Editor and Publisher has been handing out the accolades of late, culling from the nation's papers their "10 That Do It Right," which they describe as "a hat tip to a variety of publications which have, through excellence or innovation, shown the way in one area or another, such as news coverage, circulation, design, diversity or online."
Yesterday, E&P recognized the work of the Roanoke Times, who found themselves at the center of a national tragedy this past April 16th, when a gunman at nearby Virginia Polytechnic Institute went on a deadly killing spree. The Roanoke Times led from the ground on that day and the weeks to come. As E&P puts it: "The Roanoke Times realized it was an event of national importance. But it knew the community depended on the local paper for up-to-the-minute, sobering insight." The Times made great use of their Web site, rapidly responding to events and keeping their local constituency as informed as possible. And, as far as their lasting impact, it seemed like the most indelible of the images that came out on that horrible day were taken by RT photographer Alan Kim.
It was truly great, textbook work in the face of trying circumstances, and E&P is on the money in giving the paper some recognition. Soberly, however, we should note that despite having distinguished themselves on the national level, the Roanoke Times hasn't been able to escape the economic downturn that's affected print media in general. Earlier this month, the paper announced that they would begin seeking staff reductions through buyout packages--on top of 27 positions either frozen or cut outright. It's a pity that this bad economic news hits the Times so soon after shining in the spotlight. But that's the state of the industry for you.
Previously, on Eat The Press
Virginia Tech: How They Covered It
Virginia Tech: Non-Traditional Content at the Eye of the Storm