October 01, 2008

Another metro veteran finds success in CJ

Earlier this year, I talked to a reporter for a New Jersey political Web site about where veteran metro journalists are going after they are laid off or take buyouts from big-city newspapers. Some go to work for politicians or large organizations to do PR, I noted, but one option a few are embracing is moving to small and/or rural communities to take over or start community media.

Poynter's Sara Quinn recently wrote about just such a person, Jim Denk, who was a news design specialist for a number of large newspapers (Wichita Eagle, Asbury Park Press, Detroit Free Press, and the Charlotte Observer) before he and his wife, Janet, bought the 11,000 circulation weekly Record in Matthews, N.C. Jim and Janet run the newspaper with a handful of part-time employees, and told Quinn that they enjoy the "doing it all" aspects of publishing a community weekly.

Quinn is a design specialist at Poynter, so naturally her profile of the Denks focused mostly on how they use high-end visual journalism to serve the community and to showcase the kind of news and information that is so common to community journalism – intensely local concerns. Denk has used visuals to tell compelling stories about poorly design sidewalks, wildlife that live in and around the community, even the passing of a pet rooster that was a fixture in a local hardware store. And, of course, the ads – Denk puts just as much effort into custom-designed ads for the businesses of his community.

Read the profile, and see some samples of excellent community-journalism design work, at http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=47&aid=151124

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