Jim Pumarlo, Community Newspaper Training

Set your ground rules now for the coming barrage of election letters

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The Inlander/April 2014

Election season poses a host of questions for editors as they sift through the natural upsurge in letters. For those in the midst of spring elections, editors are likely making many decisions on the fly. For late primaries and the November general election, it’s not too early to set the ground rules.

Be sure to share your policy with as broad an audience as possible, including candidates and their campaign managers. It’s an excellent topic for a column to readers.

Interviewing candidates: Never a stupid question

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Publishers' Auxiliary/May 2008

All editors and reporters likely remember interviewing for their first job. What were the toughest and most meaningful questions – the ones that afforded an opportunity to distinguish you from the other applicants? Which questions prompted a simple “yes” or “no” answer, and which ones gave your prospective boss an inside look of who you are, and what you’d bring to the table?

'Paid' letters raise many questions

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Publishers’ Auxiliary/April 2008

A Minnesota newspaper publisher generated national headlines when he started charging 5 cents a word for letters to the editor that endorse a candidate. He was frustrated with the orchestrated letter-writing that has become standard fare among political campaigns - a challenge facing many editors as the 2008 elections approach.

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Jim Pumarlo writes, speaks and provides training on Community Newsroom Success Strategies. He is author of “Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Coverage” and “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a Small-Town Newspaper.” He can be contacted at www.pumarlo.com. Reprinted with permission of Jim Pumarlo.

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