Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Town governments and school boards deal with a wide range of issues. Some are important and interesting, some are mundane and, frankly, dull. So the reporter covering these meetings must quickly learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s say you’re covering the Centerville City Council. At the start of the meeting the council agrees to purchase more paper clips for the town secretary. At the end of the meeting councilors vote to raise property taxes 5 percent. Which issue should come first in your story? Obviously the tax hike is bigger news. It affects far more of your readers, and in a fairlyRead More →

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In the early days of the Internet, long before Facebook and Snapchat and cat videos, blogs were the hottest thing online. Everyone, it seemed, was starting a blog, lured by dreams of making big bucks (which hardly anyone did) or at least having the chance to publicly proclaim their opinions (which everyone did). Those days are long gone, but blogs can still be a way for aspiring writers and journalists to build their skills. And while few people ever make much money from blogging, bloggers can get satisfaction from doing good work and attracting loyal readers. So what are the keys to a successful blog?Read More →

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If there’s one thing the crazy summer of 2017 has made abundantly clear, it’s that print journalism remains enormously important, both for its vital role in informing the citizenry, and for its continuing strength as a business model. The last clause of that lede may be shocking. More about that later. First, the part about informing the citizenry. Ever since President Trump took office, the news media in general, and newspapers in particular, have been tasked with correcting the record any time what some have called our “liar in chief” lets loose with another whopper. More specifically, it’s clear to anyone who has been followingRead More →

Reporters covering the slayings

It was the kind of case one might expect to find in Philadelphia to the south or New York to the north, but the slayings of four young men over a few sweltering days in July became one of the biggest and most tragic stories to come out of the bucolic Bucks County suburbs in years. It began when Thomas Meo, 21, Mark Sturgis, 22, and Jimi Patrick and Dean Finocchiaro, both 19, vanished seemingly without a trace in early July. Cops arrested Cosmo DiNardo, a hulking 20-year-old with a history of bizarre behavior, and searchers started combing a tract of farmland owned by DiNardo’sRead More →

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

For many, the steady drumbeat of news about the scandal-plagued Trump White House is downright depressing. Indeed, a Google search of the phrase “Trump depressing” turns up nearly 800,000 results, from Jane Goodall lamenting the president’s climate change policies to Alec Baldwin threatening to ditch his hilarious Trump impersonation next season on “Saturday Night Live” because it’s too, well, you know. (“If everything stays the same in the country as it is now, I don’t think people will be in the mood to laugh about it come September,” Baldwin says.) The Atlantic calls this “the great liberal depression,” and it’s prompted one satirist to createRead More →