Blogs > Tell the Editor

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Get the picture? Share it with everyone

Today, The Morning Journal rolled out its new Olapic photo-sharing feature that lets readers share pictures in galleries on our website,
A few photos, like the one here,  are already posted in the galleries called Pets and Favorite Places.

You can share your photos with us, and we'll share our photos with you too in the galleries which will grow in size, number and variety as more photos are received.
All submitted photos are moderated by us before they are posted into a gallery. And we can create galleries for all kinds of things, as you like: news, sports, prom photos, Memorial Day event pictures, weather pictures, cute children pictures ... the list is virtually endless, so don't be shy about sending photos and making suggestions about galleries.
In fact, we've already got galleries waiting for you to share your prom photos and your Memorial Day weekend photos -- and you can be the first to put pictures into them. Here's a peek at our initial photo galleries.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Presenting unpleasant realities in the news

 Below are a couple of comments we received on Facebook in reaction to the photo, above, of Travis Stidham spotlighted by a police helicopter, holding  a gun to his head just before he fatally shot himeself, ending the manhunt that began when he shot and wounded Lorain County Sheriff's Deputy Charles Crausaz on Dec. 12.  

Presenting unpelasant realities in the news often draws complaints from some readers. Below the complaints is the response I provided, explaining how we look at the question.

What's your opinion on how unpleasant news should be presented in the newspaper and online, or not presented. Click the red "Comment" link below this post to have your say.  -- Tom Skoch, Editor

I find it very unnessary to have a picture on the front page of Travis with a gun to his head. Don't you think his family and friends are going through enough as it is? Then to look at the paper this morning to see that. Little kids look and read the news papers. How would you feel if your child came to you at a young age and asked what that man in the paper is doing? I knew Travis not very well and I still don't like seeing this when I look at the paper and see that slideshow. Very unnessary!!! Rude thats all it
Melody Fox-Gallam very un caring and should be done differently.

    • The Morning Journal
      Our task is to report accurately on life, pleasant and unpleasant, so readers can have a better understanding of the world they live in daily. The photo shows the intensity of the manhunt, it helps to verify the police account of what happened, it shows why so many people in the area of the incident were frightened. It also captures the state Travis Stidham was in at the moment. It simply presents the facts of this incident. People can use this photographic knowledge to assess what happened, and maybe draw lessons from it that are helpful. We would do the community a disservice by hiding unpleasant realities from the public. Presenting facts for the public's benefit is our job. Deciding what children should see or not see is for individual parents to decide.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New ways of telling news stories shine in manhunt drama

What you just read above is a running account of the shooting of a deputy, the manhunt for the suspect and its aftermath, all pulled together from Twitter with Storify. The tweets were from my own Twitter account and mirrored those we sent on The Morning Journal's Twitter account @MorningJournal. They offer facts and link to more-complete news stories online.
The use of newer tools like Twitter and Storify, Facebook and updates on the web and by text alert are all part of The Morning Journal's digital first method of news coverage.
The shooting of Lorain County Deputy Charles Crausaz on Monday night, followed by an intense manhunt that ended with suspect Travis Stidham killing himself as lawmen closed in was a story that unfolded over about 90 minutes.
When the first call of an officer being shot came across the police scanner, the newsroom quickly shifted gears to focus on the breaking story.
Veteran photographer Jim Bobel headed for the LaGrange Township area where the drama was taking place.
Reporter Rick Payerchin turned from writing about Lorain City Hall to monitoring the police scanner and working the phone to reach out to authorities and people in the area for information.
Reporter Allison Strouse returned from covering an Avon Lake City Council meeting and headed toward LaGrange to gather facts.
Bit by bit as the facts came in, we put out the word on as well as by SMS text alert, Twitter and Facebook. We reached out to online readers on Facebook for information and they also began reacting to the story as it was taking place.
Jim Bobel's photo shows suspect Travis Stidham, spotlighted by a police helicopter, before shooting himself.
Payerchin got information from the scanner and from frightened residents in the neighborhood where the manhunt took place.
Strouse talked with investigators in LaGrange about the shooting and manhunt and got video of a briefing by the sheriff.
Bobel scored a news coup by being in the right place at the right time. Seeing the police helicopter in the sky, he drove toward it and came upon the suspect running in a field, gun to his head, and spotlighted by the helicopter's search beam.
Bobel got photos of that dramatic image, and seconds later, the suspect shot himself in the head.
Phoning in to tell me what he had seen and photographed, Bobel then had to wait to be interviewed by investigators before he returned to the newsroom and his powerful photos were added to the story online. The photos will appear in print with followup coverage.
The next afternoon Payerchin and photographer Anna Norris teamed up to bring readers live streaming video of the investigators' news conference with the latest on the continuing story, as it was happening.
The human tragedy is as old as humanity.
The basic reporting principles of getting the facts fast and accurately is traditional.
But the new digital tools and techniques available today, enable us to bring readers the story as it develops, and as they react and even help offer what they know.
Digital first journalism is what we live and breathe at and The Morning Journal, and we invite you to join us in the daily adventure.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Competition brings out the "best" performance

We announced this 2011 Best Daily Newspaper in Ohio under 100,000 circulation award we won awhile ago, but just picked it up Saturday at the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists awards ceremony at Windows on the River in downtown Cleveland. It's a plate of etched glass.
The Morning Journal also won first place for Best Website for newspapers under 100K circulation and took second place in Page One Design. 

That says a lot about the value of competition. This was a statewide contest, and the top two small newspapers in Ohio are both in Lorain County, where the competition is fierce.

The Ohio SPJ contest is a joint project of the SPJ chapters in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

This year's judging was done by journalists in the Chicago, Philadelphia, Florida, and Washington, D.C. areas as well as SPJ Regions that span the middle of the country.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thanks to our readers who engage, inform and motivate us!

The Morning Journal won first place as the Best Daily Newspaper in Ohio under 100,000 circulation in the 2011 Ohio SPJ Awards competition. The website,, also won first place for Best Web Site.
The newspaper also won second-place for Best Page One Design.
The annual statewide journalism competition is sponsored by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists chapters in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.
Winners will receive the awards on Oct. 22 in ceremonies at Windows on the River in downtown Cleveland.
Earlier this year, in The Cleveland Press Club’s Ohio Excellence in Journalism competition, The Morning Journal tied for first place as best daily newspaper in Ohio of 100,000 or less circulation with its sister newspaper, The News-Herald in Lake County, and won second place for best website.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Being Mom2Amara newest blog in Community Media Lab

Monina Wagner, Mom2Amara
The lineup of blogs in The Morning Journal's Community Media Lab now features Being Mom2Amara by Monina Wagner of Avon.

What's it all about? Here's how she describes it: "Self proclaimed extraordinary mom. Mediocre homemaker. Wannabe runner. Life long Clevelander. And proud member of the 2011 Walt Disney World Moms Panel."

Mo posts frequently, so be sure to check back an see what's new with Being Mom2Amara.

If you have a blog, or would like to start one and become part of The Community Media Lab, just contact me at  Don't worry if you haven't got a blog started yet. We can help you create it and teach you how to operate it. Blogging is simple and fun.

Blogs can be about all sorts of topics. We're especially looking for bloggers who would like to write about what's going on in their cities, their neighborhoods, or clubs.

Blogs also can be about anything from block watch groups to church groups.

Hobbies also can be a great blog topic of interest to like-minded people.

The field of interests is wide open, and there's plenty of room in The Community Media Lab.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New fashion blog debuts in Community Media Lab

Patricia Maristch, Fashion Penn Pal
Check out the new Fashion Penn Pal blog in the Community Media Lab. Fashion-obsessed blogger Patricia Maristch calls her blog "the fashionista's 'partner in crime' and a guiding hand to the fashion-challenged."  She loves fashion, and she loves shopping, and if that's your passion too, then you have a new Fashion Penn Pal.

The Commuity Media Lab also has a wide array of other blogs to catch your interest. Suzan Smith presents Politics are Personal. Jim Brooks offers personalized punditry that's Outside the Lines. Dan Brady takes a fascinating look back at local history in Brady's Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia.

There's more too: Inspiration, recipes, humor, Great Lakes living issues and Cleveland Browns talk in the Blawg Pound.

New local bloggers are welcome in the Community Media Lab, as are established bloggers. Just contact Tom Skoch, editor, at tskoch Our staff can help you get a blog set up and running and provide guidance as you grow.

A blog is a great way to connect with the community and let people know all about what's going on in your neighborhood, city, school or church organizations. Blogs can also connect with others who share your  hobby interests, for example.

The Morning Journal's Community Media Lab is here to help bring it all together for you.