Communication Matters - our blog on trends and events


One way to make up for thinner newspapers

We all know there is more than one way to get media coverage. In fact, there are more bad ways to attract coverage than good!

But one Florida mayor did something I have never seen. She bought her way into a local magazine’s news pages.

Yes, Coconut Creek Mayor Marilyn Gerber paid $60,000 to place a column in Coconut Creek Life

Seems she was trying to make up for the lack of newspaper coverage her community was receiving from the depleted local papers.

“The major complaint we always get, always, always, is that people don’t know what’s going on,” Gerber told blogger Bob Norman. “There’s a lack of communication. We try really hard to communicate with our residents and we try whatever means we have. I have gotten very positive comments about the magazine. How much newspaper coverage is there in Coconut Creek? Not that I’m anxious to have the New Times cover us, but the newspaper business is falling apart right now.”

Gerber is right. The newspaper industry is struggling, and coverage is suffering. I just wouldn’t pay for the coverage. That’s called an advertisement.

As misguided as Gerber’s effort may be, she is right about at least one thing. Communities can struggle without a flow of information.  Most community minded people can point to a variety of events, topics and trends that are taking place that should be covered by an increasingly short-staffed media.

Each day, reporters and editors make judgments about the news they are going to relate to the public. Some call this censorship, but it’s usually nothing more than an allocation of resources.

And each day, readers call their newspapers, TV stations and other media to make them aware that those judgments are coming at greater cost. And you know something? Most days, those journalists would agree.

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