Bill Miller Sr. has done it all – over and over again

By PATTY LOUISE / Through his career from sports editor to editor and publisher, Miller covered every beat at the paper. “Train derailments, crashes, tornadoes … One of the advantages of a small paper is you have a wide variety of news events you get to cover. A large daily gives a reporter just a narrow patch to learn.’’ Large daily newspapers, especially those owned by chains, have done more damage than anything else to journalism, Miller said. “Editors are in and out. Nobody puts down roots because they’re aiming for the next big jump. “The bottom line is all they care about. Hell, if I was interested in the bottom line I’d be in another line of business.’’

Community newspapers surviving – and thriving

By PAT LOUISE / Twenty-nine years ago the Woodstock Sentinel, the daily newspaper in Woodstock, Illinois, merged with another daily, leaving the city of 25,000 an hour north of Chicago without its own newspaper. At the time, Cheryl Wormley and a friend worked for the local school district. Neither had any journalism experience. Still, they quit their jobs, took second mortgages on their homes and launched a weekly newspaper, the Woodstock Independent, in April 1987. Where a daily failed, a weekly succeeded. And across the country, the story of the Independent follows a pattern repeated by community weekly newspapers: They not only survive but thrive. While the constant retreat of large daily newspapers in coverage, content and circulation creates a belief that newspapers no longer matter and journalism is dying, community papers continue to be a solid presence in their communities.

National media overkill

There is a perverse appeal among journalists for exceptionally bad news, for the latest big scare story. Ferguson elevated to the status of media storm when the national media’s spotlight both validated the story’s importance and influenced the events. Local media can feel overwhelmed and a bit shocked by the sudden and intensive presence of out-of-town reporters and camera crews and producers, who sometimes run rather roughshod over local sensibilities.

Monumental muckups memorialized

BY PAT LOUISE / When former New York Times Executive Editor Abraham “A.M.” Rosenthal died in May 2006, his obituary lauded his numerous accomplishments during his 56 years at the newspaper. He had won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting and led the paper through coverage of the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers. He also was credited as initiating the now industry standard practice of running corrections in a fixed spot for readers to find. The New York Times chose Page 2 for its corrections, and many newspapers followed. He and the Times began the practice in 1972.

Mistakes happen, but how do we tell the readers?

by Patty Louise / When the NFL opened its season in early Sep­tember, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning grabbed much of the attention when he guided his team to a win over Baltimore by throwing a record-tying seven touchdown passes. The next day, though, it was the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch that captured headlines over its own headline about the game.

Experts: Workplace violence catches media unaware

Fatal workplace violence incidents have their roots in 1986, when a series of shootings at post offices around the country spawned the phrase “going postal.” In this preview of a full story in the upcoming Gateway Journalism Review, writer Pat Louise highlights one such workplace violence incident that garnered national media attention.

ESPN refusing to fix its Fine mess

Lord Alistair McAlpine endured eight days of being known throughout the United Kingdom as the man who sexually abused Steve Messham in North Wales several years ago, before the British Broadcasting Corp. investigative show “Newsnight” issued an apology to McAlpine. Former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine’s own name-clearing one week ago came nowhere close to the attention given the accusations a year ago he sexually molested SU ball boys.

And now for something completely different: Times-Picayune forges transition path

In May the owners of the award-winning New Orleans Times-Picayune announced they were redefining the way newspapers transitioned into the next life. Rather than die a slow and (to the Newhouse family) costly death, the T-P — which actually still made money as a newspaper — would instead commit print suicide by putting a newspaper in subscribers’ mailboxes just three days a week.