Guides for enhancing and extending your resources for reporting, editorial, photojournalism and other content generating areas.

Maps and charts make for interesting stories

August 1, 2015

It’s been a great summer for interactive maps and county-level data on The Rural Blog at


Defeat your fear of punctuation

July 6, 2015

Are you afraid of semicolons? How about colons? I once knew someone who would not say the word “colon” when talking about punctuation because, in her mind, it conjured up images of human posterior anatomy, and that embarrassed her. This person was an editor—a job that pretty much requires the use of the word “colon” now and then.

Editorial page intended to spur discussion

July 6, 2015

Why would a Minnesota community newspaper reprint editorials from out-of-state newspapers, even a letter from a Texas resident—especially on a topic that likely could draw sharp response from local readers?

Finding ways to engage your newspaper’s audience

June 1, 2015

What’s the best way to reach your audience?

Reap rewards with meaningful meeting coverage

May 1, 2015

Newspapers devote significant resources to reporting on meetings of governmental bodies, and for good reason. The decisions—action and nonaction on a variety of issues—affect the everyday lives of readers.

Good grammar sounds right

May 1, 2015

My family has a holiday ritual that is in danger of extinction, so I’m going to employ extraordinary life-saving measures. We play Scrabble. Certain members of my family have become Scrabble “experts,” and we owe it all to our family friend, Marie, who came into our lives when my brother married her daughter. She became a dear friend to my mom and a spare grandma to my son, and the three of them played Scrabble every chance they could. Marie died in 2013, so she will no longer be present at our family celebrations. We miss her terribly.

Serial story popular with newspapers and teachers

May 1, 2015

This year’s season is nearly over for hitting a homerun with readers using the new serialized story, “The Gashouse Gang.”

Apps that will help in covering the news

April 2, 2015

When I sent out a daily update for The Rural Blog, then turned to write this column, I was interrupted by a reply from one of my helpers, who said, “Excellent guide to critical thinking.” I told him that’s what we try to be, and that day’s blog items were particularly rich with help for journalists, so that’s what this column is about, using examples of resources that we’ve highlighted on the blog.

Connect with readers; deliver what your community wants

April 2, 2015

There’s nothing more satisfying 

Good grammar can be deceptively simple

February 26, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring. It seems a long way off, and I’m becoming increasingly impatient. My covered-for-the-winter 1950s lime-green metal porch glider is calling my name. It has springs and cushions that make it so comfortable, its rhythmic rocking can lull you to sleep faster than you can say, “summer breeze.”

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