Thursday, September 13, 2007

How is your local news zoned?

A director at a local non-profit organization asked me a common question today: Does her news release get in both editions of the Herald?

The answer: Yes, with a footnote: It might appear on different pages, with a slightly different "look" or headline.

We have two editions: the Bradenton Herald and Lakewood Ranch Herald. That allows us to tailor our local news presentation better for readers in different areas of Manatee County. Readers of the Bradenton Herald will see more front-page news about North Manatee, Bradenton, the islands, Palmetto and other areas. In Lakewood Ranch, readers will find the same stories, but they sometimes are in the Local section. Their front page will feature more about the Lakewood Ranch area.

Today’s front pages are a good example of different story play.

The Bradenton Herald has a centerpiece story following the tragic helicopter crash in the Gulf. And Vin Mannix wrote a story celebrating the 60th anniversary of Manatee High School’s Sugar Canes.

The Lakewood Ranch Herald’s centerpiece features the great fun Braden River Middle School students had when knights actually appeared on horseback. The helicopter saga is also on the page, just a bit lower. And the Sugar Canes’ story is in the local section.

The other stories appear in both editions: Reporter Sylvia Lim’s exclusive story on how a Florida Supreme Court ruling could affect how local governments can pay for development projects; Washington Reporter Lesley Clark’s story about our local representatives’ reactions to the latest developments on troops in Iraq; and Miami’s Martin Merzer weighing in on those pesky storms brewing out there.

-- Joan Krauter

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