Newspapers work to strike a balance between national and local news

By Nikoel Hytrek

With a new administration in the White House, the amount of big news coming out of Washington D.C. seems to have increased and attention to national news has increased alongside it.

But smaller, local newspapers traditionally don’t have a big focus on national news. Instead, local papers focus on community news that directly affects people who live there.

That changed after last year’s presidential election.

Kent Warneke, the editor of the Norfolk Daily News, said the increased interest in the president’s actions has led the Daily News to devote more space to national news.

But for Warneke, it’s important not to forget the local stories.

“Local stories are your bread and butter,” he said.

The editors at the Daily News plan local stories for the week and leave room for big national stories. Every day, reporters look at stories on a national wire service to find timely stories of interest to readers. They also look for stories on complex issues that might provide helpful information for readers.

Warneke said the ideal balance is 65 percent local, 35 percent national and international. But that number can change depending on what the news is.

Daily News editors look for stories that have a tie to the Midwest and Nebraska. Warneke said stories about the Keystone XL pipeline and health insurance reform are examples of national stories the Daily News chooses to highlight.

But some of the most high-profile stories from the national news have been about the scandals and controversies like Russia and the battles in Congress. The stories are of national interest, but editors at regional papers have to decide how much attention the stories get.

Warneke said the Norfolk Daily News doesn’t ignore the scandals and investigations, but it doesn’t pay as much attention to those stories. He said what the Daily News really cares about is how stories impact Nebraskans.

On whether a story, like the investigation into Russia, is important for people to know about, Warneke said a story’s importance is subjective.

Ultimately, when it comes to national news, the Norfolk Daily News focuses on stories that affect its readers because those are the stories they want to read. The editors leave the in-depth political analysis to national papers like the Washington Post.



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