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What's your question?
August 4, 2008 - Pat Beck
To make this blog as interactive as possible, I have a question. What do you want to know about the newspaper business or The Leader-Herald's policies?
Thank you, morningstar, my answers will be brief. Your questions were:
1. What kind of education does one need to become a writer for the paper, including columnists (this for the purpose of younger readers)?
If you are asking about a reporter's position, we look for a minimum of a two-year Associates Degree in journalism. At the current time our latest hires all have four-year Bachelor’s Degree in journalism.
2. How are columnists chosen?
Local columnists are selected by first placing a call or e-mail to the managing editor. After a discussion is held with the person, it is fully explained how much of a commitment submitting a column takes. A person will be asked to submit a number of examples for review. Writing a column is not as easy as it may seem. An additional part of the decision involves the subject of the column and the depth of interest it has for our demographics.
3. On average, how much time is spent following a local story such as the current scandal involving the Mayor and Mr. Margiotta?
Our size newspaper does not have an investigative reporter on staff. Our reporters are not only responsible for covering any governmental, school and day-to-day happenings in their "beat" but must assist with briefs, police reports and other general press releases. There are exceptions when a reporter may be taken off a normal routine to cover, for example a trial. There is no average time spent on any particular story. Good notes are kept on when court hearings are to be held, periodic contact with those involved in a pending case and even following up on rumors all are a part of how a reporter handles time on a continuing story.
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