Recent Writing

Use your platform to educate, preview – and apologize

A reader complains that a youth sports story was too negative. Someone questions why a particular quote wasn’t included in a report of a contentious public hearing. Your newsroom brainstorms how election coverage can be more substantive and meaningful. A reporter is rightfully embarrassed for basically writing a press verbatim that charges a local official with unethical conduct without contacting the accused for a response.

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Editorials can serve a variety of roles

Newspapers regularly report items that are unflattering to the newsmakers. You have a responsibility, for example, to identify businesses cited for selling tobacco or alcohol to underage youths, especially if fines are assessed at a public meeting. The reports still will likely draw wrath from the businesses and their employees.

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 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 and welcomes comments and questions at