Student Life Editor
The room is quiet as Keene Sentinel President Terry Williams turns on the projector and the picture of a printing press appears on the screen in the “Yoube the Editor” seminar.
The news media may seem fickle to outsiders, not knowing how newspapers are put together or which story goes where on what page, is kind of like a puzzle.
But at Radically Rural’s journalistic seminar, “You be the Editor,” the audience participated in making their own front page.
Williams said the session gave readers a chance to see how a newspaper works, “The structure of the front page is all based on what they pick during this event, they are the editors and they have to decide which story is more newsworthy over others,” he said.
An avid reader and local community member of Keene, Eileen Sorson, said she was just really interested in how the paper was published.
“I’ve lived in Keene since 1990 and I have been reading the paper front to back every week since then. I am a very community oriented person who likes to be involved so it was very interesting to come this morning.”
Sorson said that she thinks the Keene Sentinel “does a fabulous job.”
During the interactive event, the room split into two groups and then given several news stories.
As a group, they decided and discussed what stories should go on the front page of a local newspaper.
Also, group members discussed why a local story might take precedent over a more national or even international story.
Executive Editor of the Keene Sentinel Paul Miller walked the audience through the Newsroom’s day-to-day duties like printing press deadlines, budget of news stories, editing and posting to the web.
“We have 17 staff including five general reporters, five copy editors, two sports, and one opinion.” Miller continued to say that. “Everyone copy edits as well, we all work together.”
After making their news choices, the audience went over to the Keene Sentinel to watch the printing of their newspaper.
For some audience members, the news selection choices were familiar ones.
One member was Peter Gilmore, currently an associate writer for the New York Post.
When asked about why he had come so far north to hear about small city journalism he responded with he’s making a “transition to kitchen sink journalism.”
“In New York titles mean everything, there is so much news that’s written that just ends up being dropped because there just isn’t enough room to fit it all and its all good news too!”
There is a difference between big newspapers like the New York Post, compared to a regional newspaper like the Keene Sentinel. Gilmore said he wants to write about stories that are meaningful.
“I want to write about real people, with real lives and real jobs, stories that matter and that are not just 1,000 word articles about politics or companies that are failing,” said Gilmore.
Another journalist in attendance was Dane Claussen, Editor of the Newspaper Research Journal.
When asked why this summit interested him, he said,
“I was already planning on coming this weekend to write about this event for my column and as it turns out, it was a really interesting seminar with a lot of people that attended. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Clauseen acknowledged the value of local news, saying it is, “important to keep rural journalism substantial in the news.”
Cailla Prisco can be contacted