Blogs > Tell the Editor

A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lorain reporters blog on reporting in the digital world

Kelly Metz  and Megan Rozsa are a couple of talented young reporters on my staff who have started their own blog called "News: From the Field" talking all about their experiences and advice for reporters in the new digital world of journalism. They can be read here in the Blogs section at Megan and Kelly also are on Twitter. Learn what it's like to be a reporter in the new news ecology blending the best of digital and print.
Local readers who would like to take up our offer, in my previous post, to become community bloggers, can learn from Kelly and Megan in our Community Media Lab.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We'll help you become a community blogger

The Internet is rapidly dissolving the walls between newsrooms and our living rooms.

At The Morning Journal, we want to improve upon our traditional print and online news coverage by helping community members to become community journalists, that is, bloggers.

We will help these individuals to create their own blogs on subjects they care about deeply and can write about regularly. By doing so, we can widen the world of information for everyone here far beyond what fits on a printed page; far beyond what any traditional newspaper staff could manage to cover.

Community blogs could be about all kinds of things: Neighborhood news from South Lorain or South Amherst, for example. Or sandlot baseball, or quality of life issues in any community. Perhaps Elyria politics is your passion. Or you are bursting with ideas to give Lorain an extreme makeover. Clubs, organizations, churches, schools, hobbies ... the field is wide open.

The community blog you write would be based online at It would be your blog, not The Morning Journal's. We just provide a platform for your words and set some standards.

This is community news, not commercials, so no promoting one's business, please. Blogs that espouse the bogger's opinions will be labeled as opinion, in contrast to blogs that report news about a town, group or school.

You'll need your own computer, and you will blog from home; but for starters we'll teach you the fundamentals of reporting right here in our newsroom's Community Media Lab.

You will talk with, learn from, and no doubt teach a thing or two, to the reporters and editors you will meet on our staff.

Together, we'll shape the future of local news.

Want to give it a try? Send me an e-mail at telling me a little about yourself, the topic of your blog and maybe providing a little sample.

Or, if you just have a comment on all of this, click on the "comment" link below and Tell the Editor.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Scenic river proposal has an ugly side

Barbara Ramirez said ....

I just read the article about the Vermilion River becoming a scenic reserve.The article says that many support this idea.Well,I say to them that the government has ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to take those people's property!!This is downright OBSCENE, and anyone in favor of this, had better step back and think about just what in the world they are trying to DO!! The majority of that property is PRIVATELY OWNED AND IT SHOULD STAY THAT WAY!!This IS still America, IS IT NOT?!? We have the RIGHT to own property, AND KEEP IT!!
I suggest you go to the website called Freedom, and order the booklet called "Understanding Sustainable Development-Agenda 21," and READ IT. The government is trying to take away private property rights, and kick people off of their land, in a scheme to CONTROL US.It has nothing to DO with conservation.They will TELL you it is for conservation purposes, but the bottom line is CONTROL PURPOSES.Get the booklet.Fight this, or none of us will have any rights left!! 

To offer your own opinion, click on the red "comment" link below.

How about Longfellow Park site for Lorain's new high school?

Anonymous said...

New topic: Why has there been no discussion to build the new school and rec. facility at Longfellow Park? It could be an easy swap of land with the city; schools get Longfellow and the city gets the Admiral King property. The Admiral King property could then be turned into Ernest J. King Park where they can put in the youth soccer fields for Lorain Youth Soccer along with other amenities. Finacially, this makes sense.

Reactions, anyone? ...  Click the red 'comments" link below to have your say.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can "Voluntary Tax Diversion" really work to help local governments?

Reader Dennis T thinks he's got a better idea for helping to fund local governments, and he'd like someone with financial credentials to say whether it has a chance of working, if it were to be adopted.

Dennis T wrote:

I would like to ask for comments and suggestions concerning the idea that I wrote about in a Morning Journal letter to the editor on March 12. I called it "Voluntary Tax Diversion" (Click here to read the letter.) I think it has a lot of potential for increasing revenue for our local governments and public schools. It does require legislation to be passed at the federal government level. I will attempt to answer any questions that you might have over the next couple of days. Thanks.

To offer comments, click on the red "comments" link below.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who put them in charge?

Below is a question from the parent of a school child. The parent is frustrated after dealing with school officials. Anyone have an answer? -- Tom Skoch

I always thought Education was the 2nd important thing in life? Your children are your first. I realize in life that without an Education, you will not be successful, I keep instilling that into my children, without an Education you will not have a real good paying job, therefor most of us who applied for a job that requires a strong Education background get that job because we met the qualifications, not because we knew someone in the system, but because we fit the profile requirements for that position, that is what the situation is most of the time, but what about the ones who are in charge of supervising the schools while our children are earning an education. What really qualifies a person to make sure our children are being taught, what qualifies them to make sure they are meeting the expectations of an education? What requirements do they have to meet in order to be in charge? I would think that because Education is very important that the qualified person meets the Degree requirements in order to supervise the education of our children, or have we come down to just put that person in the position because they are willing to do it, or the person supervising the school is a friend of a friend who is a friend. Times have changed, Teachers are under more pressure then ever, and the students are more out of control then ever before, the question is; Do we have the right people, the qualified people to control our environment? I am just a concerned parent.

What's on your mind? Tell the Editor and start a discussion

Do you have an idea, question or comment on something that can help to improve our communities or this news organization? Click on "comments" below to share your views. Tell the Editor and start a discussion.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tell the Editor isn't about the editor, it's about the readers' comments

Recently, The Morning Journal's parent firm, Journal Register Company, created an advisory board of big league media thinkers.
These board members are helping us newspaper types to avoid extinction in the long run. That means helping us to evolve in the new digital world so we can keep up with our readers' needs for information.
Jeff Jarvis is one of our gurus on the board. In his blog, Buzz Machine, Jarvis talked about dealing with reader comments online. Reader comments are the lifeblood of this new blog of mine, Tell the Editor. My hope is to spark conversation that will produce solutions to improve the community and this news organization.
To that end, here is a link to the Jarvis piece on reader comments. I'm offering it to help give you a better idea of where we are going. And if Jarvis sparks your interest, here's a link to video of the talk he had with all of us Journal Register newspaper editors last week in Philadelphia, after an introduction by the new CEO of Journal Register Company, John Paton.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Readers are at the center of our local news evolution

Take a look at my Sunday column (click here) in today's Opinion section to learn more about the evolutionary changes under way at The Morning Journal and how they put our readers at the center of everything we will be doing as this year unfolds. Then click on the comment link below here at Tell the Editor and let me know what you think about these developments. Or just let me know anything else that you think can help to improve our communities or this news operation. I welcome the conversation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stay tuned

I'm sitting at an editors'meeting right now, hearing some unique ideas that will make a big improvement in your local news. More later...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What's your "fact-checking" policy on letters to the editor?

That was the basic question posed by a reader who then went on to take me to task for printing "falsehood laden letters all the time." That, he said, was an insult to readers' intelligence and to my obligations as a journalist. What set him off was a three-paragraph letter objecting to the health reform proposal under debate in Congress.
Letters of this type are "political speech" and the statements made in them are given wide latitude. In politics, one mans "truth" is another man's "lie." Think of that classic optical illusion where an image looks like a white vase against a dark background -- but it also looks like two dark faces staring at one another across a white void. It's one image (fact) but it has two entirely different interpretations depending on how you look at it. The "truth" and the "lies" in the health care letter and the reader's objection to it are like that.

Our Opinion Page has the duty to give voice to people's varied views on important issues. That's why we print letters on both sides of any given argument. We don't censor a letter-writer's opinion or interpretation of a political "fact." We give readers credit for having the intelligence to sort out the many differing opinions and interpretations and to make up their own minds.

Fact-checking is reserved mainly for challenging the absurd, such as if a letter stated that Lorain was the capital of the United States, or if someone wrote in thanking the pope for visiting Amherst.

The big problem I had with the little letter that started this discussion is that somehow, a typo snuck into the first paragraph, "Get" came out "et" -- now, that's a journalistic sin. Mea culpa.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So far, so good

 It's the third day for this Tell the Editor blog, and I've been happy with the reception it has gotten so far. I'm hoping it can really grow as a productive and informative conversation on both sides of the computer screen.  My thanks to everyone who has sent in a post. The exchange of ideas and information has been enjoyable.

On a related note, The Morning Journal's evolution into a media company that swiftly brings you the news you want, the way you want it, continues as well. 

As mentioned previously, we now break news on our Web site, as it happens, and we update it throughout the day. Reporters are capturing more local news on their Flip video cameras, as well as scribbling facts in their notebooks.

And for the growing number of people who connect with friends and the world through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, The Morning Journal now gives you breaking news Tweets and Facebook posts that link  back to the developing stories on our Web site. Reporters Kelly Metz and Megan Rozsa have been especially good at this. Stories, and more, on our Web site also are available by RSS feed.

As day moves into evening and night,  the growing body of news information coalesces into the most clear, complete and authoritative accounts available of the day's news. That comprehensive look at local events becomes the contents of The Morning Journal that is delivered in print on paper to your home or office. That newspaper you can consume and digest slowly, at your leisure. Many print stories also tell you how to find extra detail, such as more photos, a video or pertinent documents on our Web site to enhance the story.

Lots more good stuff on the way to tell you about. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The scoop on the "editorial staff"

A reader of my March 7 Sunday column, The Editor's Column, posted a comment there suggesting that the "editorial staff" reply to readers' comments on our Editorial Page editorials using their "real names."

This would be my reply: All of the daily Our View editorials are written by Editorial Page Editor Dan Smith and me together. I am the sole writer of The Editor's Column on Sundays and the Tell the Editor blog.

That's all there is, two people. Our names are in the masthead above each day's editorial in print. On the Web site,, we are listed in the Contact Us section, and my name and photo are on my column and blog.

We write 365 Our View editorials each year. I write The Editor's Column weekly. Responding to dozens of reader comments made over time on all of them isn't practical. We just say everything we have to say in each editorial or column, then stand aside and let readers have their say. We don't make or reply to comments on them.

However, my Tell the Editor blog is now the one easily accessible open door for readers to engage me in conversation about our news and opinion pages, and anything else. I welcome you to use it. There's no way I can miss seeing a comment sent to Tell the Editor.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What's this all about?

Today brings this first entry in The Morning Journal's new Tell the Editor blog.
What's this all about, you ask? This is my effort, as Editor of The Morning Journal, to engage readers in a continuing discussion. The talk will focus on the local news and opinion delivered daily in print and online at I hope the discussion will lead to improvements in our neighborhoods and in this newspaper and its Web site.

That's about it. Whatever is on your mind, please tell me, the editor.

I'll do my best to listen and respond. I've always been happy to do just that, but until now those conversations have been in person, by phone or e-mail. Views also have been expressed through your letters to the editor, and through the newspaper's daily "Our View" editorials and "The Editor's Column" which appears in the Opinion section on Sundays.

Now, this public blog lets others in on the questions and answers that, in the past, might only have been delivered one-on-one. Opening up the conversation will, I hope, help me and my staff to get a better grasp of what's on our readers' minds and help us all make this a better newspaper and a better community.

Let's talk.