Category Archives: Localize It!

This section offers tips to reporters and editors on how to localize regional, national and world stories that are making headlines.

Localize It: Get local reaction from residents, Catholic leaders on selection of new Pope

CNN reports that the Cardinals have selected a new Pope to lead the Catholic Church Wednesday.

Get local reaction for your print and digital editions from your readers, and local Catholic community leaders. Use your social media tools to get instant feedback on the selection, and interact with those who post.

Localize this national story. Get the national details here.

Here is an example of what you can do with Storify on your website:

Get local reaction to President Obama’s announcement today on assault weapons ban, universal background checks for gun sales

From CNN: President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed background checks on all gun sales and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as part of a package of steps to reduce gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school massacre last month.

With relatives of some of the 20 children killed in the Connecticut rampage looking on, Obama signed 23 executive actions that don’t require congressional approval that he said would strengthen background checks and expand safety programs in schools.

He also called on Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds, and to require a background check on anyone buying a gun, whether at a store or in a private sale at an auction or convention.

Obama proposed legislative steps he previously has backed, such as reinstating the Clinton-era ban on assault weapons, and also requested that funds be made available to help treat mental illness and provide schools with support to enhance their safety.

To view the president’s plan, click this link:

To the newsrooms of ACM, this is a great opportunity to begin the debate in your communities on where they stand on the issue of gun control. Today, we urge you to localize this story if you are not already, getting feedback from your local legislators, NRA supporters, city and school officials, gun shop owners and hunters. Use your social media tools to get instant feedback on this story from readers. If you are an AP member, post the story to your website, and then post a link to the story on your social media sites and ask for reaction.

Publish that reaction in print tomorrow.

But, what if you took it a step further? This legislation and this topic will affect nearly all communities ACM serves. Consider putting together a special report series on the topic as soon as possible. Here are some story subjects that could be included in the story. I am sure you will come up with your own that will be market-specific as well:

1) School safety: Profile what your local school districts are doing to keep students safe in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy. Have they increased their school resource officer program? Are they considering arming teachers or administrators?

2) Local gun sales: Talk with gun-store owners on their view of the national dialogue involving gun sales and gun use. What steps do they take to do background checks? Is it enough? Is it too much? Are they concerned the national dialogue on gun safety is hurting business?

3) The mental factor: Much has been made on the mental instability of those who have committed gun crimes. Talk with a local mental health professional on what they see as the issues on this topic. Are violent movies, video games and TV shows having a negative affect on our children and society? Do they believe there should be stricter mental health screening for those purchasing guns and ammo? How are they trying to help their community in light of what is taking place on the national stage?

4) The sportsman: Talk with local hunters and gun sportsman about gun safety. Talk about the traditions that surround gun use in this country when it comes to hunting and sports. Interview those who may frequent any local gun ranges in your area. Interview instructors are gun safety classes.

5) Law enforcement: What does your local police chief or sheriff think of the national dialogue? Do they see stricter gun laws and screening as a factor in reducing the number of violent, gun crimes in your region? What are the crime stats in your city and county? Up or down when involving a firearm?

Folks, these are just five ideas stories that could be involved in a series. I bet you could come up with more.

There is no question this is a major topic of discussion around water coolers, kitchen tables and diners in your market.

Let’s turn a local eye on this issue.

Localize It: Unemployment rate dips to 8.6% on the national level — what is it in your county, region or state?

It was announced this morning that the national unemployment rate dipped to 8.6% in November, making it the lowest percentage since March 2009.

The bigger question is, what is the unemployment rate in the counties, regions or states where our ACM newspaper and website readers reside? This is a great opportunity to localize this national story. Talk to your local unemployment centers, temp employment services or even folks who are struggling to find unemployment. How do you find the unemployed? Use your newspaper’s Facebook or Twitter accounts to crowdsource for contacts, asking a simple question, “The Athens Messenger is working on a story on the local unemployment rate, and is wanting to interview someone currently seeking employment and having a hard time landing a job. Do you know someone who is willing to be interviewed?”

For a look at national coverage of the unemployment rate dip, see this link:

Localize It! Texas newspapers should contact local fire departments to see if they are assisting with wildfires near Austin

This photo provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife shows a fire burning in Bastrop State Park in Bastrop, Texas. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed in at least 57 wildfires across rain-starved Texas, most of them in one devastating blaze near Austin that is still raging out of control, officials said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, ACM Newsroom suggests our editors and reporters at our Texas newspapers contact their local fire departments to see if they have any firefighters assisting with the wildfires raging in Austin, Texas, Tuesday.

This would be a great way to localize this now national story.

If your town doesn’t have a firefighter or two battling the blazes, another way to localize this story is interviewing your fire chiefs about the potential wildfire dangers in our community, and how people can protect their property from falling victim to such a tragedy.

Even if this story has been done prior to this event near Austin, a reminder still works in this case because of the impact these fires will have on the state. If not a full story or sidebar, consider a breakout box with informational bulletpoints.

Remember, providing a local feature or sidebar to a state or national story is a great way to improve readership!

For a link to the national story on the Texas wildfires, click this link:

Localize It! ACM newspapers react to earthquake on east coast

ACM’s newspapers and websites in our Chesapeake, Maryland and Ohio regions reacted quickly to the national news story of a 5.9 scale earthquake on the East Coast with news bulletins online and video reports on local angles.

Here are links to stories filed by the staff of the Star-Democrat, located in Easton, Md.

• Video report on college campus closing due to earthquake: 

Here are links to stories filed by the staff of the Cecil Whig, located in Elkton, Md.

• Patrons at local hair salon react to earthquake tremors:

• Health Dept. building closes; first day of school canceled due to quake

 Video of resident reaction in Elkton, MD: 

• Eyewitness accounts of earthquake in Maryland:

Earthquake damages building in Elkton, MD:

 Here are links to content posted by the Newark (Del.) Post

• Earthquake strongest felt in Delaware since 19th century:

Localize it! What are your readers worried about as the stock market opens today?

There could be some unsettled stomachs and fringed nerves today as the U.S. Stock Market opens after the country’s credit rating was downgraded over the weekend.

Yes, this is a national story, but it could have local implications.

Here are 3 ways you could localize this story for your print or digital editions:

1) Talk to a local banker about how the downgrade of the U.S. economy could affect local lending and interest rates. Could the recent news continue to hamper loan lending?

2) Talk to local realtors or car dealers about whether they are concerned with how the news of the U.S. economy could affect big ticket sales, such as homes and cars. If they were seeing a recent uptick in sales in recent months, are they worried this could hamper that growth?

3) Of course, your local stock brokers will be watching the markets closely today, but maybe they could take 10 minutes to answer questions on their concerns and what they suggest local citizens do with their investments in the days and weeks to follow.

For more information on the details of the U.S. economy downgrade, see this link from