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Information Centers Examine How Economy Affects College Sports, Population, Personal Budgets

Gannett Information Centers continue to keep a tight focus on issues related to the economy. Here are ways in which the Information Centers are helping their readers understand what’s happening in their communities and how they might prepare for the future. These examples were collected from a review of recent monthly reports. We encourage editors to share their good economic coverage with us.

The News-Press at Fort Myers published a “Road to Recovery” report in May, with 31 days of helpful information for readers trying to learn to navigate the economy. The series included print pieces, with accompanying interactive or multimedia components.
Topics ranged from how to avoid foreclosure to how to write a resume.

The Pensacola News Journal launched a monthly “Here comes summer/A series on dealing with the season’s added expenses.” The series provides readers with information on meeting summer expenses, such as summer camps, summer day care, looking for a summer job for teens, more manageable. The newspaper marketed the information heavily on its MomsLikeMe site and used Moms’ sources for stories. It anchors the Monday print newspaper.

The Desert Sun at Palm Springs produced a two-day report revealing how the sagging economy and the “AIG effect” hurt business travel in the valley, resulting in tens of thousands of lost room nights and hundreds of hospitality jobs.

The Times at Shreveport produced a weeklong series on how the economic downturn is affecting area colleges and their athletic departments. It found that LSU was the only school thriving during these tough times.

The Great Falls Tribune created a Stretch Your Budget publication to help its readers learn ways to make their dollars go further. Advertisers embraced the concept, seeing it as an opportunity to showcase their goods and services to penny-pinching residents. Because of advertiser demand, a second edition is being planned for August.

The Pacific Daily News in Guam is producing coping stories that offered parents advice on how they could broach the topic of spending with their children. Families are dealing with a loss of income, either through layoffs, furloughs or work-hour reductions. For families with children, that means not being able to spend on toys, clothes, outings, etc. The newspaper talked with a university finance professor, parents, a child behavioral health specialist and teachers on the best way to reach children so they can understand why the changes in their home lives are happening.

The Daily Advertiser at Lafayette, La., organized two sessions with the Budget Queen, a local woman who is an avid member of the Acadiana.MomsLikeMe site, and who has made frugality her mission. The Budget Queen column runs twice a month.

The Arizona Republic at Phoenix has focused aggressive coverage on the federal dollars flowing into Arizona as part of the economic stimulus bill. The newspaper says it committed to a strong watchdog role in tracking the spending of stimulus funds. Other economic coverage included a “Here to Help” package intended to share stories of hope and encouragement on getting by during the recession. The newspaper profiles residents who offer assistance to their neighbors and community groups who step in to fill the void created by funding shortfalls. Each Sunday, the newspaper provides useful tips to help residents navigate such issues as foreclosure or unemployment. Content is anchored on an economy Web site.㄀

A special Gannett Wisconsin Media news series, “The Ripple Effect: How the Recession Hits Home,” was launched in April. Using a uniquely Wisconsin-based industry, papermaking, the first installment detailed the disparate people and events tied together because of the bad economy. The package also included helpful news-to-use information on job fairs and job sectors that are growing.㄀As it did last year, The Post-Crescent is coordinating this five-part project for all GWM sites.

Here’s how GWM describes the series on the Web site: “In a five-part series beginning in April and continuing into August, Gannett Wisconsin Media examines the ongoing economic crisis and its effect on Wisconsin industries and people. The recession connects us all in a vast web that ensnares and binds together people in many different walks of life and areas of the country, creating a new variation on the old six-degrees-of-separation game.

“Each moment in a chain of events like the closing of the NewPage mill in Kimberly is a window on something much larger — a never-ending sequence of decisions and actions and chance occurrences and the occasional ringing phone that reverberate through time and space, fusing the fates and fortunes of many disparate lives.”

Last Modified: June 2009