Local Newspaper Listens, Improves

Last month I wrote about a few things that I thought would improve life in Midland, Texas, including the elimination of the weekly "around Texas" section of the Midland Reporter Telegram. I'm under no illusion that my comment had anything to do with it, but I was pleased to open this morning's paper and find a new section entitled Names and Faces: A roundup of community, society, and philanthropy in Midland.

In my admittedly uninformed opinion, this is the kind of content that a local newspaper needs to focus on in order to draw readers. We have lots of other options to get state, national, and international news, but almost no options for local coverage. Whether this exact format or specific content is sustainable remains to be seen, but I find it more interesting and informative than a section of columns and reports pulled from other newspapers* concerning topics that often have no direct local appeal.

I'm sure that filling a section of local coverage each week represents a significant commitment of resources, and I appreciate the MRT's willingness to commit those resources. I hope the experiment is successful.

*Exception: This may seem illogical, but I do see value in the MRT's reprinting of selected reports from other West Texas newspapers.


Names and Faces is something which has been in the works for a while. Unfortunately, while we get our feet wet, it will run once a month. Basically every piece of art was contributed and that takes time and effort to round up those pieces and content. Honor Roll was also submitted from readers.
You are right about the community having other options for international, national and state news.
We do believe the newspaper has to be about the community first, and we have taken steps in the past 18 months to two years to show that. Here are a few examples.

1. Pulse
2. Your City Pages (Page 2A Wednesday and Sunday)
3. Mid-week Lifestyle page
4. More local in the Sunday Lifestyle
5. Sunday Local Business section
6. More local in the Sunday Oil Report

Names and Faces, which could be a twice a month section by October or November, hopefully will add to that as will an expanded Pulse and more local content on our education page and Lifestyle sections.

We will continue to do a Texas section to bring quality coverage of state issues and commentary to our readers. This week, Education is likely to be emphasized. It's not Midland but testing and community college issues are things we can relate to. Your point, though, is still taken seriously by the people here.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on July 19, 2010 7:54 AM.

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