I have CNN, ESPN and the New York Times for a reason…

Local, local, local.

It always amazes me when college journalists — especially those at weeklies — pitch national stories. Their paper doesn’t have the resources, personnel and photographic access to cover things like the presidential election.

Should they just ignore it? Maybe not.

Localize it.

So, let’s think about the presidential election story. How do we give it proximity?

Well, we could do a story about efforts and initiatives from the university’s student Republican and Democratic organizations. We could do a “man on the street” with comments and mug shots of students. We could look at how candidates’ positions would affect financial aid.

One of my favorites is sports. Sportswriters always want to dream big. Guys, you ain’t Joe Posnanski yet.

You want to write about the World Series? Fine. Make it relevant to your publics. In 1985, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals squared off in the Series. The I-70 Series polarized the state.

College papers didn’t try to compete with the big boys. They fought where they could win. On campus. Fraternity houses and dorms with lines drawn down the middle of rooms and hallways. Brother against brother. And those angles worked.

Think like that.

The recent violence at U.S. embassies is a good example. You aren’t the New York Times. But you can provide context. How about getting a Muslim student and a Christian student in a room and talking about the tension?

Remember your publics. Tailor your news choices accordingly. And reach high, but reach right.

And reach local.


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