A couple of small daily newspapers in western Ohio got attention when they ran blank single pages with a small message at the bottom:

“This is the kind of local coverage you can expect if you don’t have a local newspaper.”

The takeaway: Read The Evening Leader (St. Marys) and The Wapakoneta Daily News or they might not be around long.

“I’ve been threatening to run this kind of ad for years because I get so frustrated when readers – and especially non-readers – complain that there’s never anything to read in the paper and use that as a reason not to subscribe,” Deb Zwez, group publisher for the papers, told the Ohio Newspaper Association website.

We know big papers are zombies. But papers in towns under 10,000 should be relevant, with simple, tidy websites pointing the way to print.

Since newspaper consultants’ failure rate is 100%, here’s an orange cat’s view …

Top priority would be crime and governmental doings, including agendas. When somebody says the mayor is quoted too much, quote them on the issue next time or have them do an op-ed or a letter. Report; don’t tell people what to think.

If the choice in sports guy (or gal) is between literate and prolific, choose prolific. Forget press association awards. I’m talking pages of unflashy stuff that makes sense. The sports beat includes a column and tracks local interests at the college level, including Ohio State.

Cultivate retirees to scour bulletin boards at public buildings — and print all of it. Some geezer may turn into a low-paid, well-regarded columnist. Report more obits past the paid funeral home notice.

Finally, think outside the box. If a student writes an A+ essay on Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong, run it. After all, he went to the moon. I think.

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