Monthly Archives: December 2011

How are things going for small papers? Very well, thank you for asking

Photo by Hilary Stohs-Krause, NET News   888888

Valorie Zach has been the editor of the Niobrara Tribune in Niobrara, Neb.,
for the last 13 years. 

DURING THE PAST few years, there’s been a lot of talk about newspapers consolidating. Or going out of business. Or outsourcing their ads. Or outsourcing their design. (Perhaps they’re also outsourcing their thinking!).

The one key point not made in most of those stories is that it’s the metros and regional newspapers that are struggling to survive. In fly-over USA, though, the story is very different. Community newspapers are not only thriving, many are doing better than they ever have before!

Here’s one such story, from National Public Radio (the link is in print, though you can listen to it, too).

For those who work at community newspapers, this story will give you a boost!

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Typenovation: To get your juices flowing

FROM THE FOLKS at, some examples of innovative typographic thinking. Not the stuff you’re gonna use on the front of a weekly newspaper…or…would ya?

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A Christmas gift to you


and blessings of the season.

Here’s a performance

sure to get you into the spirit!

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Video: 10 best free graphic design programs

LOOKING FOR SOME new applications? Perhaps something you’ve not experimented with before?

Here’s someone who has a few ideas for you.

Best of all, they’re free. You can download them whenever you want.

Take a look here.

If you grab any that you really like, please send me a quick comment or email so I can pass the word on to others.



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Video: Improving cover design

AT NEWSPAPERS, we really don’t do cover pages, do we? Or…do we?

How about that football tab?

Or the special advertising section for Memorial Day?

Or that feature front on New Year’s Day?

OK…yes…we do cover design.

So, here’s a piece—using the front of a photo magazine—on how you can do it better.

I like the way this video breaks down the steps in the process. And one of the things it stresses has long been a principle I teach others: You create a better design by what you take away…not what you add.

Watch. Learn. Enjoy.

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Video: I gotta hand it to ya

HERE’S A FUN LOOK at some handy drawings.

Amazing what a creative mind can do with just four fingers and a thumb—oh…and the rest of the hand, too!

Take a look here...and enjoy!

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Uh, pardon me, sir. Our ads are fine…your business is the problem.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD an advertiser tell you your ads just aren’t working for him?

“Something’s wrong. I don’t get any new customers from your ad.”

“I’m tired of paying for advertising. Your ads just don’t work for me.”

“When are you gonna give me an ad that works?”

Uh…the problem may not be the ad. It may be the advertiser…or his business.

Friend and fellow consultant John Peterson has written this piece that will help you to deflect and direct.

It will deflect the negatives tossed your way by a disgruntled advertiser. And it will help you direct him toward a more productive and longer-term advertising relationship with your newspaper.

Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?

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Typography: a quick look

HERE’S A SHORT FILM on some of the basic elements of typography—and why good typography is important.

On a scale of one-to-ten, most newspapers are at a typographic six. And some are…four.

Too many fonts, text that’s too small, headlines that are kerned (or scaled!) too tightly—those are just three reasons why typography suffers at newspapers. Add funky fonts to the litany and we fall into typographic meltdown.

But then, you already knew all of that.

That’s OK…watch the film anyway.

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Who reads community newspapers? Only 74% in NNA survey, that’s all

THERE’S GOOD NEWS for community newspapers, according to a recent survey by the National Newspaper Association.

Here are some of the survey findings:

• 74% of those surveyed read a local newspaper each week
• Those readers, on average, share their papers with 2.33 persons
• They spend about 38.95 minutes reading their local newspapers
• 73% read most or all of their community newspapers
• 43.8% keep their community newspapers six or more days (shelf life)
• 61% of readers read local news very often in their community newspapers, while 48 percent say they never read local news online (only 11 percent say they read local news very often online).

NNA President Reed Anfinson, publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News in Benson, MN, said the study demonstrates that citizens believe in newspapers.

“The survey indicates a majority of respondents believe that the newspaper does a better job, provides more background and depth and is more useful to them personally than other news sources,” Anfinson said. “It reinforces not only the strong bond between local communities and their newspapers, but it demonstrates that people do value good journalism.”

You can read the full story here.

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It’s a typewriter. It’s a computer. It’s a…huh?

HERE’S A GADGET RON POPIEL would kill for!

It’s one of those “Dunno where they got this idea!” products…and it will probably sell, especially to those who still miss the clatter of typewriter keys and the clunk of the carriage return.

If you long for the days when you cranked out copy on your old Underwood, you may just be interested. If not, it’s worth a chuckle.

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