Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekly editors' group and its newsletter have much to offer rural journalists

The latest members-only newsletter of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, a whopping 28 pages, has loads of copy of interest to rural journalists. Several pages are consumed by Dee Camp's account of how her Omak-Okanigan County Chronicle covered the largest wildfire in the history of Washington state.

From small-group discussions at the recent ISWNE convention, the newsletter "30 tips to improve editorial pages," including "Distinguish editorials from columns graphically," with such devices as ragged-right text; "If a column deals with multiple topics, make it clear right at the start that this is what the reader can expect and distinguish between topics" with graphic elements; "the editorial page should have a distinctive sense of place, reflecting the newspaper's community;" and "Don't make the editorial an afterthought."

Also on the graphics front, there's a story about how The Jackson Herald of Jefferson, Ga., redesigned its front page in July to look like its website. Co-publisher and Editor Mike Buffington said, "Many readers clearly like the online interface with shorter stories and more of a headline focus for casual readers. So we thought we’d take some of those concepts and apply to the front page for a month and ask readers what they think." He reports the reaction has been positive.

As it usually does, the newsletter has exemplary columns and editorials by members, some of which are about rural journalism, like the one this month by Cyndy Slovak-Barton of the Hays Free Press in Buda, Tex., about how one of her editor friends handled a local tragedy. The newsletter is available only to members, but membership is only $60 a year, and we think that's a bargain. It includes membership in a "hotline" list-serve where members ask and answer questions about journalism and the newspaper business.

1 comment:

BradMartin said...

Thanks Al