Community Reporting: Making a Difference


Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage for Beginning and Veteran Journalists (Romeii LLC) has been released by newspaper consultant Jim Pumarlo. The 49-page book, available in both e-book and print format, is intended to be a toolbox for practical and effective community journalism.

“Community news is delivered in an assortment of venues by individuals with varying backgrounds and skills,” says Pumarlo, former editor of the Red Wing (Minn.) Republican Eagle. “One premise is constant if news providers are to connect with their readers: Stories must be timely, relevant and substantive.”

Journalism Primer is intended to be a guide for beginning and experienced journalists alike. For the rookies, this book offers the ABCs to covering the gamut of headlines from proclamations to business news to local public affairs. For the veterans, this book is a guide to test and tweak some of the things they have been doing all along.

In a readable, simple Q&A format, Pumarlo provides the nuts and bolts for substantive coverage of community public affairs. “It’s a primer for beginning journalists and a refresher for veterans,” he explains.

“I wanted to publish a book that was practical and effective,” Pumarlo says.”No matter how much experience you have in journalism, if my book lets you take away one or two fresh ideas for coverage, your readers and community will benefit.”

Pumarlo is passionate about community news. “Energized newspapers are at the foundation of energized communities. My message is straightforward: Community newspapers – whether delivering information in print editions or on the Web – must focus on local news if they are to remain relevant to their readers and advertisers.”

Journalism Primer costs $9.99 for the e-book and $14.99 for the print edition. The e-book can be purchased at major book outlets like Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and the print edition is available through Amazon. Or it can be purchased directly by visiting Pumarlo’s website

Chapters from Journalism Primer:

Chapter 1: Preparing for the story
Chapter 2: The nuts and bolts of meat and potatoes
Chapter 3: Examine approaches to everyday stories
Chapter 4: Editorial Page: Exchange of ideas
Chapter 5: Public information: Access and management
Chapter 6: Connect with readers

About Jim Pumarlo:

Jim Pumarlo spent 27 years working at small daily newspapers in International Falls and Red Wing, MN. He served as editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle for 21 years. His weekly column was recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest as a consistent winner in the category for “best explanation of news operations or ethics.” He resigned in December 2003 and currently is director of communications at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business advocacy organization.

Pumarlo is also author of  Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a Small-Town Newspaper and Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Campaign Coverage. Pumarlo also offers training, seminars and webinars on the foundation of community newsroom success strategies.

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