Thursday, October 10, 2013

Murfreesboro | In local news, redefining bylines

The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn., has consolidated Monday papers to two sections from four, largely by eliminating house ads, according to General Manager and Editor Clay Morgan. The move eliminated four pages.

In a blog post this week, Morgan also lists the number of stories, photos, videos and other editorial published the previous week. Here are two numbers that jumped out:
  • 41 staff-written local stories
  • 27 stories "submitted by local organizations and businesses."
So, of 68 local stories, nearly 40% came from those local groups and businesses. He doesn't link to any examples, so it's unclear how much editing and fact-checking they got.

Publishing those stories is part of a broader goal to make content in Tuesday and Thursday editions as all-local as possible, Morgan told readers last month. There will be a few exceptions, such as comics, puzzles, Ann Landers and the like.

"However," he said, "an AP story about the latest nonsense in Washington or something happening on the other side of the world will usually not be published on Tuesday or Thursday. On those days at least, community news will be more important than Vladimir Putin’s latest comments on Syria."

Recalling his own experience as a reporter at another small paper, Morgan said: "The first-grade honor roll was treated as being just as important as an expose on the city manager."

Murfreesboro's Monday-Saturday circulation is 10,575, and Sunday is 15,100, according to the March 31 AAM report. (Look up your site's circulation.)

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