From January to March, it’s awards season in Hollywood. Among them are the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics’ Choice Award, and the Oscars. But a new award “show” popped up this year: the Fake News Awards. Created by President Trump, the winners were announced in January. They included CNN, the New York Times, ABC, the Washington Post, Time and Newsweek. Many journalists saw these “awards” as an attack on the free press, something that would only add fuel to Trump’s anti-press rhetoric. In response to Trump’s Fake News Awards, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced its Press Oppressors awards. Trump won for Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom and was named a runner-up for Most Thin-skinned.
At the same time those awards were being handed out, E&P was going through the numerous submissions sent for our annual list of 10 Newspapers That Do It Right. This year, we received more than 100 entries. They came in all market sizes, from college campuses, Denmark, New York to California. We like to remind readers that our annual list is not meant to be a “10 best” list; it’s meant to highlight the strong work being done at newspapers around the world. In this day and age, where a sitting U.S. president can create something as outlandish as the Fake News Awards, I say a story profiling 10 newspapers that do it right (along with a couple more on our list of honorable mentions) is exactly what the news industry needs.
Once again I’m going to hand over this editorial to some of the newspapers who made our list so that they can share their ideas on how newspapers can grow and prosper.
“More than ever, it’s vital news organizations produce unique and insightful content that hits home for readers. This means moving away from the traditional ‘news of record’ focus of our industry and instead drilling down on the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of issues that affect lives. When such a story can be made rich with humanity through street-level reporting and narrative storytelling, all the better. Whether it’s investigative work or social issues reporting or political reporting or explanatory reporting, we can use these approaches to break through the din of daily life and digital distractions to draw readers and build trust in our communities.” —Michael Kilian, The Cincinnati Enquirer
“First and foremost, we need to continue to concentrate on our core First Amendment responsibility, which is to provide our readers with in-depth local news and informed opinion that they cannot get anywhere else. We’re not like any other business; the very fabric of America is attached to how we do our job. In this era of debate over ‘Fake News’ and partisan journalism, it’s more important than ever for us to stick to our mission of providing in-depth, objective local news so that readers can make informed decisions.” —Patrick Rice, Daytona Beach News-Journal
“Innovation and creative thinking by newspaper parent companies are essential to creating new profit centers so that newspapers maintain market-share, diversify and grow. Harnessing existing in-house creative and media resources while augmenting their value with the latest advancements in technology.” —David Kennedy, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
“It’s time to lower the white flag, hoist the battle flag and take back our audience. We must find the hyper niche audiences that we as publishers can uniquely deliver. Mastering the five or six areas that we can once again ‘own’ is essential. Newspapers have abdicated revenues to competitors, and we need to get them back through intelligently designed and executed digital platforms complemented by thoughtful video, social and print strategies.” —Kimberly Parker, Las Vegas Review-Journal