Making the routine readable

Posted on 05. Jul, 2012 by

Of all the assignments community newspapers have taken on, one of the most challenging is to cover “routine” news and still make it interesting to our readers. I’m talking about meetings — the school boards, the city councils, the commissioners court. They’re required by law to meet in public, so you can attend, but most of the time you don’t, and we attend on your behalf.
A headline that reads “Board handles routine agenda” means we went to a meeting and nothing significant happened. But the real significance is that they met, and that we were there. Even though it was routine, it was democracy in action, your elected representatives doing business as the law requires: with the doors open.
The challenge is to get you to read it. To that end, we make phone calls, we follow up with various sources, we visit websites — everything we can do to try and turn generalities into specifics. We do our best to explore what’s behind the issues touched on at “routine” meetings.
Sometimes that works, and sometimes you may have to just yawn and take comfort in the fact that we went to that meeting so that you wouldn’t have to.

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