Talking proud about what we do

Presentation offers new ideas to promote value of newspaper

How to better promote the value of newspapers to readers was one of the main topics of the most recent Labor-Management Committee meeting between members of the Guild and News management.

The LMC, which met April 15, was formed so both sides could exchange ideas on how to improve the paper’s future.

The meeting featured reporter Dan Herbeck, who gave a presentation on ways The News can be more aggressive about reminding the public that newspapers are important, valuable and still viable in today’s world.

“Buffalo News reporters are on the streets every day, asking questions for our readers and digging up stories that would never be made public without us,” he said.

“I’m proud of the news, sports and lifestyles coverage we give readers on a daily basis, as the only real provider of regular in-depth coverage in Western New York. I’m also proud of the in-depth investigations we do, uncovering injustices, waste and corrupt affairs that our readers would never have heard about otherwise,” he said.

Herbeck worked on the plan over the past year with the Buffalo Newspaper Guild’s Mobilization Committee, which is chaired by Sandy Tan, a reporter and vice president of mobilization on the Guild Executive Committee.

The basic premise of the presentation was that daily papers, including The News, turn up information that is helpful to people in their daily lives.

Among the recommendations:

* Start a website or, possibly, a new feature of our current News website, called The Buffalo News Matters to remind readers of some of our best recent stories with links to the stories.

* Begin a billboard and bumper sticker campaign around the same theme, putting forward a message that a strong daily newspaper is more important than it ever has been.

* Be more proactive about News staffers making appearances on radio and television shows. Look at the appearances as great opportunities for free advertising for the newspaper.

* Create a speakers bureau and an experts list for use by other media, schools and community groups.

Herbeck stressed that the suggestions were meant as additions – and not criticism of — The News’ promotions department or the Newspaper in Education program, both of which he praised.

He also said Margaret Sullivan, editor of The News, does an excellent job of using her Sunday column to tell readers about the good things the newspaper does and the challenges the profession faces.

“These are starting points,” Herbeck said. “We are anxious and willing to work with management on ways we can get our story out to the community. We have much to be proud of at The News, and I’d like to see us make a stronger push to get the word out.”