February 8, 2013

• USPS announcement will have some newspapers changing days

• Terrible legislation; but then it was the wrong bill!! (You gotta read the BULLETIN! part)

• Scott County isn’t only government paying for lunch hours; Georgetown is, too

• Legislative front: Senate Bill 89 important to our industry; count ’em, five expungement bills already filed

• Madison Award nominations now being accepted

NEW USPS POLICY WILL JEOPARDIZE NEWSPAPERS

Wednesday’s surprise announcement by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe probably comes as no surprise really. USPS has been talking, begging, for quite a while that it must cut back a delivery day to have any hopes of cutting expenses.

So Wednesday, the postmaster general drew a line in the sand to end Saturday regular mail delivery beginning in August. Perhaps it’s to get Congress’ attention to help it financially, something that’s been missing for quite some time.

Obviously, if USPS follows through, it will hurt newspapers, primarily weekly newspapers. Many of them, whether in Kentucky or any other state, rely on the post office to deliver each edition. Some have tried carrier delivery only to shut that down later and return to the mail carrier system. So the post office’s action, if it stands, will have many weekly publishers considering what to do.

Many weeklies come off the press on Thursday. They might get into the mail stream late that day or by Friday and in local communities chances are good it will be delivered in the mailbox the same day. But those outside the county probably will have to wait a few more days for that “newspaper from back home.” If Saturday is taken out of the equation, the papers sent outside the county would then be delivered on Monday. And with numerous holidays being on Mondays, there are times that Thursday’s paper won’t arrive in surrounding areas until Tuesday.

Then take for instance some of our bi- and tri-weeklies. The Princeton Times Leader is a bi-weekly with Wednesdays and Saturdays as publication and delivery days. If USPS holds its stance, Chip Hutcheson will have to decide about moving the Saturday date to Friday.

Or consider Mike Scogin at the Georgetown News-Graphic. He’s on a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday delivery schedule now for his tri-weekly. No Saturday delivery means he’ll need to change publication days, or move to a carrier system, even if for just one publication day a week. His option would be to change publication days to Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I doubt the staff wants to work Saturdays and Sundays to get Monday’s issue out after having just gotten out Friday’s issue.

A quick tally of the 124 weeklies shows 51 newspapers publishing on Thursday, 3 on Friday, 1 on Saturday and of the 12 that at bi- or tri-weeklies, all 12 have a Thursday or Friday edition and some also have a Thursday and Saturday publication day. So if the post office’s announcement isn’t changed, newspapers will face decisions — change publication days or move to carrier delivery?

SPEECH WILL TAKE A DIFFERENT TONE NOW

Interestingly, PMG Donahoe had already agreed to speak March 14 at the National Newspaper Association’s “We Believe in Newspapers” summit. It was originally billed as a discussion by him on extending the contract postage discounts to Valassis and the massive network and facility changes underway within USPS.

Wonder what the PMG will be speaking about now with his latest revelation on five-day delivery?

NON-TRANSPARENT TRANSPARENCY

Some legislators have been saying a lot about the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and calling for transparency. Apparently their idea of transparency isn’t the definition the rest of the world would use.

In the 2012 session, several bills were introduced that sponsors said would let everyone know about the child fatalities and near fatalities and put the cabinet more in front of the public. But the bills, once examined, didn’t come close to that. Some appeared to have been written by cabinet folks because they would have given the cabinet the right to do what it was already doing — not making information available.

To have a more open appearance, the governor established through executive order an external review commission. It too was to tackle the issue of fatalities and near fatalities. Yet members spent the first two meetings complaining about the lack of information they got from the cabinet and wondering how to avoid the public records law so more information would be forthcoming.

Now comes House Bill 246, sponsored by Rep. Tom Burch, who is chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee. He’s appeared at times to take on the cabinet only to not follow through on his promises to open up the records.

Burch is a member of the governor’s commission, as is his Senate counterpart Julie Denton. HB246 addresses the commission’s concerns and would allow the members to get the records, unredacted, with the provision that none of the records would be subject to the Open Records Laws.

So how are we to know that the cabinet is doing its job? Trust the members? How are we to find out about some of the incidents and what the cabinet did, or more importantly, didn’t do that would have protected the children? How are we to know how many teachers and school administrators warned the cabinet that a child appears to be being abused at home? Do you remember the Amy Dye situation in Todd County?

It still appears those involved want to protect the cabinet. Keeping records private might allow the commission to slap a few hands about what went wrong, or give stern lectures on how a situation should have been handled. But if HB246 becomes law, no one will ever know. Because the commission can see the records, in full, but can’t give out information about what’s contained therein.

Why all the secrecy? Why not let the information out to the public instead of protecting that arm of state government? Let the public know when the cabinet’s doing its job and when it’s not. And only then can the public gain confidence that those directed to protect the children are in fact doing all they can to accomplish that.

BULLETIN! BULLETIN! BULLETIN! BULLETIN! YOU GOTTA READ THIS

I wrote the part about transparency midday on Thursday. Then just before we left the office Thursday, there was some confusion. It came out that Burch filed the WRONG BILL!! He was not supposed to have filed that one and the “real” one would be filed today (Friday).

That scenario reminds me of a prayer the late KPA Past President Rev. Larry Craig gave at a KPA meeting when then Gov. Wallace Wilkinson had just spoken. Praying for the governor and the legislators, Larry said, “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do.”

FUTURE REFERENCE TO THE CABINET

Unless otherwise directed, or if in a convention program, or testifying before the legislature, all future references I make to the cabinet will be the Cabinet for Self-Protection. Why wouldn’t they want to release a report about a parent who abused or caused a fatality or near fatality of a child? The only reason would be: we don’t want the public to know we messed up, we didn’t consider previous abuse reports, we have too many cases to focus all our attention on just one or two.

Whatever.

SENATE BILL 89 — IMPORTANT TO OUR NEWSPAPERS

This bill is very important to our industry because it would clarify, enforce that carriers are independent contractors for both workers’ compensation and unemployment. Those issues are quite costly to our industry and we’ve argued for 40 years that carriers are not employees but independent contractors.

Our newspapers meet all the federal provisions of independent contractor status but at the state level, six addition requirements (9 in all) must be met. Since the mid-1970s, newspapers have been specifically stated as employers of these carriers and there have been numerous questions in the last few years about getting this corrected.

We found the avenue for that by hooking up with the Small Business Coalition and getting language in SB89 to help newspapers. It’s being heard in the Senate Committee on Tuesday and could be voted on by the whole Senate on Thursday or Friday.

LEGISLATIVE WORD OF THE SESSION? EXPUNGEMENT

We’ve not seen expungement legislation move at all since 2008. It’s been introduced, one or two bills a session, but remained holed up in the legislative drum.

This session, expungement seems to be the operative word. And here you thought redistricting and pension reform and tax reform and expanded gaming would get the most attention.

No fewer than five bills to allow expunging records have been introduced. And they are to varying degrees — from expunging Class D felonies after five years to traffic violation misdemeanors. And some combination in between.

In the past, former Rep. Rob Wilke carried the expungement banner. And his legislation would typically get through the House Judiciary Committee and the House as a whole, then die somewhere on the other side of the Capitol.

This time it’s Reps. Darryl Owens, Arnold Simpson and Brent Yonts, along with Sens. Julie Denton and Gerald Neal who have their name on expungement bills. Rep. Owens bill got a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and was passed but with several opposing votes.

He did know we opposed the bill and would be there to testify against it. And Ashley Pack did a very nice job presenting our issues and several who voted “no” referred to some of the things she said as the reason for their vote.

In past session, the sponsor might bring one or two people who are unable to get a job because they committed a Class De felony (many, many years ago) and while they’ve not even gotten a traffic citation since then, they can’t get a job. But Rep. Owens pulled out all the plugs. He had two people testify about not being able to get a job, one of them committing his felony 28 years ago. Then there was Corrections Secretary Brown, former Commonwealth Attorney (and former State Rep.) Dave Stengel. Then there was another commonwealth attorney and a district judge. And then the criminal attorneys association.

When it came time for those opposing the legislation to speak, there was Ashley Pack and then….well, there are groups that oppose it, some of them even attended the committee meeting but only Ashley testified. I can’t remember exactly when expungement legislation first came up but I do know Kim Greene testified for us that first time. I’m guessing it was 1998 because Ashley’s been doing this for us since 2000.

PAID LUNCH ISN’T AN ANOMALY AFTER ALL

So last week it was finding out that Scott County government pays its employees to take an hour for lunch. Not a bad deal at all — work seven hours, get paid for eight. I thought that might be the only unit of government with such a perk.

But there is another local government doing the same thing. And to find it, just walk across the street from the Scott County courthouse to Georgetown city hall. Yep, the city government has the same offering — take your lunch hour and here’s your hourly rate to get you to do that.

Now that makes you wonder if it’s an added benefit to local government agencies across the Commonwealth. It’s not at the state government level although there is apparently one part of state government that pays its employees for half of the lunch hour. The reason? The office is in a remote location and employees have too far to travel to eat lunch.

Okay, so, did you think to tell them to bring their lunch?

MIKE SCOGIN ASKS FOR YOU TO CHECK LOCAL AGENCIES

Georgetown publisher Mike Scogin wants to know if Georgetown and Scott County are the only local governments in Kentucky paying employees for taking the lunch hour. If you haven’t asked about policies locally, please do.

Georgetown city employees are paid for eight hours a day, working 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scott County employees, I believe, work 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are paid for eight hours a day.

So maybe those previous political candidates who ran on a banner of operating government more like a business had a reason for stating that.

Ask for local policies or file an Open Records request with your city/cities and county officials and you can let me know what you find out, or contact Mike Scogin at 502-863-1111.

HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR THE AD CONTEST? 12 HAVE!!

If you haven’t registered your newspaper for the Advertising Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers – 2013 competition, time’s a’wastin. The deadline for all entries to be in is March 14 so you have a little more than a month to register your newspaper and then get all your electronically uploaded.

Instructions to get registered:

Go to kpacontest.com and click on Register – fill out the resulting form and click “register for contest.”

Then you will receive an email from dspencer@kypress.com with the specifics of your account such as user name and password and ftp information along with member id and division id.

For all the information about the contest:

Go to www.kpacontest.com/enter/2013AEKN_pkt.pdf and download the packet of information. It’s all-electronic entry process this year so no forms to attach to tearsheets and no arrows needed to point to the ad to be judged. If you have any questions at all, call me or email me. If they are technical about the entry process, contact David Spencer (dspencer@kypress.com) or call him at 502-223-8821.

Please note:

• this year’s contest — for all ads published in 2012 — will be all electronic. No physical tearsheets will be entered. In some categories — special sections, special publications, and TMC product — newspapers will make one pdf of the entire entry and submit that.

• the deadline to upload your entries will be Thursday, March 14.

• we have adjusted the rules to allow for outside graphic designers or newspapers/companies under contract to provide graphic design to be entered by the newspaper.

• the daily newspaper circulation breakdown has been altered to provide for a more equal number of newspapers in the three daily divisions. The new circulation breaks will be up to 6,000; 6,001 to 20,000; and 20,001 and above.

CONVENTION SURVEY — WE NEED YOUR PARTICIPATION

You should have received an email from David Greer asking you to participate in a survey about the 2013 KPA Convention if in fact you attended. Emails were sent earlier this week with links to the survey (two links actually) and the feedback shows us what speakers and topics were of quality, and what speakers or topics didn’t meet your expectations or needs.

So if you attended any portion of the convention, find the email and fill out the survey. It will help us for 2014 and years beyond for that matter.

I thank you and David G. thanks you.

FIRST AMENDMENT CENTER ACCEPTING MADISON AWARD NOMINATIONS

The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky is inviting nominations for its annual James Madison Award to recognize a Kentuckian for outstanding service to the First Amendment. The award, created in 2006, honors the nation’s fourth president, whose extraordinary efforts led to the passage and ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Nominees must have significant ties to Kentucky, and their efforts must have resulted in the preservation or expansion of freedom of the press and/or freedom of speech. Dedication to the First Amendment principle of free expression is not accomplished in a day’s work but rather a lifetime. Thus the award recognizes a long-term commitment to such ideals.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 22.

Honorees do not have to be journalists. The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center encourages recognition of those outside the journalism profession for their contributions to protect or expand First Amendment freedoms. Nominees may include, for example, educators, lawyers, judges, scholars, librarians, students, or ordinary citizens. The most deserving recipient will be someone who has made a significant contribution regardless of how much public attention it has received.

The Madison Award will recognize those who have labored or taken a stand in one or more of these areas: open government and open records; robust debate in the marketplace of ideas; promotion of the watchdog role of the press; defense against government or private censorship.

The nominator must submit a letter identifying the nominee, listing the nominee’s address, phone number and position, and explaining why the nominee would be a worthy recipient. The letter should detail the specific efforts taken on behalf of First Amendment rights and should discuss obstacles and difficulties as well as the impact of the nominee’s efforts. The nominator may include up to three letters of support as well as other materials such as published or broadcast information.

Entries will be reviewed by a committee that will include previous winners and the director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center. The committee will have the option of not selecting a recipient if it does not believe any candidate is deserving.

Nominees who meet the award criteria but are not selected initially will automatically be considered for two more years. The award will be presented at the Scripps’ center annual First Amendment Celebration on March 4 in the William T. Young Library auditorium.

Past winners were Judith Clabes, founder of UK’s First Amendment Center and a strong supporter of a free press as a newspaper editor and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation; Jon Fleischaker, the commonwealth’s foremost media law attorney; veteran Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus, who has used public records extensively to expose government corruption; David Hawpe, retired Courier-Journal reporter and editor who fought relentlessly to open records and meetings; John Nelson, managing editor of The Advocate-Messenger in Danville and executive editor of Advocate Communications Inc., who was recognized for organizing a statewide open records audit, fighting for opening juvenile and family courts to the public and creating a legal defense fund for members of the Kentucky Press Association. The most recent winner was veteran newsman Al Smith, whose KET public affairs program, “Comment on Kentucky,” informed the state’s citizens on government issues affecting them.

Nominations should be sent to Mike Farrell, Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, School of Journalism and Telecommunications, 144 Grehan Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0042, or emailed to farrell@uky.edu.

For more information, contact Mike Farrell, director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at (859) 257-4848, or farrell@email.uky.edu.

AND ON THE 365TH DAY, GOD MADE…

One of the more touching Super Bowl commercials was with the voice of the late Paul Harvey talking about the importance of farming and why God made the farmer. So here’s a version that takes it elsewhere.

And on the 365th day, God thought about making farmers and bankers, doctors and nurses, teachers and car salesmen, and all those other careers, and then realized he needed someone to report about their birth and death, their wedding and high school graduation, their successes and their children and grandchildren and so He made a newspaper reporter.

And then God realized he needed someone to tell all the people about businesses having sales and products and services the public would need and so He made a newspaper ad sales representative.

AUTUMN GLANCY TO BE A STAY-AT-HOME MOM

Statewide Classified coordinator Autumn Glancy went on maternity leave around Christmas and was to be off eight weeks for that. Mom and son Winston are doing great to the extent that Autumn has decided to become a stay-at-home mom and has resigned her position with KPS. She was with us about a year and we appreciate her time and enthusiasm. She made progress in getting regular statewide classified clients and making sure many, many more knew about that service as well as other advertising possibilities that we offer with Kentucky newspapers.

She’s given her two weeks’ notice that takes effect on February 22, the end of her maternity leave.

STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR SNPA MEGA-CONFERENCE

The Southern Newspaper Publishers Association 2013 Key Executives Mega-Conference opens in New Orleans in just over a week. It’s not too late to register!

The Mega-Conference opens with a “bonus session” on digital agency services on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 17. The Trade Show opens at 10 a.m. Monday morning, Feb. 18, with conference sessions running from 1 p.m. Monday through Noon on Wednesday.

Four dynamic industry leaders will tell it like it is during the February 19 morning general session at the 2013 Key Executives Mega-Conference.

During a one-hour panel discussion, they will talk about what they believe needs to happen in the industry and how they are doing it.

The panel will be moderated by Alan Mutter, consultant and veteran media executive who blogs at “Reflections of a Newsosaur.”

Roundtable panelists are:

Michael J. Klingensmith, publisher and CEO, Star Tribune Media Company LLC, Minneapolis, Minn.

Larry Kramer, president and publisher, USA Today, McLean, Va.

Terry Kroeger, publisher, The Omaha World-Herald and president, BH Media Group, Omaha, Neb.

Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas

The Mega-Conference opens with a “bonus session” on digital agency services on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 17. The Trade Show opens at 10 a.m. Monday morning, Feb. 18, with conference sessions running from 1 p.m. Monday through Noon on Wednesday.

Conference Trade Show:
During the Trade Show, which runs throughout the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to visit with industry research and development partners at their exhibit booths to learn how their products and services can impact their businesses. (View a list of conference sponsors and exhibitors registered so far.)

Check out the full conference agenda at:

1. http://www.mega-conference.com/Program.pdf

Additional conference information can be found at the links below:

• Exhibitor/sponsor details: http://www.mega-conference.com/ExhibitorDetails.pdf

• Exhibitor/Sponsor registration form: http://www.mega-conference.com/ExhibitorRegistration.pdf

• Conference website: http://www.mega-conference.com

• Follow the conference on Twitter: #2013MegaConf

RURAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION REPORTING AWARDS

KRHA’s Public Information Committee members believe one of the best ways to address rural Kentucky’s health and health care challenges is to promote substantive dialogue among state leaders and local residents alike.

Therefore, the purpose of this awards program is to encourage additional – and more in-depth – coverage of Kentucky’s rural health-related issues by the state’s print media outlets. We hope this will encourage KRHA members to engage their local newspaper(s) about possible story ideas.

Two divisions: Daily and non-daily

Two categories in each division: Series and single story (A plaque and $100 prize for each winner – for a total of $400 each year)

Eligibility:

• Awards will be presented each year during the summer conference. We will announce the creation of the awards during this year’s event.

• Articles must originally have been published during the preceding fiscal year (i.e., July 1 thru June 21).

• Entries will be accepted from staff writers, editors, freelance writers, etc., who are affiliated with a Kentucky-based newspaper. Each entry should include three copies of the article as it originally appeared in the newspaper.

• Entries also may be submitted by KRHA members and community members at large on the writers’ or newspapers’ behalf.

• To make the contest as neutral as possible, we will attempt to solicit three out-of-state judges (e.g., other RHA presidents, NRHA’s publications director, etc.)

• We will use the Kentucky Press Association’s electronic newsletter, the Rural Health Update listserv, KRHA members’ word of mouth, and other strategies in order to promote the awards program.

• Selection criteria:

Relevance to rural health

Quality of reporting

Impact on health care policy

New insights generated by the reporting

SCHEDULE NEXT WEEK

A doctor’s appointment Monday morning and then that afternoon, a conference call with the KPA Executive Committee and Dr. Darryl Armstrong on staff training in 2013 about make up the schedule. Of course, the whole week there’s the General Assembly in session so I think I’ll stay around otherwise and make sure they can get the correct bills filed.

I do have a breakfast meeting Thursday with the Small Business Coalition folks, the ones who are leading the way with Senate Bill 89.

As always, call or email if you have questions, comments, concerns, issues, clarifications, corrections, additions, deletions or especially if you find out your city and county governments pay their employees for taking an hour’s lunch each day

Otherwise, thanx!!

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