ProPublica picks 14 newsrooms and investigative projects for Year 2 of its Local Reporting Network 12/17/18

By ProPublica

ProPublica has named 14 newsrooms and local reporters who will participate in the second year of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network, a program aimed at supporting investigative journalism at local and regional news organizations. Seven of the projects will focus on state government, while the rest will cover a broad range of subjects.


Turning your design around 12/11/18

By Ed Henninger

Sometimes a design just goes stale. Over the course of even just a few years, inconsistencies creep in, color use gets out of hand, odd typefaces appear. Stuff happens.

But you can turn that around. You can bring a crisp, clean, compelling look to the tired face of your newspaper.

Here are ten steps to guide you.


If you fail to plan ... 11/13/18

By Ed Henninger

Those who have read this column over the years have probably seen this quote before:

"If you fail to plan ... you plan to fail."

I believe that so deeply that it has become embedded in my DNA.

But I'm preaching to the choir. You already have plans.

You have a business plan. An advertising plan. A circulation plan. A production plan. A personnel plan. A growth plan.

But (with rare exception), no design plan.


Audience engagement could be key to a more satisfied newsroom: 4 takeaways to consider 9/18/18

By Matt Dulin, Community Impact Newspaper

A recent survey of more than 100 journalists shows that journalists are more satisfied and find their work more meaningful and significant when they practice audience engagement as part of their job. Unlike other tasks that have been piled onto journalists that might contribute to burnout, audience engagement has the ability to actually rekindle the flames that keep journalists going.


Tread carefully when requiring down payment for democracy 9/18/18

By Jim Pumarlo

My hometown newspaper instituted a new policy requiring that readers "pay" for the First Amendment right to express, and explain why, who or what they support or oppose at the voting booth.

The newspaper is sadly is not the first and won't be the last to begin charging readers for election endorsement letters. As a former editor, I appreciate the arguments presented for enacting the policy. It's still disappointing, and I respectfully disagree.


Who's your friend? 9/10/18

By Ed Henninger

I'm a friendly guy. Most people who know me genuinely like me ... and I like them.

I can be a strong friend. I can stand by you when you need me to. I can help you when you've got a problem. I can just be there by your side when you need support.

But ... I can also choose to not be your friend if I think it matters.

So, let me get this out there briefly and clearly: I am not a friend of writers ... or designers.


The power of the podcast 8/21/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

When 5-year-old Noah Thomas disappeared in rural Pulaski County, Va., in 2015, a massive search ensued, accompanied by intensive news coverage. Four days later the body of the child was found in a septic tank with an unsecured lid, 10 feet away from the basketball hoop outside his home.

The boy's mother, Ashley White, said she was taking a nap and Noah was gone when she woke up. The home situation was less than ideal, and instead of community sympathy for her loss, White was the object of a backlash of condemnation fueled by gossip, rumor and social media.

"She didn't grow up with a silver spoon in her mouth," said Lee Wolverton, managing editor of The Roanoke Times. "She struggled like a lot of people in that area have. People are pretty quick to judge people like her."

By the time she was convicted of child abuse leading to an injury as well as two lesser charges of neglect, White had been in jail for more than a year. Released on time served, she appealed the main conviction. It was overturned by an appeals court and the Virginia Supreme Court allowed that ruling to stand.

This spring The Roanoke Times released a multi-part podcast, simply called "Septic," that told the story with a focus on the mother. Much of it is audio based in large part on courtroom recordings that were released to the newspaper. It also includes recorded interviews, photos, documents and some video.


Infographics: Tips and tools 8/20/18

By Kat Duncan, Senior Video Editor, RJI

Infographic building is a skill that some of us just don't have. If you have the time, you could learn to use Adobe After Effects or if you have the budget, hire someone who is a pro. But if you're like us and had to dive in with no experience, here are a few tools that can help you create professional looking infographics.

Read more from RJI


RJI Fellow will pilot text message distribution and engagement strategy to serve Latino immigrants 8/14/18

By Madeleine Bair, 2018-19 Reynolds Fellow

Where do you get news and information that's relevant to you?

That's what El Tímpano asked hundreds of Latino immigrants in Oakland, Calif., during an information needs assessment we conducted throughout the past year. We also asked community organizers, educators and church leaders how they share information with the residents, parents and congregants they work with.

Before piloting a reporting outlet to serve Oakland's Spanish-speaking immigrants, we wanted to hear from them first, rather than making any assumptions about what would be the best format to report about, with, and for this community. What we found, outlined in a report released last month, will inform the design of El Tímpano as a new local reporting platform.


25 on-the-job ideals 8/14/18

By Ed Henninger

I've been a consultant for almost 30 years. Before that, I worked more than 20 years in writing and editing positions, most of those years as an editor and manager at daily newspapers.

During that half-century, I've learned a few things about how to do my work well and how to conduct myself in the workplace.

I recently received a call from someone close to me who was struggling in her work. She asked my advice and I did my best to help her.

After that conversation, I sent her the following. I call it "25 on-the-job ideals."

I thought I'd take a side road from design this month to share my note with you.