Over the years, I’ve witnessed this scene many times: A reporter, starting a phone interview, says: “Hi, I’m a reporter from the Anywhere Tribune. There’s a story in today’s edition of the Big City Star, I’m not sure if you’ve seen it. I’m doing a story for the Anywhere Tribune.”
Unfortunately, this can be a common opening line for reporters in small markets. It’s almost like insecurities force some reporters to justify to the public why he/she is doing a story by mentioning the Big City Star. “Hey, if I mention a real newspaper they’ll think the story is important!” a reporter might think.
Remember, your newspaper is important. In fact, a small-market newspaper is arguably more important to its community than a big city paper. Your readers share a unique closeness with you. They seldom have local radio or TV news to fall back on. You’re it for local news. Next time you’re on the phone, forget the Big City Star. Make it clear: You’re from the Anywhere Tribune and you’re working on a story that’s of interest to your community