
Webinar: “How to make public affairs coverage relevant and timely”



30 – New England Newspaper and Press Association
Webinar: “Covering Business News in Challenging Times”

30 – California News Publishers Association
“Finding Time for Big Editorial Projects”