Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

This is holiday enterprise

In journalism on 8 Dec 2016 at 11:05 am


There are 20,000 kids in foster care in Arizona. That’s up 95 percent from six years ago. Six hundred more kids are taken from their homes every year in Arizona alone. It’s a very sad epidemic that The News-Herald in Lake Havasu is bringing to light.

The week of Thanksgiving, the newspaper ran a front-page package that also included an editorial calling for more families to consider a true sacrifice of love.

Last week, I used this space to ask that you plan for enterprise over the holiday season. There are a zillion reasons to do so. You likely have more news hole this time of year. Folks have more time away from work to sit down with your newspaper. It’s a natural time to write stories that further community.

But stories like those in The News-Herald don’t just happen. Here’s editor Brandon Bowers describing the genesis of the idea. … Read the rest of this entry »


Avoiding holiday snooze

In journalism on 1 Dec 2016 at 3:06 pm


Matt Lindberg called from The Montrose Daily Press the other day. He wanted to brainstorm ideas for the holidays. He dared verbalize what we all know: Sometimes our papers take a holiday as we get closer and closer to New Year’s. In fact, he gets credit for the term “holiday snooze.”

The holidays are wonderful in many ways, but they also present a perfect storm in your newsroom. More ads mean more space to fill. Fine employees want and deserve time off with family, even if it’s only a couple days for the regular holidays. Meanwhile, the rest of the world goes into hibernation. Government and schools close. Many sports and nonprofits slow down. … You are not alone. All newspapers struggle to stay aggressive and relevant in December.

I don’t know how much it helped, but I suggested Matt might think about three categories of stories. (Again, this isn’t revolutionary thought. But perhaps you haven’t thought about it in just this way:

Evergreens. Stories that don’t require some news event to propel them. Off the top of my head, I thought these might include local winter destinations, year-in-review kinds of stories, sports highlights from the year gone by. (See more in the list at the top of this post.)

Holiday stuff. This is ground you’ve already covered, and probably cover every year. School events, the local Christmas tree business, traditions like live Nativity scenes. … Read the rest of this entry »

This is a Christmas story

In journalism on 18 Dec 2014 at 3:33 pm


And like all good Christmas stories, it begins in a bucolic town filled with busy, happy, essentially good people who are sometimes too busy to realize their good fortune. It will include a Scrooge, because all good Christmas stories do, and it will end, as they must, with an uplifting scene. Let’s call that town Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Our story opens on a gray December day. The fine people of the town are busy preparing for the coming holiday. They are planning the Christmas feast, shopping for just the right present for little Cindy Loo Who and generally hanging their stockings with care.

Well, most of them.

There is another man in town. We’ll call him John, because that is his name. He is aggrieved. John has seemingly always been aggrieved. He buries the city in public records requests, looking for something to rail about online. He champions recalls and videos hours of public meetings in hopes that a political opponent will slip up.

As you might expect, John isn’t particularly enamored with the local newspaper. It doesn’t do enough to comfort the afflicted, which is often John himself. It can’t be trusted. It must be on the take from the Powerful People who are out to get him.

And so on this particular December day he emailed the editor of the newspaper and told him to blankety-blank off. (Actually, “off” was one of the words he used. The other began with the letter “F.”)

Then he did so a second time for effect. At which point I recalled Dr. Seuss:

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!

Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.

It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all,

may have been that his heart was two sizes too small. …
Read the rest of this entry »

Selling 9/11 is a bad idea

In Ethics on 12 Sep 2013 at 1:39 pm

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Luckily, you can only make this mistake once a year. Unfortunately, you have many more opportunities to be insensitive over the course of the year.

I’m going to be magnanimous and suggest that golf course managers – and AT&T spin doctors and Aol webmasters among many others – meant well. It appears to me that they all meant to pay tribute in some way to a solemn occasion. But they all screwed up by adding their own commerce into the mix.

There are two urges at work. The first is to be part of a wide conversation. This week, tt seems everyone is posting 9/11 tributes on Facebook and writing remembrances on Twitter with #neverforget hashtags. So why not your newspaper?

Secondly, we are all looking for offbeat ways to market our products. Many of us take the calendar down from the wall and consider all those holidays and such. Can we have a Valentine’s Day sale? How about a tie-in to Labor Day? Well, why not tie your product to the patriotism that sometimes surrounds remembrances of 9/11?

Because it’s insensitive, that’s why. Whatever money you make from the promotion is sure to be offset by the bad will create. You should both trust your gut and ask others whom you trust whenever you consider some new promotion. … Read the rest of this entry »

A newspaper veteran’s lament

In Writing on 17 Nov 2011 at 11:52 am

I was heartened to see that many – about half – of our newspapers featured veterans on their pages and websites on Veteran’s Day. Ours was not one of them and I blame no one but myself.

Most of the coverage was notice of commemorations or a feature on a school event or something similar and fairly pedestrian. It got me wondering what we might have done that would have been a show-stopper.

Video. What if we had edited together several 20- or 30-second videos of veterans. (“My name is Joe Smith, and I served in the Third Infantry Division in Vietnam…”)

Polls. What branch of the military did you serve in? How do you remember our service men and women?

Documents. What if you found important Veteran’s Day speeches through the years, Congressional declarations, pdfs of front pages when wars have ended, etc. and attached them to your story?

Here’s the point: I am not a big fan of rote stories about annual holidays. They aren’t much fun to write and tend to be very similar to what we’ve done every year before. Understand that I’m not suggesting I live up to the standard I seek to set. I’m as guilty as anyone reading these words.

Together, then, let’s see this holiday season as an opportunity. I think the key is to create a richer experience for readers online. Invite readers to post photos of family Thanksgiving gatherings from days gone by, include an audio post of a midnight Mass, write a story about a boy who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Surprise readers. Surprise me. Surprise yourself.



A Christmas Kicker

In journalism on 18 Dec 2009 at 10:02 am

I think this is the last Kicker update of 2009. Christmas and New Year’s fall on a Friday – the traditional day for new Kicker posts. So your holiday present from me is that I will give it a rest. I know you have plenty to do this time of year without mulling The Big Picture.

But I have something I want to say first.

When I was a kid, the most dazzling aspect of Christmas was the anticipation. I remember that sometimes I was almost drunk with it. I’d lie in bed, wondering what I’d find under the tree in the morning and I knew that some of it would be a complete surprise.

In a way, I find that Christmas morning feeling in every newspaper. I’m aware of how cheesy that sounds. Bear with me… Read the rest of this entry »