Ten newspapers that get it

Posted on July 20, 2006 
Filed Under Journalism

The Editor and Publisher lists ten newspapers that are getting it right. Unfortunately, and ironically, the article isn’t available online, but I found the gist of it, giving sypnosis on what these newspapers are doing that suggests the industry isn’t dead.

1. The Clarion-Ledger
At The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., Jerry Mitchell’s recent honors for revelations about the 1964 deaths of three civil rights workers actually date back to legwork that began in 1989. That’s when he caught the film Mississippi Burning, which was based on the story of their murders.

2.Houston Chronicle
The Houston Astros didn’t win the 2005 World Series, but the Houston Chronicle has a strong claim to being the blogging champ among America’s daily newspapers. Since the newspaper started blogging in earnest last year, Chron.com has launched about 30 news, sports, and entertainment blogs by Chronicle staffers. Then in early 2006, Chron.com also began hosting more than 30 reader blogs about everything from birding to Houston’s grassroots art scene.

3.The Denver Post
When it comes to diversity, an awful lot of newspapers are trying — sincerely, even desperately — to do it right. But only a few are actually doing so, as the woeful results of the American Society of Newspaper Editors minority newsroom census attests year after year. In the latest census, the number of journalists of color working in daily newsrooms averaged 13.42%, up a microscopic four-tenths of 1 percent from 2005. (Interesting multimedia stories too)

4.The Bakersfield Californian
Readers often accuse their local daily of being out of step with their community, but it’s rare to hear a newspaper agree wholeheartedly. The Bakersfield Californian, though, came to that conclusion a while ago.

5.The San Diego Union-Tribune
During the spectacular fall and imprisonment of Republican U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, readers throughout America became aware of the investigative prowess of The San Diego Union- Tribune. The U-T and Copley News Service shared this year’s Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for uncovering one of the worst bribery scandals in the history of Congress.

6.South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Publisher Bob Gremillion came up on the broadcasting side of Tribune Co., so he knows a shrinking audience when he sees it. And in its highly competitive playing field, fighting The Miami Herald to the south and The Palm Beach Post to the north, the Sun-Sentinel was indeed shrinking. (Lots of videos, photos, sports blogs.

7.The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle
In a time of crisis in the newspaper industry, The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle is not letting any grass grow beneath it. Last fall, a group of staffers holed up in a room at the Eagle, brainstormed about how to best reach time-starved working women, and came up with the idea to scrap the traditionally themed daily features sections. They then designed a prototype, printed it, tested it on a focus group, tweaked it, and after 70 hours completed plans for a daily tabloid section called Wichitalk.(Blogs and Wichitalk)

8.Dayton (Ohio) Daily News
While many businesses use the phrase “The customer is always right” as a rallying cry, the concept has seldom filtered into the thinking at most newspapers, which traditionally invented and reinvented themselves based on top-down thinking. But when the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News decided to overhaul its operations two years ago, that classic listen-to-your-customers maxim was taken to heart. Always an investigative powerhouse, the News, a Cox paper, was nonetheless losing readers on the print side…

9.The Bulletin, Bend, Ore.
The Bulletin in Bend, Ore., might turn other newspapers into green-eyed monsters with its circulation accomplishments in the past year. During the March 2006 reporting period, many papers looked like roadkill bleeding circulation. The Bulletin, meanwhile, made some of the industry’s biggest gains, with daily up 7.3% to 29,734 and Sunday up 5.6% to 30,502. Those increases are far from flukes. This is the paper’s fourth consecutive circulation increase since the September 2004 reporting period.

10. RedEye, Chicago
When the Chicago Tribune launched RedEye in the fall of 2002, media critics — including this E&P writer — beat up pretty badly on the would-be youth tab. We jeered that the content was either yesterday’s celebrity news or severely shortened versions of articles right out of that morning’s Tribune. It wasn’t really cool, it was condescending. And it was ugly, too. It didn’t help that Red Streak — created out of thin air in six days by a panicked, competing Chicago Sun-Times just to confuse the mark…


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