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How to localize state, national and international stories in community journalism

How to localize state, national and international stories in community journalism

Al Cross shows you how to take localize events and trends in your newspaper.


  1. Bringing Big Stories Home Presented by Al Cross Director, Institute

    for Rural Journalism and Community Issues Texas Center for Community Journalism, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, May 15, 2015
  2. Why Localize National Stories?  Your paper is about local

    people and local issues, but it should also be about how broader issues affect them, and what they think about them.  Most of your audience probably doesn’t read a daily, and relies on TV for national news. Don’t they deserve better coverage?  Localizing national (and state) issues can help you build, strengthen and maintain your paper’s skills and brand at a critical time.  It can serve democracy.
  3. Why Localize National Stories?  Your readers need to know

    their place in the world, their state and their region – stories that can be told with county-level data on all sorts of subjects.  Too many community newspapers avoid such stories because they don’t like going out of their way to publicize information that may reflect poorly on their communities. (Example: County Health Rankings get better coverage in the better counties, not where the coverage is needed.)
  4. “According to broadband.gov, the most common speed for this area

    is 10 Mbps, however Internet service is provided by about seven different companies in the Wiregrass, providing differing speeds from 3-25 Mbps or greater. “The most underserved area within Houston County is the rural eastern portion of the county with speeds between 200-768 Kbps and 3 Mbps.”
  5. Big national issues  Broadband ◦ And what the heck

    is net neutrality?  Obamacare ◦ How healthy is your hospital? It may have a lot to do with your county’s economic health ◦ Who’s in the “coverage gap” in your county?  School lunch ◦ What do students, parents and officials say, and how does that compare with elsewhere?  Pipelines and oil trains ◦ Oil is transported one way or the other ◦ BNSF slowed trains only in cities of 100,000+
  6. Databases, maps with local data  Violations of Clean Water

    Act (by NYT): http://projects.nytimes.com/toxic- waters/polluters
  7. National stories under the radar  Farm safety ◦ Agriculture

    is one of the most dangerous jobs ◦ Children are disproportionately the victims ◦ ATV accidents a big thing, often not on farm  Rural mail ◦ How well is your mail being delivered? (This could have implications for your newspaper)  Rural telephones ◦ As many as one in five long-distance calls to rural areas don’t go through
  8. Localizing historic national events  9/11  First African American

    president  Series of riots (not just Baltimore)  Shift of views to favor same-sex marriage  All are examples of man/woman-on-the- street stories; use social media too
  9. Covering the state Legislature  Don’t just run columns by

    legislators; interview them about issues of local or big state interest.  Get help from this booklet; it includes a legislative tracker.  State elections: Who in your county gives how much to whom?