Home' Local Media Today : June 2014 Contents 2 | LOCAL MEDIA TODAY | June 2014
Local Media Today is published in print
and digitally by the Local Media Association,
the only non-profit trade association in
North America that specifically represents
the needs and interests of local newspaper
and media companies, their multi-media
publishing entities and other community
With a tagline of Innovate. Educate. Inspire
LMA provides leadership for its members and
support for their endeavors including their
pursuits of journalistic excellence, sales and
marketing expertise, audience development,
community-centric initiatives and leadership
values through the ongoing development
and dissemination of powerful, innovative
and valuable resources.
116 Cass Street
Traverse City, MI 49684
LMA OFFICERS & DIRECTORS
Chairwoman of the Board / SNI Vice-
Chairwoman / LMAF Treasurer
Gloria Fletcher | Sound Publishing, Inc.
First Vice Chair / SNI Treasurer
Clifford Richner | Richner Communication, Inc.
Second Vice Chairman
Gordon Borrell | Borrell Associates
Suzanne Schlicht | The World Company
Matt Coen | Second Street, Inc.
Immediate Past LMA Chairman/
Current SNI Chairman
John Humenik | Wisconsin State Journal
Roy Biondi | This Week Community Newspapers
Henry Bird | Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.
Robert Brown | Swift Communications
Brandon Erlacher | The Elkhart Truth
Kevin Kampman | Winston-Salem Journal
Terry Kukle | Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Chris Lee | Deseret Digital Media
Peter Newton | Gatehouse Media
Mark Poss | Red Wing Publishing
Ben Shaw | Shaw Media
Kim Wilson | The South Bend Tribune
843-390-1531 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President of Operations
215-256-6801 | email@example.com
Sales & Marketing Director
888-486-2466 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Classified Avenue Director of Sales
888-486-2466 | email@example.com
Sales & Marketing Manager
Lindsey Leisher Estes
410-838-3018 | lindsey.l .firstname.lastname@example.org
Training & Development Director
Local Media Today Editor
888-486-2466 | email@example.com
888-486-2466 | e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Accounting & Finance Director
Database & IT Director
Local Media Today is printed courtesy
of Sound Publishing, Inc., the largest
community news organization in the state
The digital edition of Local Media Today is
published courtesy of Realview, a leading
provider of stunning online and mobile
publishing solutions. More about them at
AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF
First off, congratulations on being selected as LMA’s
Journalist of the Year. That’s huge. I want to dig into your
work as a journalist but before I get into that, can you give me a
brief recap of your background and career path to date?
Thanks so much, it's a big honour. I was born in Montre-
al, Quebec but grew up mostly in London, Ontario, two
hours west of Toronto. I graduated with an Honours Political Sci-
ence degree from Western University in Ontario, and a Masters
Journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa. I worked
for community weeklies in tiny Ontario towns before working
five years at the weekly Guelph Tribune, and joining The Hamil-
ton Spectator in May 1997. At the Spectator I have been a general
assignment reporter and, for most of my time here, a long-form
feature writer. I have written a dozen multi-part narrative-style
series and had six books published, all of them based on my sto-
ries in the Spectator. I have won two National Newspaper Awards
and 16 Ontario Newspaper Awards, and was short-listed for an
Arthur Ellis Award for non-fiction mystery book writing.
The evolution of print journalism in the digital age has
unfolded almost in a parallel to your time in Hamilton.
With respect to this transformation, how has your work evolved
over this time?
The first thing that comes to mind for me is how the
digital age has improved my ability to research. It amazes
me to recall that I wrote the rough draft of my Masters Research
Paper at J-school in 1992 long-hand and finished it on a glorified
typewriter. And then in my working life using online resources
and email for interviews and so on has been a huge advance
for investigative pieces and when I have been assigned to write
quick-turnaround news features. I don't think the digital age has
influenced my writing style as such; the pieces I write for the
paper appear the same online, as far as the story itself goes.
Can you elaborate please on how you approach assign-
ments and how you treat them differently as a result of
Well, for one thing with my assignments today I'm often
thinking early in the process of video treatment for the
web component, which was not on my radar years ago. And try-
ing to polish my own video presence when I speak on camera,
which I consider an exciting part of the job. And then also when I
get into an assignment I'm thinking about items we can use on the web
to help illustrate the story in different ways; audio clips, documents, etc.
When I'm interviewing sources I start to envision who might come
off well on camera and so on. And really, while we take it for granted
something like email — that didn't exist when I first started working in
journalism, or was not yet widely used — is a tool that is so critical now
— c onducting interviews on email, or using it to get someone to talk
who otherwise might not talk (because many people are more inclined
to "speak" loosely on email than on the phone or in person).
Seems like there are more ways to reach audiences than there
are hours in the day to develop the skills to use them all. How do
you keep pace with all that digital publishing and changing technology
offers? What equipment and must-have tools are in your tool belt? On
your wish list?
I would never claim to be a big tech guy. I have a record player
at home and I have a mini tape cassette player that I play in my
car sometimes, because I have a few books on tape that I love to listen to
that I don't have in any other format, so I actually click on the tape and
play it driving to work. (I can hear a young hip journo now: "What is this
'tape' of which he speaks?")
Having said that, the essential tool in my belt when I go on an as-
signment is my digital voice recorder. I like to record my interviews
whenever possible, and also, record my own reflections on a story when
I'm driving back from an assignment — I will talk to myself, talk over
possible writing approaches to the piece. It works. Also I do love the
iPhone, to take pics of documents — I was doing that the other day in
a courthouse, shooting exhibits docs from a murder trial — and record
I also love my MacAir laptop. If I’m out on an assignment and have
a chance to get into a coffee house and get caffeinated and crack off
a story — beautiful. If I had to choose one piece of tech to take on an
assignment, it would be the recorder. Just give me a recorder and a pad
and pen and I'm good to go.
But really the most important tool to have in your arsenal on an
assignment or interview is your mind — have it engaged, ready to soak
in atmosphere, to take in the people and scenes you are exposed to, to
let the story form in your mind, to "see" the story. If your mind is doing
that, if you are really primed for it,
then it all flows from there.
Jon Wells is a veteran reporter at The Hamilton Spectator, a daily
newspaper in Ontario, Canada. He mostly writes long style features and news stories.
The Hamilton Spectator is part of Metroland Media Group.
LMA Journalist of the Year
Judges from the The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Arizo-
na selected Jon Wells as LMA’s Journalist of the Year in the recently announced 2013 Editorial
Excellence Contest and praised his prolific body of work and especially his ledes.
“Jon Wells take readers to strange places and introduces them to unlikely people. He writes
about the bad part of town, casinos, reservations, beauty queens and murderers, and each and
every time, his writing captivates you from the first words. In fact, his ledes alone could earn him
the "Journalist of the Year" award. A story about a murderer begins, "The man ordered the
$1.99 chicken dinner special." A story about a local casino starts off: "Dude is on a roll, looking
good, feeling better: triumphant at the blackjack table, a woman on each arm delighting in his
winning aura, the one on his right in red satin and heels." Wells' work, which is prolific, makes
you hope he never stops writing and reporting.”
CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
But really the most important tool to have in your
arsenal on an assignment or interview is your mind.
Links Archive May 2014 July 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page