The Northeast Mississippi (NEMS) Daily Journal is published at the Journal Publishing Company headquarters, 1242 S. Green St., Tupelo, Miss.
“To build community and improve the quality of life in Northeast Mississippi is why we [Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal] exist, and is core to our company,” says Publisher Clay Foster.
The newspaper’s support for the community is no insignificant lagniappe*. The NEMS Daily Journal, through the CREATE Foundation, gives on average $1 million a year to community building, community development, and contributions to local non-profits. (See Story of the Newspaper) Employees are also encouraged to get involved in the community by volunteering with a non-profit, “whatever they’re passionate about,” says Clay. (Reporters have the caveat that they can’t volunteer on the board of an organization they might cover.) Volunteering is in employees’ job descriptions and their performance “score cards.”
Driven by competition from multiple TV stations in the Tupelo area, The Daily Journal has become a “web-first,” multi-media news operation. “We don’t hold news,” says Executive Editor Lloyd Gray. (Click on Enterprise Stories for NEMS360.com coverage of the recent tornadoes in Northeast Mississippi.)
When asked about recent successes, Gray said they’ve been pleased by the popularity of three blogs: a business blog and two sports blogs -- one that features Mississippi State and Ole Miss (University of Mississippi). An experiment that was not successful was a remake of their Sunday paper. The editors wanted to make the Sunday edition different from the rest of the week and more like a magazine with in-depth articles. Readers were not enthusiastic. They said, “They didn’t want a magazine; they wanted a newspaper,” according to Gray.
Interactive Director Michael Duran details the ways The Daily Journal is using digital tools to enhance its readers’ experiences with NEMS360.com. (Click on the Backgrounder for details.) Clay Foster and Lloyd Gray share experiences that made the power and purpose of journalism clear to them. (Click on J-Epiphanies on the toolbar.)
Coming Next in the Gulf States series: The (Houma, La.) Courier and The Austin (Texas) Statesman. Follow us and comment on Facebook.
* Editor Lloyd Gray introduced us to, “lagniappe.” A lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap) is a Gulf States term, a small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of compliment or for good measure; bonus. Dictionary.com
-- Sara Brown and Paul Steinle