Advice

Tread carefully when requiring down payment for democracy

By Jim Pumarlo My hometown newspaper instituted a new policy requiring that readers “pay” for the First Amendment right to express, and explain why, who or what they support or oppose at the voting booth. The newspaper is sadly is not the first and won’t be the last to begin charging readers for election endorsement…

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25 on-the-job ideals

I’ve been a consultant for almost 30 years. Before that, I worked more than 20 years in writing and editing positions, most of those years as an editor and manager at daily newspapers. During that half-century, I’ve learned a few things about how to do my work well and how to conduct myself in the…

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Shed light on the epidemic of suicides

By Jim Pumarlo High-profile deaths always grab headlines. Suicides especially draw attention as witnessed by the deaths of renowned fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain. The news was carried in big and small newspapers alike. Yet when suicide strikes in our own communities, many newspapers ignore the news. It’s time that all newsrooms…

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Jumping inside: The ins and outs of it all

I am no fan of jumps. Anyone who has been to my workshops and/or followed my blog knows that. The main reason why I don’t like jumps is that readers tell us time and again that they don’t like jumps. Some won’t even start a story that jumps. If I owned your newspaper (don’t worry;…

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Stick to the basics: Present all sides of the story

Most reporters can likely relate to this scenario. Someone speaks up at a public meeting to unleash criticism about an individual or organization. Reporters have little difficulty presenting a balanced report — recording all sides of the story — if the accused is at the meeting. But what happens if the individual is not present?…

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Rookies make mistakes

Let’s face it: If you have a “new kid” doing design on your staff … well, you’ll have some design mistakes in your paper from time to time. It takes a while – perhaps months – for the design rookie to learn what works and what doesn’t. And during that time, he’ll do some things…

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Is your ‘designer’ a designer?

During a recent phone conversation with a publisher, she told me: “We have a designer who does that.” I had seen her paper. She doesn’t have a designer. What she has is a person who assembles pages. And there’s a difference. A person who assembles pages finds ways to make things fit. There’s no design…

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10 tips for closing more sales

By Joe Guertin Closing is the natural transition from discussing a solution to execution of a solution. But because it means asking for commitment, salespeople will sometimes shy away from it, hoping the sale magically “happens.” If you want to take control, and measurably increase your closing ratio, use these tips: 1. Do your homework.…

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This time, privacy outweighs right to know

By Jim Pumarlo Public records are the foundation for reporting a range of stories important to your readers. Police reports reveal a string of continuing break-ins in a neighborhood. Minutes from a school board committee reveal discussions and eventual recommendation to close an elementary school. Letters sent from a state agency to landowners identify potential…

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Taking a closer look at your design: Part 2

Last month’s column focused on design critiques: working at improving your design by taking a look at what you’ve recently done. I suggested then that those critiques be done every quarter … at least every six months. In that column, I offered a laundry list of those elements that need to be reviewed during the…

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