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News values travel well, says globetrotting editor

Production editor Jayne Thomas has returned from a study trip across the Atlantic with an insight into the way North American newspapers treat the news.

Jayne, who works at the Neath and Port Talbot Courier, visited a clutch of newspapers in Washington State and then British Columbia, Canada, and as well as learning about the way the media treats news stories there she made a few presentations of her own.

Jayne spent time at the Ellensburg Daily Record, the Quincy Evening Post Register, the Yakima Herald Express, the Wenatchee World, Columbia Basin Herald, Kamloops Daily News and a business journal.

She also visited Kiss FM, a local radio station and her Rotary International team gave a television interview for a US channel.

Jayne said: “The newspapers varied widely from a weekly one-man band operation with a 2,000 circulation to 40,000-plus dailies similar to the South Wales Evening Post in set up.

“I saw all departments at work and learnt an awful lot, though perhaps the most striking thing was the similarity in news values. A story may not be a story the world over but it is the same story in the UK as the US!”

She said the tour was great from a vocational point of view and was the “experience of a lifetime” on a cultural and social level.

She said: “The scenery was stunning with mountains, lakes and pines causing a sharp intake of breath. And we lucky enough to spot a black bear in the wild, fortunately from a distance!

“Rotary is very active in both states and there are schemes which involve building housing estates for low income families, massive fund-raising events and beautifying the countryside.

“We made around 15 presentations, including the one at Penticton to more than 500 delegates from the vast 5060 District.

“At the conference, I personally was delighted to meet Governor Ken Davis. The talks took place in halls, clubs, hotels and conference centres and we were received very warmly.

“Sharing a sense of humour was not a problem although irony is a very British thing.”

On the cultural side the party also went to a Rodeo, saw the musical Big River – an adaptation of the Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn story – visited schools and hospitals, an international food fayre, took part on a float at a local carnival, went to a big ice hockey game and saw a lacrosse game on ice in Canada.

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