The Washington Post

On a recent reporting trip to West Virginia, The Washington Post's Lee Powell made a stop by Sistersville to meet the staff of The INNformer, a hotel/newspaper run by staff/journalists.

While reporters fret over getting facts right and making deadlines, the staff at The INNformer has to worry about keys and keeping guests happy, too.

For U.S. print journalists, in an industry riven by layoffs and all manner of indignities (no pay during a furlough week! No more free newsroom coffee!), this may seem like a new low.

Instead, it is a bi-monthly miracle.

Powell reports how The INNformer came to be, and why, if you think about it, it's a pretty good spot for journalists.

“When we’re here at the desk, we get to see everybody in town and everybody has got a story,” (Lea Ann) Butcher says. “They’re all saying, ‘Oh, I want you to write about this.’ ”

Staff also get food from the hotel's kitchen and free coffee, Powell reports. For anyone paying much attention to our industry these days, those are some serious perks.

While Powell was there reporting about The INNformer, journalist Lea Ann Butcher did a piece on Powell, which ran on page 15 of Dec. 12 edition.

Powell said his reason for visiting the hotel was to find interesting people doing interesting things. “A hotel running its own newspaper, in a time where a lot of people say print media is declining, is unusual and unique,” he said.

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