Community News Success Strategies

Community Newsroom Success Strategies: A salute to those who wave the editorial banner

Last summer’s Grassroots Editor still sits in my stack of journalism publications. The edition announced the Golden Quill winners in annual competition sponsored by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.
I have a passion for vibrant, local editorials. I believe energized, local editorials are at the foundation of energized communities. The Golden Quill recognizes the top 12 editorials written among nondailies.

By Jim Pumarlo, Consultant

Initiate conversations with your readers

A reader questions your policy for reporting suicides. A retailer challenges your staff to produce timely and relevant business news.  A reporter is confronted for printing a press release charging a candidate with unfair campaign practices without contacting the accused for a response. A family member gets emotional over publication of an accident photo.

By Jim Pumarlo, Consultant

Execute your strength: Put names and faces behind the stories

Nothing is more satisfying than looking at your product – whether it’s the print or digital edition – and smiling in approval, “We’ve got it covered. We’re connecting with our readers.”
Developing relationships with subscribers and advertisers is imperative to success in today’s fractured media landscape. The stakes are even higher as many newspapers navigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
So play to your strengths. Connect the names and faces of those involved in and affected by items in your everyday news report. Tell their stories.

Tell the stories behind the statistics

Everyday news reports are filled with statistics as COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines. 
The number of individuals who have tested positive and those who have died of the coronavirus. Patients hospitalized and those in ICU. Confirmed cases broken down by gender, ethnicity and county of residence. The tally of businesses that have closed. The rising unemployment totals. Terms of financial assistance programs available at federal, state and local levels. Bankruptcy and foreclosure totals.

Coronavirus underscores the breadth of business reporting

The coronavirus pandemic is dominating headlines, generating stories on issues touching nearly every aspect of lives.

Reports addressing the health and safety of citizens are obviously center stage. At the same time, the pandemic has spawned a range of stories focusing on our worksites – the places we earn a paycheck as employees and purchase products and services as consumers. Business lockdowns and restrictions have redefined commerce and reshaped daily routines.

By Jim Pumarlo, community newspaper consultant