Home' Local Media Today : January 2005 Contents Be a good partner to your community
As many of us do, our newspaper company regularly
invites school groups and scout groups to tour our facility
and learn about the exciting world of newspaper publishing.
A recent visit by a group of 10-year old Cub Scouts led as
usual to some interesting questions.
Mike Morsch, our executive editor, was explaining where
we get our news and how we determine what stories are
newsworthy, when a sandy-haired boy with braces raised
“Are you the boss of this whole place?”
“No, I am in charge of all the people who write the stories.
Mrs. Wilson, the publisher is in charge of the newspapers.”
“What happens if she dies?”
“Well, I’m not the vice president. If she dies I don’t get her
“What happens if you die?”
“That would be sad, but the rest of the staff would be sure
the paper got out.”
A typical response from an editor, I think.
The tour continued, and Mike showed the kids how the sto-
ries and photos are placed on the pages, and how the pages
are sent electronically to another location where the news-
papers are printed. While Mike was demonstrating the pag-
ination process of flowing a picture onto a page, he used his
own mug shot as an example.
“Well, who does that look like?” Mike asked the group
when his mug shot appeared on the page. “It looks like a
criminal,” piped up one young boy. Mike has subsequently
stopped using his own picture during the demonstrations.
But it is tours like this one that we believe are one part of
being a community newspaper. Interaction with community
members, be it a church group, civic group or youth organi-
zation, lets our readers get a behind-the-scenes look at what
And introducing young readers to the process encourages
them to pick up the newspaper and read about their friends,
their neighbors and the issues affecting their communities.
Maybe not when they are 10 years old, but we’ve planted
the seed for a future reader.
We even send them home with a mock front-page printout,
one that has a photo of the group and a headline touting the
group’s visit to the newspaper, many of which adorn the
For newspapers to remain a vital part of their respective
communities, we must continue to be an active part of those
communities. Whatever form that takes; be it conducting
tours of the newspaper office, speaking at the local Rotary
club, being a good business partner or showing good cus-
tomer service by addressing the needs of a person who
walks in off the street to our front counter, our readers need
to feel like we are one of them. To do that gives them confi-
dence in our product.
Oftentimes, the groups that visit the office send notes to the
newspaper about their tour experience. Many are grateful
for the opportunity to get to know a little more about their
local paper. They include notes from the children with com-
ments like, “I learned about primary colors,” or “Now I
know how all those words got in the paper.”
We cherish this feedback.
Now if we can just figure out a way to keep the kids from
getting too excited when our tours pass the lunchroom
SNA Board President
several social opportunities planned. The conference
will also feature the annual Editorial Awards ban-
quet at which the 2004 Suburban Journalist of the
Year will be honored.
The full conference brochure has already been
mailed and complete registration forms are available
on the SNA website at www.suburban-news.org.
SNA staff at headquarters are eager to help with any
questions or arrangements and can be reached at
Top Level Newspaper Executives to
Gather for SNA Spring Publishers’
Conference in Orlando, FL
continued from page 1
members should pay
particular attention to
the special half day
track of programming
on Tuesday, March 1st.
John Davis, one of the country’s foremost experts
on the subject of family businesses, will conduct
an afternoon of programming specifically
designed for family owners. Davis heads up the
Families in Business Program at Harvard
Business School. He will talk about how family
companies developed over time and why this is
important to your current day operation. He will
also share a family newspaper case study and will
leave plenty of time for Q&A.
Additionally, Owen Van
Essen, right. will address
current M&A trends in
family owned newspapers
and a working lunch will
tackle the subject of advi-
sory boards versus boards
Members can also expect a mini-trade show... exhibits
from a variety of vendors pertaining to suburban and
communtiy newspaper publishing have become a
mainstay of SNA conferences.
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