Wick Communications

Looking into our archives

In Online media on April 3, 2015 at 9:16 am

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At least a couple Wick publishers were approached recently about a research project, and it turns out that it could provide us all with interesting information.

Edward McCain leads the Journalism Digital News Archive at the Reynolds Institute at the University of Missouri. He has won a Knight Challenge Grant to study small newspaper archives. Specifically, he wants to determine the value of all those stories, photos and advertisements that we lovingly upload onto the World Wide Web.

He asked – and was granted – permission to comb through data Wick Communications stores on TownNews servers. It’s an unusual request, which is why I wanted to talk to him about it.

He’s particularly interested in what he calls “digital born” content, which is distinguished from stuff that newspapers may have scanned from old newspapers. He thinks this journalism from the digital age has a value and that it would be a shame if it were lost. …

Being April fools

In journalism on April 3, 2015 at 9:09 am

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A bunch of us within Wick Communications took time out from the serious business at hand to have a little fun on April Fools Day. I’d say we fooled some of our readers pretty well.

  • The Sierra Vista Herald produced a full wrap with fake news. It turns out those dastardly Democrats want to make Spanish the official language in Arizona. The Herald is planning to publish on toilet paper so that readers can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. And on and on.
  • At the Wahpeton Daily News, Kathleen and the staff gave viewers of their new Hot off the Presses video series some unusual stories: The newspaper was trying out strawberry-flavored ink, and the Twin Towns were prepared to scrap the bridge over the Red River and go back to the ferry system that prevailed in the 1800s. Etc.
  • The Half Moon Bay Review announced subtly that it would be delivered via drones. In fact, we promised to meet readers on their doorsteps and have machines drop the papers right in their hands. If readers clicked a link at the end of the story, they learned it was all a joke. …

Covering suicide in 2015

In journalism on April 3, 2015 at 9:01 am

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When it comes out in May, the new AP Stylebook will feature a new entry pertaining to the coverage of suicides. This is a very serious and touchy subject that comes up again and again in our business.

Here’s the new AP rule relating to suicide:

Generally, AP does not cover suicides or suicide attempts, unless the person involved is a well-known figure or the circumstances are particularly unusual or publicly disruptive. Suicide stories, when written, should not go into detail on methods used.

Avoid using “committed suicide” except in direct quotations from authorities. Alternate phrases include killed himself, took her own life or died by suicide. The verb commit with suicide can imply a criminal act. Laws against suicide have been repealed in the United States and many other places.

Do not refer to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Refer instead to an attempted suicide. …

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