Last week, the J-school at Ohio University brought in as a guest Mary Lou Montgomery, editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post. In July 2006, the Courier-Post launched an intiative to reduce its use of wire copy and replace it with content contributed by the community, and to increase total local content so that two out of three headlines are local (some weeks, the ratio gets up to four out of five headlines are local). Montgomery credits the initiative, called "Putting the Community back in the Newspaper," for the newspaper's first circulation gain in five years, as well as dramatic increases in Web-page views, community support for the newspaper, and newsroom morale.
One of the best parts of Mary Lou's visit was the many interactions she had with students. On her blog, Montgomery listed some of the questions she fielded, along with her responses.