Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

Photo: Clay Masters/IPR
Storm Lake Times Editor Art Cullen stands outside newspaper he started with his brother in 1990. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize this year for its editorial writing.

I’ve been following a twitter discussion about why big newspapers are doing more reporting via video. Critics contend the move is about pleasing advertisers and is hurting quality.

Judging from a recent National Public Radio (NPR) story on small-town newspapers, I think the big outlets would be better off focusing on building trust with readers.

Clay Masters reported, “Large media outlets could learn from small town newspapers about being authentic and winning the trust of readers. …

“Take the Storm Lake Times [in Iowa], for example. It recently gained national attention when this twice-a-week newspaper for this town of around 11,000 people won a Pulitzer Prize for its editorials. They won the prestigious journalism award for challenging powerful corporate agribusiness interests in the state.

” ‘We inform each other through the newspaper about the reality of Storm Lake,” says Editor Art Cullen. …

“Their classified section is pretty robust … and there’s even a section devoted to local birthdays. Art Cullen says newspapers like his are the thread that holds the fabric of a small town together.

” ‘They know we’re honest and they know we love Storm Lake … that we stick to the facts of a story, and we will argue, argue, argue on our editorial page.’ …

“One of the big differences between larger metro newspapers and community journalism is the staff has to face its audience every day.

” ‘People have no problem coming up to me and telling me what they think of the newspaper,’ says Jim Johnson, who owns newspapers in Kalona and Anamosa, two small newspapers in eastern Iowa. …

“Johnson has the advantage of owning small town newspapers near metro areas. When this former Omaha World-Herald editor bought the papers in Kalona and Anamosa, he wanted to show community newspapers can do just as good or better than large papers.”

More at NPR, here.

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