Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Be a Better Neighbor' : Virginian-Pilot Editor Emphasizes Citizen Reporting

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Be a Better Neighbor' : Virginian-Pilot Editor Emphasizes Citizen Reporting

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS Just when newspapers and reporters are viewed as being dismally disconnected from the people they are supposed to be writing for, newspapers have an opportunity to enjoy a return to popular favor. That is, if they try to see the world around them the way their readers do.

"We may be missing an historic opportunity to think of our own interests by thinking of the public's interest," said Dennis Hartig, managing editor of The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, at the 82nd annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications here this week.

Hartig contends most readers are not as interested in the political drama of "who is up and who is down" as many Washington, statehouse, and city hall reporters are. Instead, he says, most readers, while wanting to know the story behind any public figure's ascent or descent, also desire solutions to their community's vexing problems.

In an era when newspaper researchers are increasingly "slicing and dicing" readers into such demographic clusters as soccer moms, urban actives, and rack-and-rifles types, Hartig thinks newspapers would be better off to emphasize the one thing that everyone readers, reporters, editors, and even publishers have in common: their status as citizens of the republic. …

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