‘Writing about people you know’

Lyn Jerde, a veteran community journalist who covers county affairs for the Portage Daily Register, shared with the newsroom a story from Suburban Newspapers of America titled “Writing About People You Know.”

It’s worth sharing here. The story describes “relationship journalism” and addresses the new digital demands on community newspapers. One nugget raised a concern I’ve shared during the Maynard Multimedia Editing Program:

However, digital media are compelling competition and they spawn competing communities—communities of interest, not location. On Facebook and other social media sites, people interact with little or no regard to physical geography, perhaps eroding connections within the local community.

The story also says community bonds are being weakened by the loss of local jobs and resulting long commutes. Lyn has noticed this in Columbia County. She has been keeping an eye on the county’s shift toward bedroom community status; Madison, our state capital, is less than an hour south by Interstate 39. The SNA story is worth a read.

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3 Responses to ‘Writing about people you know’

  1. Lyn Jerde says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about how invested you and I have both been in the communities where we’ve done news. People don’t know this about journalists, do they?

    Happy graduation, Michael. I’ll be thinking of you, and awaiting your return to the PDR.

    Thank you for allowing me to share your experience, just a little bit, in this way.

  2. thompson says:

    Thank you, Lyn.

    People would be surprised about journalists. Beryl Love, the Gazette-Journal’s executive editor, made a case on the program’s first full day that we collectively do a lousy job of telling our industry’s and institutions’ stories.

    I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at PDR again. Thank you — please pass this on to the others — for covering for me this past month. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned. (Not all at once: I promise.)

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