Momentum Builds For THE Community Forum

A shout-out to Jerry Raehal, executive director of the Louisiana Press Associaton, for adding The Community Forum to this timely promotion during National Newspaper Week:

We spotted the powerful message in this week’s newsletters from state press associations doing a great job touting the celebrated observance, a project of Newspaper Association Managers, which sponsors The Relevance Project.

That calls for a second shout-out to the South Carolina Press Association for aggregating and distributing LIVE! commentaries and stories about National Newspaper Week done by publications in the state. This one caught my attention:

Inside, The Sumter Item’s executive editor, Kayla Green, endorsed The Community Forum strategy. “This year’s theme for National Newspaper Week is ‘Community Forum,’ which is perfect for us. Community is what we’re all about,” Green writes. “We are real people doing real work solely for the benefit of the community. We’re analyzing the data of what you actually read, and that’s informing our coverage so we can deliver content that matters to you. We’re five meetings into our inaugural Local News Advisory Board, where we hear from a group of 24 community leaders, officials, activists and stakeholders about what they want covered in their local newspaper.”

Green concludes: “We want to inform and entertain, celebrate, build and support a more knowledgeable and more connected community. Because without you, there is no us.”

I’d say Sumter has a newspaper that is working hard to be THE Community Forum.

Readers of the Relevant Point blog know that one of the core principles behind The Community Forum strategy is to upgrade trust in newspapers. In turn, The Relevance Project has advocated a simple first step: conduct forums or town halls about the newspaper and its coverage. That calls for one more shout-out, to The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC, for using National Newspaper Week to invite the public to a virtual event called “Behind the Headlines: The Future of Journalism in South Carolina.”

The discussion focused on the partnership between The Post and Courier and 17 community newspapers across South Carolina to “investigate corruption, abuse of power and misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Can’t think of a better way to honor National Newspaper Week.

Be THE Community Forum.

–Tom Silvestri

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