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News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Two great papers

Today's Morning Sun notes that the newspaper has, for the second straight year, been named the Michigan Press Association's newspaper of the year for its circulation class.
The other daily newspapers of the year are the Detroit Free Press, the Jackson Citizen-Patriot and the Traverse City Record-Eagle. That's some really great company.
What also was released today was that the other paper in town - Central Michigan Life, the CMU student-run paper - was awarded the General Excellence award for large-college newspapers by the MPA and the Michigan Collegiate Press Association. Life beat out the papers at Michigan and Michigan State, among others, for this honor.
In other words, mid-Michigan has not just one, but two top-quality newspapers.
That's not just us saying that - independent professionals from outside the state judge these contests.
What's all the more remarkable is that these two papers are operating successfully in a community of about 40,000 people.
CM Life and the Morning Sun serve different communities, of course. But any good publication reflects the community it serves, and it's clear that both publications do exactly that.
We compete, of course, for news and advertising dollars, and that makes both publications better. But there's actually a lot of connection between the two.
Looking around the Sun's newsroom, there are numerous ex-Lifers, including me. Both the current Life adviser, Neil Hopp, and the previous adviser, Jim Wojcik, edited the Daily Times-News, the predecessor of the Morning Sun.
Two current Sun staffers are adjunct faculty members in the CMU journalism department - I'm one of them - and a third often picks up a class when necessary. CM Life operates independently of the journalism department, but many journalism students work for Life - and their offices are on the same floor of Moore Hall as the J-Department.
I looked over the list of the 49 individual and category honorees from CM Life, and found about a half-dozen students who have been in my classes. I also looked over the list of professional winners and found another half-dozen or so whom I taught before they graduated.
It's such a great feeling to be able to say, "They're one of mine."
It might be tough times in the newspaper industry, but a major need of every community is to have its stories told. That's what we do, and even though the landscape and media are changing, we're continuing to figure out how to make money doing it.
Meanwhile, my colleagues and I will continue to tell the stories of mid-Michigan, and try to do it better than those top-notch student journalists on the other end of town - the ones we teach how to do it.
It's also worth noting that two of our sister weekly newspapers were named Newspapers of the Year for their categories. The Southgate News Herald was honored as best large weekly, and the Chelsea Standard as best small weekly.
All three of us are owned by Journal Register Co. - the only chain with more than one newspaper honored this year.


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