Life, Zest and Personality

Convener: Pamela Dugan, Birmingham News

Note Taker:  Bryan Cantley


  • Bryan Cantley, Canadian Newspaper Assn
  • Sarah Adantsch, student
  • Meghan Keating,  student
  • Terry Bertling, San Antonio
  • Jackie Van Athen, Spokane
  • Tom Eblen,Lexington, KY
  • Bill Felber, Manhattan,  Kansas
  • Erica Gordon, student
  • Barbara Janesh, Green Bay

Points raised

* Regular life stories that help people understand how to cope, how to cope.

* World events that are brought to a local level

* Stories that make people feel connected

* Images, description, dialogue – elements that bring a more youthful tone to a newspaper.

* Readability- writing in a way that makes people want to read; storytelling, drama, personal stories.

* Strong leads –  build on them and maintain interest throughout

* Visual –  large, dramatic, well composed pictures and art. Get photographers to contribute to the effect of the story.

* Editors are too busy assigning crappy photos; photographers who read stories before a shoot are a  blessing.

* Experiment with stories and content. Be different, every day; e.g., during infestation of lady bugs, Lexington used sketches of them everywhere in the paper (including as bullets in certain stories) and then asked readers to count them. Prizes were awarded. Reaction was more than expected.

* Interesting and surprising stories – not just one but several in an edition, and not the usual “news of the weird” type of syndicated stories. It requires reporters to get out of the office and/or all newspaper employees, not just the news staff, to contribute.

* Health issues – we are all affected by daily lifestyle matters, whether young or old.

* Your best columnists and reporters – deploy them in creative ways and market the paper around them.

* A strong marketing effort can do a lot to bring out a newspaper’s personality. Marketing and editorial working together can make a difference without compromising the integrity of the editorial product.

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