Reporter: ‘Stories on selfies have their place, but not on my front page’

Civitas Media, owner of 35 daily newspapers, regularly publishes major collaborative projects. It ran an Obamacare package in its papers in late 2013, and a heroin three-parter in March.
Next up for Civitas: “Selfies.”

At least one of the chain’s journalists isn’t happy about that. She writes: “How can I expect readers to pay for a paper that has been in existence for [nearly a century] when we’re running a mandated article on the art of the selfie? … I don’t want a story on selfies (with reader submitted art of course) to run next to a story I may have spent weeks on. I believe this is belittling to both my readers and my fellow journalists. Stories on selfies have their place, but not on my front page.”

The memo:

April 17, 2014

Content Directors/Managers:

Civitas Media will be publishing a company-wide project in mid-May, which will feature a trending pop culture topic: Selfies.

All Civitas newspapers will run the feature, which will be available Friday, May 16 and may be run any day through May 23.

Each newspaper will be provided with a skeleton story on selfies and will be expected to add local content for readers. The skeleton story will be written by one of my staff in Ohio and will include obvious breaks for your reporters to fill with local content. Each newspaper also will provide a local photo (see below) for the project./CONTINUES

The Miamisburg pagination hub will be building a 6×14 template, which also will include some breakout elements on selfies being provided by my staff. The template will be made available to all paginators. Each newspaper will be expected to add their story and photo to their budget the day they choose to publish. Your paginator will add your story/photo to the package, which may be run as a Pg. 1 feature or as another section front.

The Civitas Content Committee has been working on this project for a couple weeks and we’re excited to provide our readers with a more light-hearted feature.

If you have questions, please contact me, Susan Hartley, Group Content Manager, Troy Daily News, Sidney Daily News, Piqua Daily Call at [email address] or 937-773-XXXX.

Selfies Timeline:
1. Monday, April 21: Each content manager will receive text to post on their Facebook pages, websites and Twitter asking for selfie submissions that readers may post on your social media platforms and/or be emailed directly to your newsroom. You will choose one of these photos as your main art for the project. (3×8) This also will give you contact info for possible interviews to localize the selfie story!

2. Friday, May 2: Each content manager will receive a skeleton of the selfie story to be localized for each publication. There will be obvious breaks in the story for you to fill in your local content.

3. Friday, April 25: Breakout elements – history of selfies, who posts, how/where to post a selfie – will be provided by my staff to Miamisburg pagination for use on the template.

4. Thursday, May 15: The template will be provided to all paginators for publication on the date you choose between May 16-23.