A blog by Don Smith, WVPA Executive Director:
Jan. 2, 2014:
Good morning, 2014.
As we close another year and Christmas season, I would ask that all newspapers send me information on their Christmas Charity events. Many of our newspapers sponsor special Christmas projects. We distribute food, coats, clothes, money and help in so many other ways. You don’t do it for the publicity, but I would like to have that information when I speak about our newspaper industry.
Please take a moment today to email me — [email protected] — a paragraph about your event and your success this year.
Here’s a newsroom quiz for the folks on the copydesk: We are now in a news cycle of page templates during which many newspapers around the state will run at least one page with a 2013 dateline. Will it be fewer or more than 10? As a editor who prepared for it each and every darn new year but still had last year’s dateline run in the first week of January on numerous occasions, I have to guess more than 10.
When it happens, just smile and tell the caller (Oh, there are always callers.) that you include such mistakes intentionally to ensure all readers have something to enjoy in your newspapers. Don’t stress too much. It’s not the worst mistake you’ll make this year, but when it happens, let the advertising staff know because it impacts their tear sheets for advertisers.
Dec. 27, 2013:
Remembering Jim Smith:
I’m certain the comments from friends, family and staff members about the late editor of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel will appear, as they should, in a local column, so I don’t want to steal anyone’s lead, but I will say Jim would have enjoyed the tone and the humor.
Funerals for journalists — I’ve attended more than my share — offer tremendous insight into this business.
When you spend your life covering tragedy, crime and corruption out of newsrooms full of cynics, skeptics and odd characters, it takes a hard shell to protect a big heart and a sense of graveyard humor to shield a giving nature.
That was Jim Smith.
Coworkers talked of enjoying transferring telephone calls from angry readers to Jim, knowing he would handle the call in a most professional manner before jokingly threatening the staff member with outrageous retribution.
Ours is a wonderful profession that grants access to some of life’s greatest stories and documents the reasons we should remain thankful and humble.
Jim’s life, and the tales shared at his funeral, serve as testimony to the meaning of a career devoted to journalistm. He enjoyed his newsroom family and will be missed and remembered more often with a smile than a tear. That is as it should be in this business. -30-