Sarasota News Leader

03/22/2013

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My colleagues often chide me that I tend to run on a bit too long in this space each week. Taking that into advisement, I will try to keep this missive a bit shorter. Once again, this week was chock-a-block full of meetings ��� the City and County commissions and the School Board all tackled some pretty serious issues. Therefore, once again, it was our staff���s job to try to figure out what would be of most interest ��� and most importance ��� to you as a reader and/or as a resident of Sarasota County. Regarding both the city and county boards this week, a number of topics were recurring ones. They pose an additional challenge to a reporter. How much background should we include? When I took journalism classes and worked as an intern more than 30 years ago, the rule of thumb I learned was that a reporter covering a continuing issue should include enough of the back story in every article so a first-time reader would not be lost trying to figure out what was going on. Our general goal is to put as much new information at the top of a story as possible, so as not to discourage a regular reader. Sometimes, though, we need to find a way to weave in more background early on, just because we believe we should remind you of certain context, so you can comprehend the full impact of the latest details. Sometimes we might include a tidbit in the back story that you had forgotten, which will open a new avenue of thinking for you as you go through the article. The better you understand all the parameters of an issue, the better a citizen you can be. As always, we always enjoy hearing from you about how we are doing. Do not ever hesitate to comment! Editor and Publisher

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