Community Journalism Online news

A lesson from Walla Walla: it’s all about people

If you want to see the potential of your web product to draw in readers (and therefore advertisers), check out this project from a rural newspaper in Washington State, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. It’s basically stories and slideshows profiling Walla Walla residents. When you go to the site, click on the “About the Project” link to get the background on what they’re doing. Katrina Barlow of the Union-Bulletin explains it in this way: “Last year, I fell in love with a New York Times multimedia series called ‘One in 8 Million.’ Each weekly episode featured an everyday New Yorker, who shared something about his or her occupation or lifestyle. I realized that characters like those New Yorkers, who were so full of charisma and verve, lived in rural areas. The Walla Walla Valley is full of people who have remarkable stories. This is our attempt to highlight these untold stories.”

By Kathryn Jones Malone

Kathryn Jones Malone is co-director of the Texas Center for Community Journalism. She began her career as a staff writer at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, then worked as a staff writer for the Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News; as a contract writer for The New York Times; as a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly magazine; as editor of the Glen Rose Reporter; and as a freelance writer for numerous state, regional and national magazines. She teaches journalism at Tarleton State University.