Home' Local Media Today : May 2011 Contents 6 | SUBURBAN PUBLISHER | May 2011
Tom Koetting, deputy managing editor of
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, dropped
a copy of the “Cashing in on Kids” series in
front of a group of 20 editors and reporters
attending the SNA McCormick Foundation
Specialized Reporting Institute at the
Chicago Sun Times.
He said part-time reporter Raquel
Rutledge wrote the stories about phantom
day care centers used to get government
funding all while raising her family.
Then Koetting told the group Rutledge
won a Pulitzer Prize for her work.
As the only and often overworked
reporter for the Norwood Transcript and
Bulletin in Massachusetts, my jaw hit
the table. Keeping up with my regular
reporting duties, breaking news online
on top of blogging, creating videos
and taking pictures zaps my drive to develop
longer, deeper stories. I’ve often described
working on in-depth reporting as “impos-
Not having enough time to cover every-
thing was a common problem voiced at the
two-day symposium on April 5 and 6.
Yet, knowing that in-depth, award-win-
ning stories can be crafted in a 20 hour
work week, reignited my journalistic drive.
Koetting said by chipping away at stories
during small amounts of free time, it is
possible to produce long-term projects
involving more in-depth coverage.
By coming in an hour early or staying an
hour late to work on gradually building a
story will pay off, Koetting said.
“With the way things are in the journalism
industry right now, sometimes you only
focus on meetings and your story count.
Koetting’s presentation reminded me to
question everything because sometimes
the best stories can come from something
you see or do all the time,” said Jennifer
Noblit, reporter at the Dublin Villager in
LOOKING AT THE ECONOMY IN A NEW WAY
The SNA/APME program funded by
the McCormick Foundation consisted of
eight speakers to provide perspective on
the economic crisis from academics to
seasoned reporters and editors.
Richard Longworth, author of Caught in
the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age
of Globalism, and Edward Gordon, author
of Winning the Global Talent Showdown,
and The 2010 Meltdown, offered “a great
framework into which to place what
we see locally,” said Elizabeth Cooper,
team editor at the Observer-Dispatch in
Utica, New York.
Longworth’s insights, “into life in the
Midwest and how the global economy is
making fundamental changes in the region’s
way of life has caused me to look at my
community anew,” said Marilyn Odendahl,
business reporter at the Elkhart Truth in
Speaker Bill Glauber, a reporter with
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, taught
the group that reporting on the economy
doesn’t have to consist of stories bogged
down by numbers.
Endowed by a McCormick Foundation
grant, The SNA Foundation and The
Associated Press Managing Editors con-
vened a two-day symposium last month
for twenty local journalists to study the
topic of uncovering local stories on the
impacts of the current economic crisis
on the American family.
The group of reporters and editors,
from weekly and small daily news-
papers, were selected from a pool of
seventy-six applicants and were pro-
vided an all expense paid experience
in Chicago, hosted by the Sun-Times
As evidenced by the companion
article from symposium participant
Jen Judson, the one and only reporter at
the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin in
Massachusetts, the symposium opened
new perspectives on how to find time for
longer and deeper story writing, how to
look at the economy from a local angle,
and how to tap e-mail alerts and other
online tools to identify triggers that can
lead to important local stories.
The session, led by Tom Koetting,
deputy managing editor at the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, especially
resonated with Judson – in particular,
his tips for moving beyond the day-to-
day beat to uncover and develop long
story ideas. Koetting urged reporters to
develop their own mission statements;
to tap family and friends to help identify
local issues that need investigating;
and to involve co-workers from the
outset when tackling an enterprise story
project so all aspects of multi-media
can be planned.
Symposium participants departed
Chicago invigorated and determined.
“I feel that I grew leaps & bounds.
Excellent speakers – an experience that
will leave a permanent impact on me
and will greatly enhance my ability to
bring quality reporting to my small
newspaper,” said one.
Another said “You can’t ignore big
issues & enterprise stories, despite how
busy you are with your daily job. These
stories must be told, and it’s our job to
Look for in-depth reports from this
symposium in future issues of Suburban
Publisher and watch your inbox for
free educational webinars that SNA &
APME will host to share lessons learned
and best practices on the topic of
Educational McCormick Symposium conducted in Windy City
SNA McCormick Foundation
Specialized Reporting Institute
Effects of the current economic
crisis on American families
MARGA KELLOGG COOLEY
The Santa Maria Times
Lee Central Coast
Crystal Lake, Ill.
Mt. Shasta Area
Mount Shasta, CA
Editor / Columnist
The Bellingham Herald
The News Herald
KEVIN P. CRAVER
PAMELA G. DEMPSEY
MELISSA GRIFFY SEETON
Norwood Transcript and Bulletin
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