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May 31, 2011
Advice From, and To, the Media Boondocks
 
Surfing the Web in search of insights for Flack Me is a fascinating exercise, like having a global newsstand. The Web is a great equalizer — good content from anywhere is appreciated, whether it's from New York, Chicago or Klamath, Oregon. Yes, Steve Miller, editor of the Herald and News in Klamath has some pertinent things to say about media relations, but he and, we fear, many editors like him don't necessarily realize they're on a world stage on the Web. First, Steve's public relations advice:

"Don't expect someone to lie for you...The first time it comes up, you should take some deep breaths and have a serious sit-down — you shouldn't do anything else until it's resolved, because it will never happen just once. It should be part of the hiring agreement discussion: absolutely no lies."

"Get all you can get out of whatever you've got that's true. That's why I'm ending this here...I believe I can string this out and get a few more columns out of this topic before I have to resort to lying."

Between these polar principles, Steve has other media relations insights that apply in any hamlet or metropolis the world over.  The thing is, though, when you happen upon a website like that of the Herald and News, you naturally wonder where the paper is located, and you often can't readily discover its setting. Many newspaper websites seem posted for a paper's local readers, as though everybody knows everybody else, and the idea of being on something called the Internet, with access from anywhere, doesn't seem to register. News or views are rooted in places, and we always like to know where we are in appraising information. Anyone would, whether on Main St. or the Web.

To discover the Herald and News' location, one needs to go to the site's "About Us" menu and scroll all the way to the bottom — past Circulation, Household Penetration, Deadlines, Mechanical Measurements, Co-Op Advertising, Special Days/Focus Pages/Features, Special Services, Pre-Print Advertising and ad rate information and, finally, there's a text profile of Klamath Falls, Oregon, which reveals that it's on the east bank of the Link River and was originally named Linkville, then Klamath and, in 1893, Klamath Falls. It's apparently Oregon's fourth largest city and is near Crater Lake, but where in Oregon isn't actually stated.

We don't want to overdo this, because we're sure newsprint readers and advertisers of the Herald and News know where the paper is based. But those of us stopping by from the Web could use an "up top" locational reference, on this and other local newspaper websites we've visited.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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