Guides for enhancing and extending your resources for reporting, editorial, photojournalism and other content generating areas.

A checklist for evaluating coverage of sensitive issues

September 13, 2017

Editors are regularly challenged with making uncomfortable news decisions. To be certain, there is no universal right or wrong call on whether to publish a story. Several factors might be in play, including community norms.

Does your newspaper have a motto or a slogan? Do you know the difference?

September 13, 2017

Mottoes, slogans and marketing pitches were common in the days when most big newspapers had competition, as they tried to give themselves a distinguishing character. As the big newspaper markets became monopolized, there was less need for them, but now, when every information source competes for audience with every other source, even in small towns, slogans and mottoes are worth reviving, and some papers are doing it.

This time, privacy outweighs right to know

August 23, 2017

Public records are the foundation for reporting a range of stories important to your readers.

Creating an online poll

August 23, 2017

While meeting with publishers one-on-one at conventions, the conversations run the gamut of running a newspaper or newspaper group. Over a recent weekend, while at a newspaper association convention in Oregon, publishers arrived at our scheduled meetings with questions about structuring groups, designing pages and increasing revenue, among other topics.

Reporter finds value in engaging readers

August 23, 2017

Last month, I shared the story of a community newspaper editor who showed an effective way to respond to concerns of readers, often not politely expressed, that his newspaper was liberally biased. Brian Hunt of the Walla Walla (WA) Union-Bulletin is an experienced editor, but an intern at a Kentucky weekly newspaper took a similar approach in a manner that was just as professional. Here’s an adapted version of our report on The Rural Blog:

Fake news has journalists responding across the nation

July 11, 2017

In a challenging environment with fewer resources, greater vulnerabilities and increasing attacks from politicians and the politically motivated, how should news organizations respond? One editor-publisher’s approach—a calm, respectful but strong defense of journalism and its essential role in democracy—seems to work.


Letters are the lifeblood of the editorial page

June 12, 2017

Letters to the editor, the exchange of ideas—I consider them the lifeblood of editorial pages and the heart of a newspaper’s and a community’s vitality.


Health care changes spark stories

June 12, 2017

The debate over changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is especially significant to rural areas, and The Rural Blog has several stories that can help inform your local coverage.


Building confidence to write local editorials

May 3, 2017

You’ve resolved to step up your advocacy on the editorial page—specifically, to write editorials on local topics. You sit down at your computer to pound out a draft.


Some cool apps for journalists

May 3, 2017

In April, I was asked to speak on the topic, “New Tools for Newspapers,” at an industry-related conference in Des Moines, IA. Taking the easy way out, I quickly went online and asked newspaper professionals to share their favorite apps, programs and devices.


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