Wick Communications

Uncovering trends at home

In Editing on August 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm


Sometimes, the most obvious things in our communities are the least-covered aspects. Sometimes, stuff is so ubiquitous that it feels like everyone already knows it and that makes it the opposite of news.

Sometimes, as a result, we miss the boat.

That was not the case at the Sierra Vista Herald, which recently completed a series called, “Those who Served.” It was a three-part series that ran on successive Sundays and looked at the lives of people who successfully transitioned from the military life that is synonymous with living in Sierra Vista and life as a civilian.

Stories were written by staffers Derek Jordan, Eric Petermann and Christine Steele, as well as freelancer Kay Poiro. The photos were taken by the newspaper’s Mark Levy. Together, they looked at how different generations have handled the transition, how educational courses have helped and how individuals have found their niches. …

Sharing our best

In journalism on August 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm

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Do you ever share your stuff with other Wick newspapers? I ask you because Williston Managing Editor Jamie Kelly asked me.

At various times, in various places, Wick newsrooms have shared stories and photographs. It has been fairly formal, as in Arizona, where IT genius Don Judd built an online architecture to facilitate sharing from, say, Nogales to Sierra Vista. It has been much more informal, as it is when Williston and Sidney share oil patch stories just because journalists communicate there.

I told Jamie that I have always thought there were opportunities to share our best work but that they were somewhat limited by geography. Frankly, I can’t imagine running a Williston Herald story in the Half Moon Bay Review and I can’t imagine readers in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., are terribly interested in the fact that a new Dunkin’ Donuts just opened out here in California. Consequently, I haven’t spared much brainpower thinking about it.

However, Jamie and I shared one idea that might work: a shared Drive. Suppose there was a North Dakota/Montana shared Google Drive into which editors in Williston, Sidney and Wahpeton dropped their best or more regionally interesting stuff? It could be that each paper drops one story a week in there along with the accompanying art. Or maybe just the story budgets so editors could see them and subsequently ask for one story or another. The same regional symbiosis could work in Arizona and Alaska. …

Did I read that somewhere else?

In Ethics on August 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm
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This week, in the trials of a local newspaper editor, I’m sharing a story of plagiarism masquerading as marketing.

At issue was a provided column about an upcoming seminar on the topic of aging gracefully. The author was a local therapist who was giving her lecture at the local senior center. The problem came when it read a little … too well. I suppose I could use some software to help me sniff out copy and paste, but my own senses seem to work pretty well. So I copied a snippet into Google and found the same material here. And here. And here. You get the picture.

So I wrote a fairly snotty email to the nice lady who runs the senior center accusing the author of plagiarism and giving her a high-minded lecture on the integrity of our little newspaper and how I won’t run a plagiarized column.

It turns out it is a bit more complicated than I thought. The copy wasn’t so much purloined as it was purchased. The therapist got the marketing material from a national outfit that authorizes its use with its program that she is delivering here. Oh. …


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