Jim Pumarlo, Elevating role in local democracy


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Jim Pumarlo, consultant at Community Newspaper Success Strategies, spoke about the importance of outstanding election coverage at RJI's "Down-home Democracy: Empowering Citizens With Outstanding Coverage of Local Elections" on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014.

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Jim Pumarlo, Elevating role in local democracy

  1. 1. Outstanding Election Coverage Elevating role in local democracy Jim Pumarlo
  2. 2. Our agenda  Campaign coverage, from start to finish   Introducing the candidates    Calendars; team effort; introduce yourself Frame the questions Election night/post-election coverage Explain coverage, engage community
  3. 3. Let’s have a conversation   What do you want to learn about organizing coverage? What is your biggest challenge?
  4. 4. Plan all aspects of coverage      Stress fairness, consistency Develop guidelines Assign responsibilities Set dates Explain policies   Within your organization To your readers
  5. 5. Campaign calendar: Internal      Standard ‘to do’ list Bios Photos – uniform color, size Develop questions Schedule interviews
  6. 6. Campaign calendar: External     Continuum of coverage Candidate forums Don’t pre-empt endorsements Candidate finances
  7. 7. Generating political advertising      Know the issues Develop a campaign Promote your market share Assign races Be first on doorstep
  8. 8. Introduce yourself to candidates     Welcome them What you need to know What they need to know Contact information   Their campaigns News, advertising staffs
  9. 9. Explain: We’ll be at convention ‘The R-E made a conscious decision not to cover the county conventions this year. Money was not an issue. We do plan to attend the 1 st District congressional conventions.’
  10. 10. Element: Introducing candidates The YOYO factor     Rookie reporter Alone in newsroom First impressions to electorate mean everything Clearinghouse of information
  11. 11. Put yourselves in their shoes    Applying for a job The electorate is your audience Newspapers in best position to present information in clear, meaningful manner
  12. 12. Prepare a checklist       Know the issues Prepare the questions Assign reporters to races Decide on format Prep advertising department Scrutinize press releases
  13. 13. The questions     Be ready for scripted answers to usual questions Brainstorm unorthodox questions Why are you running? Anything you’d like to add?
  14. 14. Explain: Setting ground rules ‘Our goal is to keep readers abreast of as many campaigns as possible through Associated Press and staff reports. The greatest attention will naturally be given to local candidates and local races.’
  15. 15. Editorial: What did they say? ‘On the surface, many may see these races as separate outcomes. But upon closer review, one factor likely rang true in all three races: Voters sent a message that they want tighter reins on public spending.’
  16. 16. Underlying principles   Fairness and consistency Rights and responsibilities
  17. 17. Three-step process    Set the policy Implement the policy Explain the policy
  18. 18. Don’t be overwhelmed      Take deep breath One step at a time Immediate steps Long-term goals Team effort
  19. 19. Solid coverage pays dividends     Connect elections to everyday decisions Enrich community dialogue Advertising opportunity Strengthen your position as source for news
  20. 20. Community Newsroom Success Strategies “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a SmallTown Newspaper" "Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Campaign Coverage" "Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage for Beginning and Veteran Journalists in the Age of New Media" Jim Pumarlo Newspaper Consultant Red Wing MN (651) 380-4295 jim@pumarlo.com www.pumarlo.com