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Creativity a matter of survival.

Your pages are boring.

The good news is that if you don't change, you won't be bored producing or proofing the pages.

The bad news is there probably isn't a large job market for editors of boring products.

The premise that our pages are boring and that they need a jolt was a focus of the American Press Institute's recent seminar, "The Editorial Page: Developing a Voice for Community Leadership."

And those pages don't have to have ink that rubs off on your hands. They can be Web pages, where editorialists post their thoughts several times a day and get instant reader feedback or where readers have an unlimited word count for letters to the (Web) editor.

Or, those pages can contain innovative multimedia, such as what a Kansas newspaper did when it videotaped public meetings and edited them well, then asked its online readers to vote off council members as part of "Survivor: Topeka City Council."

(The website cyberjournalist.net/ news/001891.php has a clip of the project.)

But if you want to stick with a focus on the editorials down the left side, written in the same institutional drone daily, Michael S. Malone, a former tech reporter for the San lose Mercury News, has a message for you.

"I've been involved with newspapers, in some form or another, for a quarter century," he wrote for ABCNews. com recently. "If I don't see a compelling reason to read them, why should anyone else?"

He said newspapers cannot afford to continue to focus on print.

"They cannot believe an institution as venerable as the newspaper can ever go away...." he said. "They are wrong. And their publications will die first. All of them."

Newspapers won't die overnight, but some editors believe it's important that your print and online versions complement each other. In Indianapolis, the Star has two kinds of readers who blog: adults and teens. The best of their weekly online postings, with headshots and other identifying information, runs in the newspaper.

Innovation, for innovations sake, isn't good enough, said Keven Ann Willey, editorial page editor of The Dallas Morning News, whose blogs were showcased at API. They must be successful in driving readership.

If readers snooze, you lose.

If you've done something innovative online or in print, members of NCEW's Innovations Committee may share it with the membership. Please send it the committee chair Kate Riley, kriley@seattletimes.com.

Larry Reisman is editorial page editor for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. E-mail Lreisman@earthlink.net
COPYRIGHT 2005 National Conference of Editorial Writers
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Title Annotation:editorials
Author:Reisman, Larry
Publication:The Masthead
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Words:417
Previous Article:Editorials and the Web.
Next Article:Innovation trailhead.
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