Friday, March 09, 2007

"Just a walkin' grin"

Steve Yelvington, the chief new-media thinker at Morris, has a great post , "Live newspapers and dead deer."

In it he relates how Mary Lou Montgomery, editor of the Courier-Post in Hannibal, Mo., took back the paper -- took it back from what she called the wave of boring that had swept the industry:

We don’t do dead deer.
We don’t use Polaroid pictures
We don’t print long lists of names, such as those attending a reunion.
We don’t use pictures without accompanying names.
We stopped inviting pictures of the first mushroom finds of the year.
We stopped taking pictures of the pee-wee league ball players.
We started downplaying the beauty pageants and baby contests.
We stopped printing happy birthday pictures of children as part of the news package.
We stopped paying correspondents to submit “chicken dinner” news.
We stopped taking pictures of newly elected club officers.
We stopped describing wedding gowns.

Somewhere between Watergate and Iraq, newspapers let go of the personal touch and replaced it with a more “sophisticated” journalistic style. In the meantime, we lost our loyal readers.

Well, the Courier-Post does dead deer and a bunch more now. Circulation is up, complaints are down. And Yelvington reports that Montgomery says of her publisher, "He's just a walkin' grin."

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