UF's 'Fresh Take Florida' to provide news coverage of state government 1/29/19

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications has announced the launch of Fresh Take Florida, an effort to provide coverage of Florida state government at a time when state capitals are increasingly under-covered.

Six student journalists, all graduating seniors, will be covering executive-branch agency operations as well as legislation throughout the 2019 legislative session. They will focus on covering topics of particular impact to the North Central Florida area and the University of Florida community, including higher education, healthcare and environmental protection.

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Tread carefully when requiring down payment for democracy 9/18/18

By Jim Pumarlo

My hometown newspaper instituted a new policy requiring that readers "pay" for the First Amendment right to express, and explain why, who or what they support or oppose at the voting booth.

The newspaper is sadly is not the first and won't be the last to begin charging readers for election endorsement letters. As a former editor, I appreciate the arguments presented for enacting the policy. It's still disappointing, and I respectfully disagree.

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Want a sustainable news product? Learn from sports and treat every day with a breaking news attitude 3/26/18

By David Arkin, chief strategy officer, American Hometown Publishing

I can count numerous times in my career when I left a newsroom at the end of the day feeling so great about the future of journalism because of the work my team did covering something big and meaningful. That wasn't always a shooting. It was really about the effort and the journalism and not the topic or the severity of the news.

You need to feel that every day. When I walked into a budget meeting – even when there wasn't breaking news – with a breaking news attitude, the paper was about 1,000 times better that day. It's up to editors, as leaders, to set that tone. I worry that's just not happening enough on a daily basis. You have to create that urgency and excitement. Yes, it's hard out there. But we have to push.

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Stick to the basics: Present all sides of the story 1/23/18

By Jim Pumarlo

Most reporters can likely relate to this scenario. Someone speaks up at a public meeting to unleash criticism about an individual or organization. Reporters have little difficulty presenting a balanced report – recording all sides of the story – if the accused is at the meeting.

But what happens if the individual is not present? And what if deadlines do not permit time to get the other side of the argument?

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This time, privacy outweighs right to know 8/15/17

By Jim Pumarlo

Public records are the foundation for reporting a range of stories important to your readers.

Readers often ask why newspapers stand firm on access to and publication of these records. It's much like the proverbial "if you give an inch, they'll take a mile."

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Hold editorials to highest standard 4/25/17

By Jim Pumarlo

A common element to the most effective editorials is that they leave an impression or prompt a reaction. In contrast, nondescript editorials are easily forgotten.

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Three quick ways to boost your traffic and engagement 3/13/17


By Jean Hodges, senior director of content, GateHouse Media

How can we grow in the digital space? Clearly, the answer is to produce content that matters to our readers. Apart from all of the deep work we have to do to understand our communities, which is valuable and necessary and good, here are a few ways to grow your numbers in all the right places. Maybe these aren't news to you, but do them consistently, and you will do a happy dance when you see your analytics.

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Are you ready for the new year? Take an inventory 2/21/17

By Jim Pumarlo

Are you ready for 2017? All newsrooms should prepare an editorial calendar and review it regularly. Many of the things you cover are the same year in and year out. Use the opportunity to explore new approaches for coverage.

Think across the spectrum of your community. Here are three areas.

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10 tips to tighten your writing 11/15/16


By Jean Hodges, senior director of content, GateHouse Media

In case you're feeling defensive of your own writing, here are specific ideas to tighten your copy. You can even do a search (usually Control F or Command F) to look for these offensive words or phrases and cast them out of your writing forever.

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Time for a reorganization? 5 steps for a successful newsroom reset 10/24/16


By Jean Hodges, senior director of content, GateHouse Media

How do legacy print websites stack up against websites not connected with newspapers in terms of the mobile web experience? And, how can they improve?

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