A newspaper reads its customers' needs

News decisions and story display are as numerous as the people and the news organizations that make them.


There are differing opinions, principles and judgments made at every newspaper in the world.

Except for the big newspapers with a national following – The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal – most newspapers across America have a very local presence on their front pages every day.

Geography is king, and stories of local import or interest take center stage.

But when news, holidays and anniversaries come about, decisions and front pages tend to look as though they are directions from the same play.

Friday’s coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela is a great example of this. The Newseum – a museum of news in Washington, D.C., has a Web site that displays the daily front pages from newspapers around the world. (It is at www.newseum.org, then click on the “Today’s Front Pages” link).

Not every one of Fri­day’s newspapers had Mandela’s death on its front page – but hundreds across our country had it as their main photo and centerpiece, like your Augusta Chronicle.

Others had it as the main story or as a promo. Nearly every one had it “above the fold” – newspaper speak for the top half of the front page and a longtime signal for this is what we think is important.

Maybe all the newspapers played the story that way because all the news editors in America have been trained to think the same way about the news.

But I think it is more a reflection of you, the reader, and our professional lives spent hearing from you on what you think is important.

News. Anniversaries. Holidays.

They bind us together as a nation, with the newspaper as the thread.

For example, today is Pearl Harbor Day, and, as such, will live in infamy. It is among certain anniversaries that we commemorate as historical events.

When we do not have a story in the paper about the day, you express your disappointment in very vocal ways.

Holidays are the same way. And it is not enough sometimes to just have a story in the paper. You want it on the front page – as several of you called in to tell us after Veterans Day. We had a big Sunday package the day before on the front page. We covered the memorials and ran pictures and stories Nov. 12. But the lack of a front-page story on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, drew the ire of some readers.

News. Anniversaries. Holidays. Connectors of our community.

And speaking of holidays, Christmas is coming.

With six fewer shopping days after Thanksgiving this year, we have the perfect gift for someone with an iPad, smartphone or computer. It is a digital subscription to The Augusta Chronicle.

Help a loved one be as informed about their community as you are. Go to augustachronicle.com for details.