SIOUX CITY - The Sioux City Journal was named Monday by Editor & Publisher, the leading journal for the newspaper and publishing industry, to its annual list of 10 That Do It Right.
The magazine notes that the Journal has proved that giving readers something to talk about works.
In the past 12 months, according to researchers Tome Wilkerson & Associates, Journal readership is up about 5 percent on weekdays and 6 percent on Sundays. Total market reach increased 5.3 percent, and the number of readers who say they accessed the Web site "yesterday" has jumped 86 percent.
Ron Peterson, publisher of the 40,000-circulation Journal, attributed the paper's success in a struggling industry to a couple of factors: The Journal's print and online products are different, so the Web is not just a digital copy of the newspaper but the source of unique and exclusive content; and both media provide more content for younger readers. "We really are a media company," Peterson said.
"We still cover the nuts and bolts of city, county, schools," he said. "But we really stay on the topics people are talking about, not just report it once. That's been a big change."
Editor & Publisher cited the "talking points" as an example of how the Journal "Does it Right."
"When Editor Mitch Pugh arrived at the Lee-Enterprises-owned Journal in 2007, he focused the 32-person newsroom on giving readers 'something to talk about' in the paper and online," the magazine reported in announcing its top 10 list.
"The Journal already had a couple of very popular local columnists with a knack for finding the engaging, sometimes irreverent, stories that get readers talking," the report says. "It just was not part of the everyday DNA of the newsroom," Pugh said. It is now.
The Glens Falls (N.Y.) Post-Star, another Lee Enterprises newspaper, is also among this year's "10 That Do It Right."
Previous winners of the annual award include USA Today, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Portland Oregonian, the Sacramento Bee and the Hartford (Conn.) Courant.