Behind The Scenes
30Nov/120

Budget for Dec. 1, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Dec. 1, 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
30Nov/120

The benefits of crowdsourcing (update)

When longtime and much-loved Brattleboro Union High School teacher Gary Blomgren died earlier this week, it was obvious we wanted to write a nice memorial piece for the newspaper. But another challenge arose: How to present the news to the public in a timely fashion when, apart from a sentence confirming he had died, there wasn't much to report (his obituary was not available until Friday; Gary died on Wednesday).

(Note: The print part was taken care of by a letter to the editor, triggered by our Facebook post, discussed below.)

Instead, what we did was post a small item on Facebook and encourage readers to share their thoughts. Within a few hours we saw hundreds of people view the post, "like" it (to keep up with the news) and/or share their memories of "Mr. B." And, as it turns out, his son came across the item -- which had become a makeshift memorial of sorts -- and was able to enjoy this outpouring of community support.

Fast-forward to the weekend edition, and we were able to not only craft a memorial piece on Gary, talking to family and friends, but also share (via print this time) many of the nice messages that appeared on Facebook over the past couple of days. Plus we were, in turn, able to re-direct folks back to Facebook to share their thoughts (in the end, 2,000-plus views and counting, with more than 50 comments and 15-plus shares).

It was a nice, community-generated, companion piece to our typical news coverage.

29Nov/120

Budget for Nov. 30, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Nov. 30, 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
29Nov/120

In this digital age, what can newspapers learn from the literary world?

Consider this comment from Plympton co-founder and former New York Times reporter Jenny 8. Lee

“People are more wiling to pay to be entertained than they are to be informed. Which may be a sad commentary on our society, but it’s generally true.”

In a post this morning, the website posed the question: Can digital novels teach print journalism how to thrive online?

The podcast delves into the topic more deeply, but my initial concern would be such: What does it mean when we offer people bits of news and allow them to piece information together, rather than offering a complete product where they can pick and choose which information they choose to consume. It may be arguing semantics, but don't we, by offering more information, encourage folks to be more informed on items they might not necessarily typically be interested in (via headlines, blurbs, etc.)

Thoughts?

28Nov/120

Budget for Nov. 29, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Nov. 29, 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
28Nov/125

Respect for our legal system (an editorial)

A sneak peek at tomorrow's editorial ...

Six women stood trial earlier this week, accused of trespassing at an
area business to the point they were forcibly removed by local
police. They were tried and convicted by a jury of their peers. And,
after being fined by the judge, the group remained unrepentant,
refused to pay any fine and promised to return to the scene of their
crime.

This is not about how you may feel about nuclear power.

This is not about how you may feel about an individual or group’s
right to protest.

This is not about Entergy or Vermont Yankee.

This is about a group of people — people who do not live in Vermont —
people who choose to regularly and repeatedly break the laws our of
state — and people who, when forced to be held accountable for their
actions in a court of law, flaunted their indifference publicly, in
the face of Vermonters and our state’s legal system.
Some things to consider:

— While the women represented themselves, prosecutors and the judge
spent a day in court at taxpayers’ expense. And, before you argue
that they would have been working regardless, perhaps there could
have been a more suitable use of their time (perhaps on more serious
cases).

— Twelve jurors (along with two alternates) spent the day in court,
listening to this case. If they had no reimbursement via their jobs,
they were paid a stipend by the court for their time served. And,
even if you consider that money minimal, remember that this was 14
members of the community who gave up time at work, or perhaps at home
tending to family. They gave up a day of their lives to serve the
community, and these women’s reactions are an offense to the
importance of these jurors’ time and effort.

— Each woman on trial was fined $350 for the single charge of
criminal trespassing. Perhaps you don’t care if these fines are paid.
But that amount does not tell a complete story. For each charge, an
additional 15 percent surcharge goes toward the Vermont State
Restitution Unit (in this case, $53); an additional $100 charge goes
toward SUI, the state sex offender enforcement unit; as well as (in
this case) an additional $41 which is automatically assessed for
other fees. That totals an additional $194 which is legislatively
mandated to help fund state groups, groups which rely on these fees
to continue serving the people of Vermont.

— What about the cost of the response by Vernon police and the
Vermont State Police to the initial protest? Again, while these are
people already on duty and performing typical tasks, consider the
lost moments that could mean the difference between life and death
if, while dealing with elderly women chained to a fence, a more
serious emergency arises. Not to mention the fact that the protest in
question took place just days after most of the state was ravaged by
flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

Perhaps most importantly, think of what type of message this sends to
the community. This is a group of people who, justified or not, chose
to break the law. They were tried and convicted. And their reactions,
despite the rhetoric they choose to hide behind, presents one simple
statement: What we stand for is more important than your laws and we
need not follow them.

What a slippery slope this creates.

If more people choose to take that stance, that viewpoint, that
belief ... where, then, will that leave us?

Remember, this is not about nuclear power.

This is not about someone’s right to protest.

This is about someone’s choice to break the law, and their reaction
to doing so.

We believe the reaction following Tuesday’s case is an affront to all
of us living and working in Vermont. We are offended, and hope you
are too.

Filed under: editorials 5 Comments
27Nov/120

Budget for Nov. 28, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Nov. 28, 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
26Nov/120

Budget for Nov. 27, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Nov. 27, 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
25Nov/120

Budget for Nov. 26, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Nov. 26, 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
23Nov/120

Budget for Nov. 24, 2012 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Nov. 24, 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