Your Hometown Paper

Over at your hometown newspaper’s website a very good point was made. You know the hometown paper to which I refer — the one without your hometown’s name attached. Anyway, County Editor Bill Blocher wrote:

The point is we take readers’ comments seriously, whether it is about news content, advertising or delivery. We can’t always do what the reader would like, sometimes because it is not practical, such as changing the size of the page, and sometimes because the person who calls wants the impossible, such as printing all the school bus routes in East Polk on F3.

But a lot of times we can address a reader’s concerns, such as the lady who called this morning about the ad, or people who want to put in news about their organizations. We can’t always do it the way they want – such as sending a photographer and reporter out – but we can usually find a way of getting their news in the paper.

I’d say the readership has a lot of control over what makes it into your local paper. The publishers really do want to print what gets your attention. That sells papers and ads. Believe me, if 10% of the readership started clamoring for a special column on darts then the ____ Ledger would find a writer who knows darts and a sponsor for a darts column. Maybe not in that order.

Also, photography editors love good photos. However, if they don’t know about your event, they can’t shoot it. Let them know. You should already know the reporter or editor assigned to your community or group. Have their email address and phone number handy. Call ahead of time. Not a few hours — call them weeks and days in advance. And follow up with an email the day before your event.

Realize that a celebrity might be in town that same day and you won’t get a lot of coverage. But don’t give up. There will be another day. (Its also useful if you don’t schedule your event during some other long standing event. You should know what else is going on in town.)

Finally, use the Ledger’s own bully pulpit to launch your own direct line to the newspaper: Polk Voice. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, and widely read.

There you can publish your own stories and maps of bus routes in East Polk.