Behind The Scenes
23Jun/120

Summer vacation

Just a quick post to let folks know the blog will take a brief hiatus until the beginning of July ...

23Jun/120

Budget for June 25, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the June 25, 2012 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
22Jun/120

Budget for June 23, 2012 weekend edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the June 23, 2012 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
21Jun/120

Budget for June 22, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the June 22, 2012 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
20Jun/120

Sign of the times

Here's a good editorial cartoon from Australian artist Paul Zanetti:

Filed under: cartoons No Comments
20Jun/120

Budget for June 21, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the June 21, 2012 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
19Jun/120

Re-thinking the letters policy ("where you live" edition)

Seems like a long time coming, in many ways, but one of the long standing traditions at the Reformer was that we only would run letters to the editor from letter writers in our immediate area. While I didn't craft the original policy, I assume it had to do with those form letters newsrooms receive from all around the country (we typically get them from Texas, Florida or California), that usually have to do with the president, national policy or international issues.

Now, with some many people reading our website, or following us on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, if people from around the country (or world!) want to weigh in on a story in the Reformer or one of our local issues, I no longer want those voices missed in the Reformer.

So, while we'll still be scrutinizing letters coming in from outside of the area, readers may begin to notice more letters from writers farther away ....

A small effort for us to "get with the times."

19Jun/120

Budget for June 20, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the June 20, 2012 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
18Jun/120

Budget for June 19, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the June 19, 2012 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
17Jun/120

Balancing act, Take 2 (local vs. national/world news)

A follow-up to a post I wrote last month (read it here), talking about the day-to-day balancing act, especially at smaller community newspapers, when it comes to balancing the various type of news coverage.

We recently ran a piece from a regular letter writer continuing this conversation:


Since I wrote my letter on Memorial Day, decrying the lack of
national or international news on the front pages of the Reformer
(especially irksome on Memorial Day when we are honoring our soldiers
fallen in battle, in many cases their having fought to keep us from
falling under fascism or worse, and the connection seeming to be lost
between our struggles for freedom and the horrors being perpetrated
on civilians by a dictatorship in Syria), I have regretted using the
word “pablum” to describe the story on the front page that day, and
local news in general.

Local news coverage is essential, it is the blood and bones of the
community. And in fact, the story I pointed to, a summer science camp
put on by Leland & Gray junior high school science teacher Bruce
Whitman, sounds like a wonderful thing, and one my own children would
have loved.

It was neither local news nor that particular story that I take issue
with, but merely the fact that local news seems to be all the
Reformer is printing these days, save one page of one-paragraph story
summaries for news from “The World.”

And to respond to a letter writer’s comment, it is probably because I
have gotten the paper for years, and written for it, that I wish it
better reflected me and what I see as our unique community ... a
community that hosts The School for International Training, teaching
people from around the world how to be agents for peace; that has
hosted the Women’s Film Festival which has taken pride in the
international scope of its offerings; that over the years has
generated political groups and events that show up on a weekly basis
under the meetings listings; all bringing greater awareness of
national and international issues to Brattleboro residents. The
resolutions that yearly are part of our Town Meeting acknowledge our
connection to a larger world as concretely as anything I can think
of.

The paper has in the past year or so changed, concentrating almost
exclusively on local news — in many cases not even news but “feel
good” stories (and yes, we all need that sometimes) to the exclusion
of real news stories ... even real local news. Let’s have all the
local news and thoroughly covered but please let’s not have it be the
whole ball of wax.

The writer does make a good point, though at the same time I would caution that "times have changed," and these days, with technology the way it is, newspapers have to re-think not only how they present the news of the day, but what types of news is covered. At the Reformer newsroom, I think the best mantra is local, local, local. Not at the expense of other news, but given space constraints and the amount of local news we want to offer on a daily basis, national and international news briefs with a helping of fuller regional coverage seems to make the most sense.

After the letter appeared in the paper, we posted it online and asked for more reader feedback. Here's some of the responses:

-- keep the focus on the local news, this is what makes the Reformer and Brattleboro (and surrounding areas) unique.

-- I like reading LOCAL news.... if I want to read/hear other news I watch the news.

-- I like the local news and appreciate the feel good stories. If it was too much gore and sadness, I wouldn't subscribe. I can read up on that online at my discrepancy.

-- Eat local. Read local...

I'm sure this will continue to be a topic of discussion for the editorial board.