Saturday, September 15, 2007

rural newspaper rescue

from The Rural Blog:

With editor-publisher laid up, N.C. journalism students ride to rescue with 'bucket brigade'

In days of yore, a bucket brigade was the hand-to-hand predecessor of firefighting equipment. This month, it is a rescue mission, by journalism students, for weekly newspaper editor-publisher Ken Ripley, reports the director and namer of the brigade, Jock Lauterer of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The photo shows Lauterer (with hand on table), Ripley and the students who are commuting an hour or more each way to help publish the Spring Hope Enterprise, circulation 4,100 while Ripley is out of the office for surgery and a long recovery this fall.

Lauterer, director of the Carolina Community Media Project in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communications, writes in his Blue Highways Journal that he got the idea before Ripley's need arose -- from the recent tornado that virtually destroyed Greensburg, Kan., and its newspaper: "It occurred to me: Hey Lauterer, what would YOU do if an North Carolina community paper took a direct hit from a hurricane? How prepared are you? Do you have a Rapid Response Journalism Team primed and ready?"

Lauterer worked up a plan, "But then my thinking took another turn. Why sit around and wait for disaster to strike? Find a community paper right now that needs help. And that led us to Spring Hope, where I knew my long-time pal and veteran editor and publisher, Ken Ripley, was going in this month for a double hip replacement, a process that will require two separate operations and a lengthy recovery at home. Knowing the unstoppable Mr. Ripley, he refuses to miss an issue, putting out his paper via laptop from his bedside."

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