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Executive EditorMarch 25, 2012 

Community news is the heart and soul of The News Tribune.

We certainly cover regional and national stories that also are covered by other media – the Afghanistan stories of the past two weeks have been examples of that. But we also work hard to bring you stories about our communities that you won’t see anywhere else.

One of the things I liked most about The News Tribune when I came here 12 years ago was that it felt like a great big community newspaper. It was unpretentious – not always the case with metro-sized papers – and saw the value in telling small-town stories alongside the big regional ones.

That felt comfortable to me. Maybe it was because I grew up in a small town that didn’t get covered much by the big daily paper in Lansing, Mich. Maybe it was because I’d worked at a number of community weeklies and a very small daily. I knew how valuable local news and storytelling were to a community conversation.

The front-page story in Wednesday’s TNT about the Eatonville Police Department’s recent ticket-writing binge was an example of our continued efforts to provide community coverage. Readers definitely responded to it; it was the most-read story online that day.

The problem is, we never can write as many of those stories as we’d like.

The TNT is about to expand its community news efforts with a pilot project we hope works well enough that we can do the same in other parts of our coverage area.

For the past several years, we’ve delivered The Puyallup Herald every Wednesday to more than 13,000 News Tribune subscribers who live in that part of East Pierce County. Beginning next month, our carriers also will deliver The Herald to tens of thousands of households that don’t subscribe to the TNT. Inside the paper will be the advertising inserts we currently mail to nonsubscribers in that area.

We’ll change the look of The Herald a bit, but it still will contain local news from around Puyallup, Sumner and South Hill. We’ll keep the high school sports coverage, profiles of people and businesses, local columnists and events calendars. The news will all be in one section.

In addition to expanding our reach for readers, we hope to help local advertisers. Small businesses – think pizzerias and dry cleaners – often find it most efficient to focus their advertising messages in their own communities. The newly expanded Herald will give them one more way to reach a higher concentration of customers close to their businesses.

Reporters at The Puyallup Herald will change the way they cover their communities. Rather than file all their stories the day before publication – the way reporters at a weekly generally do – they will file stories throughout the week. Some stories will await publication in the next week’s Herald, but stories of wider interest will appear the next day in The News Tribune. TNT East Pierce County reporter Sara Schilling will continue to write about those areas as well.

The Herald website also gets an upgrade.

Before, was a weekly website in the same way the printed product was a weekly paper. Now reporters will post stories throughout the week, making it a website to check frequently for breaking community news.

We are connecting The Herald and TNT in an interesting way online. Readers of now see a section called “TNT Puyallup,” which features News Tribune stories about the Puyallup area. Likewise, readers of can click directly to The Herald website for more East Pierce County stories.

There’s nothing revolutionary about this idea. It’s pretty simple; readers want news from their own communities, and advertisers want to reach local customers. We’re trying to provide more of both in print and online.

Karen Peterson: 253-597-8434

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