Ask the Editor: How we get stories from other papers

The Tribune has hundreds of articles to choose from each day from around the world

sduerr@thetribunenews.comNovember 22, 2009 

Q: Some instant feedback on the Charles Rush column in your “Central Coast Living” section Sunday (Nov. 15) ... wonderful! It was written beautifully and is so appropriate to these times. This first-person account of his soldier son completely absorbed my imagination and empathy. Which makes me ask ... how do you select columns like this to print in The Tribune? Does your staff read the New York Times, for example, every day and select articles/columns they think would be of interest to your readers? Or does the NYT just “feed” you what they want you to print? Or???

— Robert Olson, Arroyo Grande

A: I’m delighted that you enjoyed this particular column. I’ve heard from several readers who found it especially heartfelt and timely. To answer your questions:

No, we don’t read the New York Times, Los Angeles Times or other newspapers in order to select stories to publish in our newspaper or on our Web site. Nor do the NYT or other wire services “feed’’ us the stories they want us to print.

Rather, we subscribe to multiple wire services that provide hundreds of stories daily — the McClatchy-Tribune News Service (McClatchy newspapers such as ours and dozens of others provide stories for this wire), the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service and the New York Times News Service, as well as the Associated Press.

We select stories based on the news of the day, analyses and angles that we believe add more information than readers might receive online or on TV, plus stories that focus on subjects that matter to local residents, such as the environment, health, the military and land-use issues.

I saw the minister’s column in scanning through our wires looking for a story to run in Central Coast Living, our Sunday features section. I found the column moving and believed our readers would feel similarly. Your e-mail and comments from others have reinforced that hunch.

Q: In your June 28 travel section titled “Get to the heart of ancient Seoul” you recommended several different places to stay. We just returned from Seoul and really enjoyed the Tea Guest House a charming traditional house. Thanks for your great travel section.

— Roy and Dianne Case, Atascadero

A: You’re most welcome. In selecting travel stories, we look for appealing cities and regions within California, as well as our nation and abroad, keeping in mind readers’ varying budgets and interests.

Do you have a question about our news decisions or news operation? Please write to me c/o The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93406-0112, or e-mail me at sduerr@thetribunenews.com.

Sandra Duerr is the executive editor of The Tribune.

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