April 5, 2013

• French town may deliver newspapers by drones

• HIPAA opinion is victory for State’s Open Records Law

• UK Digital Library with KPA Partnership Chosen for National Project

• Kentucky Standard’s Brandi Cheatham Recognized by E&P

• Hi-Sliders Are Success But it’s for our Ad Network Not a Baseball Term

THEY CAME, THEY JUDGED, THEY IMPRESSED

Some 30 KPA members — newspapers, Associates and friends — helped judge the Alabama Press Association’s advertising and news contests Thursday in Frankfort. They came from Sebree (Regina Catlett) to Pikeville (Ellen Blackburn) and numerous points in between to get the job done.

My Alabama counterpart Felicia Mason was quite impressed with the quality of the judges who took the time and I appreciate all those who did.

But if you didn’t get to judge Thursday, you aren’t out of the woods yet. We still have some categories remaining that APA normally mails out but we’re going to line up judges and then hand-deliver the remaining entries. You would have until next Thursday or Friday to complete the task.

So save us from calling or emailing and begging — just email or call me and we’ll put you on the list.

Thanx in advance.

RAND PAUL WOULD SAY…

“Not in my neighborhood you won’t or I’ll start filibustering.”

Comes news out of France about a new newspaper delivery idea. Helicopter drones!! Actually they’re called quadricopters. Perhaps the U.S. test market could be Senator Paul’s home neighborhood.

Ooh la la: French town says it will deliver daily newspapers by drone

Residents of Auvergne, a province in south central France, may soon receive their daily paper by drone.

According to a blog post published yesterday, local postal service La Poste Groupe has been working for several years to modernize its delivery processes. A plan has been hatched to implement paper delivery by drone in early May with the help of local volunteers, and tests are already underway

The drone is a quadricopter, which can be controlled by iPod touch, iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and costs over $300. It is manufactured by Parrot.com, a French wireless devices maker that also announced a partnership with La Poste this morning.

We have not heard back from Parrot.com after reaching out for comment. It’s not quite April Fools — but there are legal issues to consider with this insane (but awesome) idea.

French Internet personalities say they will national attention to the crazy experiment, including Olivier Bernasson, founder and CEO of online store Pecheur.com.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly used in private markets — not just in covert government operations. In 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported that drones would prove useful for nonmilitary tasks, such as wildlife-tracking or emergency rescue efforts.

The primary impediments were a short battery life and flight time — often 30 minutes or less.

Today, thousands of amateur drone hobbyists are sharing ideas on websites like DIYdrones.com. And as the technology evolves, the FAA is working with private industry to relax guidelines for personal drones by the end of this year.

So someday soon you might receive your daily paper from a silent, miniature object from above. Let’s just hope it doesn’t drop on an unsuspecting person’s head!

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/30/ooh-la-la-french-town-to-deliver-daily-newspapers-by-drone/#gzIAur0vI16xF3pL.99

BRANDI CHEATHAM — ONE OF ’25 UNDER 35′

by: Kristina Ackermann and Nu Yang, Editor & Publisher

In 2012, CareerCast listed newspaper reporter as the fifth worst job in America — slightly better than working on an oil rig, but worse than, say, waiting tables for a living. With this kind of negative publicity, one might expect that the well of talented, young publishing professionals would be drying up as recent graduates seek out careers in software or healthcare instead. Not so.

Perhaps more than ever, it is the younger generation that is leading newspapers to embrace sustainable business models, challenge conventional ways of thinking, and make this industry an exciting place to work again. Digital redesigns, paywall strategies, niche coverage opportunities, and unique advertiser partnerships are just a few of the ways this year’s 25 Under 35 are leaving their mark on the business of selling news.

The 25 young men and women featured on the following pages do their work with a level of passion and excitement that exists in few other industries. Their commitment to their craft is what keeps the lights on at many newspapers, and the communities they serve are better for it. As always, we received more nominations than we could possibly include in one feature. And while each nominee had an inspiring story to tell, these 25 are representative of the type of talent this industry needs in order to thrive.

Brandi Cheatham, 34

Circulation manager, The Kentucky Standard

Bardstown, Ky.

Education: Associate degree in business management

For a small-town Kentucky paper with a circulation of around 10,000, a 1.5 percent increase in in-county circulation is a big deal. This was the result of Brandi Cheatham’s bold, one-year plan to boost readership at The Kentucky Standard, and she did it with a diversified marketing plan combined with a well-executed retention program.

Cheatham’s retention strategy focused on rewarding loyal customers. She created an online reader rewards program with a premium rewards tier for EZ Pay customers. By marketing the program with bill stuffers, cable TV commercials, ROP ads, and even walk-in conversions, the Standard managed to increase the number of EZ Pay customers to 15 percent of customer base by the end of last year.

What advice do you have for other young professionals in the newspaper industry?

Knowledge is power. Get as much hands-on experience in as many sectors as possible inside your business. In the 13 years I’ve been with this company, I have worked in the classified department, retail sales, TV sales, and the circulation department twice. It’s amazing how many things you can carry over from one department to another. Another piece of advice I’d like to share: Customer service is not a department! It’s an attitude. You cannot afford to switch someone to the “customer service department” when they have problems or issues with your product. Retention is the most important part of circulation. You cannot grow circulation and readership if you cannot retain what you already have.

Can you share more details of your plan to grow in-county circulation?

We found new locations to distribute our four-week free trial cards that include the business’ logo and no postage necessary. For example, “Salt River Electric would like to welcome you with a four-week free subscription to The Kentucky Standard.” Potential subscribers who sign up for the trial offers are called on the first day of delivery, and a follow-up call is made three weeks into the trial to offer them an introductory rate to subscribe. If no sale is made, a direct mail piece is sent out after the customer stops on the fourth week.

The free trials were also promoted at festivals, celebrations, and the county fair to increase our visibility and community involvement. Building relationships and opportunities for reader feedback helped us in-turn build circulation.

We also developed a referral program for subscribers. Current subscribers who refer someone for the four-week free trial get a $10 gift card if that referral becomes a paid subscriber. This was promoted with bill stuffers and other direct mail pieces.

UK DIGITAL LIBRARY ONE OF FIVE CHOSEN FOR NATIONAL PILOT PROJECT

Editor’s Note: For some 50 years, KPA and the University of Kentucky Libraries have had a partnership. First, it was part of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for the preservation of newspapers. When that began, it was microfilming issues of Kentucky newspapers and making those available at the UK Library or at public libraries across the state. Even then, it was one of the leading efforts in any state to preserve newspapers.

And while those were still being preserved in that media just a few years ago, UK has moved its approach to digital. And it’s an effort still including KPA and your newspaper.

And still it’s one of the tops in the country. So much so that UK has been chosen for a national pilot project as a digital library.

Here’s a story by Linda Blackford with the Lexington Herald-Leader from Monday:

By Linda B. Blackford — lblackford@herald-leader.com

As any researcher knows, it’s easier to click a mouse than burrow through paper archives, looking for one piece of paper.

At the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Digital Library has worked since 1997 to aid that process, slowly transforming huge historical collections from UK and other state universities — including old newspapers, family papers, photographs and oral histories — into digital content.

That work was recently recognized when the Kentucky Digital Library was chosen as one of five digital libraries nationwide to form the hub of a pilot project to make that information even more available: The Digital Public Library of America.

The other four participants are the Digital Library of Georgia, Minnesota Digital Library, Mountain West Digital Library (Utah, Nevada and Arizona), South Carolina Digital Library and the Digital Commonwealth (Massachusetts). Harvard University will initially provide select digitized special collections to the DPLA.

What that means is that a researcher or genealogist could put a search term into the library and get results from all of these collections — one-stop shopping research, as it were.

“It really puts our content forward on a national stage, which is part of the benefit for us,” said Mary Molinaro, associate dean for library technologies at UK.

Molinaro said she thinks the new portal will become a huge source not just for scholars and researchers, but for the public. For example, the library could further open research possibilities for genealogists, amateur and professional.

Molinaro hopes to further engage the public, with a series of grants for community engagement. The Kentucky Digital Library is setting up events with the Lexington Public Library for next fall.

“It really pushes us to do something we’ve wanted to do for a long time — to really work with the public and talk about personal archiving of their own things,” Molinaro said. People could bring in old documents or photographs and get them included in the digital library.

A previous project between the two groups was digitizing old copies of the Kentucky Gazette, a newspaper that went back to 1787.

The Kentucky Digital Library has been supported by the Council on Postsecondary Education since it started, and that statewide collaboration will continue under the grants, which total $350,000 over two years from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Arcadia Fund.

The outreach work will include the digitization of new content from other libraries. A steering committee has been set up to prioritize what to digitize. The committee will include State Librarian Wayne Onkst; Adam Murray, dean of Murray State University Libraries; Virginia McClure, Kentucky Room manager at Lexington Public Library; Tracy Campbell, professor of history and co-director of the UK Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center; and Heath Martin, director of collections at UK Libraries.

The launch of the Digital Public will be April 18 at http://dp.la. The Kentucky Digital Library can be accessed at http://kdl.kyvl.org.

And Linda’s article led me to send a congratulatory note to Mary Molinaro. Here’s Mary’s response:

“Thanks! I just saw the article. Our work with newspapers (and oral histories) is one of the main reasons we were selected to participate in the first round of the project. Our work with papers (particularly the current papers) is far ahead of what other states are doing. The director of the Center for Research Libraries was here last week and he was really interested in the collaboration between the Press Association, Geo-Tel and UK Libraries. I think that moving forward researchers are going to be keenly interested in the newspaper content. We are making a postcard to distribute at the DPLA launch in Boston with the message of the Kentucky Digital Library providing access to the first draft of history.

Thanks, David, for all of your help and support!

Mary”

KNE’S FOUR NEWSPAPERS TOTAL 93,410 HITS ON KPS INTERACTIVE PROGRAM

Baseball season is upon us but when we say “hi-sliders” and “popunders” we aren’t speaking in baseball terms.

It’s about a rather new ad network KPS has created. Currently there are only 28 newspapers/websites in one and 39 in another. so we’re using this as a “pitch” to invite your newspaper to “score” some new ad dollars, if you currently aren’t signed up.

This explanation comes from Teresa so if you have questions or want to get in the game, email or call her.

In February 2012, an online network started with only seven KPA member newspapers accepting popunders and less than $25 in the first monthly billing. That network has grown to include 28 newspapers running hi-sliders and super popunders and 39 newspapers with popunders. Our total sales for this network is approaching $1,000 per month, depending on the traffic to each site. One newspaper group had 93,410 impressions this month for its four newspapers. Total impressions for the hi-sliders and super popunder was 211,633, with 53,920 impressions for popunders.

To be included in the monthly network, just email Teresa at trevlett@kypress.com and we will get the tags over to you. I will need to know the website that you want included in the network. Once the tags have been generated, your website administrator places the tag on your site and leaves it there. A performance report is generated after the first of the month for the previous month’s activity.

A popunder is a great ad unit that will generate extra revenue for the newspaper sites. They are easy to implement and will show up underneath the webpage in its own browser. We rotate several high quality advertisers, through our client partner 3Interactive, including Newsmax, The Economist, Publishers Clearing House and Lower My Bills. If a newspaper ever sees an advertiser that they don’t want running on the site we can easily exclude it. During the past year, we have had some respected news sites running as well, such as Washington Times and all MyFox sites. You have to make sure that your pop blocker is turned off to be able to see the ads running on the site.

SENTINEL-ECHO NAMED CNHI’S NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR

Kudos to the staff of the London Sentinel-Echo for being named Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., Newspaper of the Year for non-dailies. Also honored were publisher Willie Sawyers, 2013 KPA President, as Columnist of the Year and Denis House was named both Sports Writer of the Year and Photographer of the Year.

CNHI has newspapers in 130 communities in 23 states. It is based in Montgomery, AL.

VALUABLE OPINION FROM AG ON HIPAA

The newsrooms really need to pay attention to an Attorney General’s opinion that was released Monday. It involves HIPAA and Open Records.

I’m tired of hearing, “can’t do that because of HIPAA.” That’s not true but so many public agency officials hide behind that as a reason when they don’t want to give out information. Honestly, it’s probably more because they really don’t know the law and are scared of a lawsuit if they do give out information that HIPAA says otherwise should be private.

But note in the opinion that it says a state’s Open Records law supersedes HIPAA. So if information is required by state law to the open, then the record/information is open regardless of HIPAA. Hate for reporters to have to carry around that opinion but it might come to that.

MEDIA AS FIRST INFORMERS? (SIMILAR TO FIRST RESPONDERS)

With the judging for Alabama Press yesterday at the Kentucky Broadcasters Association office, it gave me time to visit with KBA CEO Gary White. Gary gave me some information about efforts in other states to get news media folks assigned a “First Informer” status, similar to First Responders.

The idea, and legislation is already enacted in a few states, would be to give the media immediate access to sites instead of waiting in a designated area away from the scene.

An incident seven years ago involved the president of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters who said authorities came toward him “with guns drawn and took his truck and his driver.” That event, according to broadcasters around the country, demonstrates the need for laws that ensure the media’s ability to cover the events. That would include live coverage by TV and radio stations as well as newspapers that would us websites, blogs and other avenues to keep the public informed. With newspapers live-streaming now and the ability to cover the news as it happens (many can be similar to a television station with technology today).

Illinois and Nevada already have laws on the books, with legislation passed unanimously. Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey and South Carolina broadcasters are in the process of developing similar proposals.

KBA is interested in pursuing such legislation in Kentucky in 2014 and wants KPA involved so the language would include newspapers as well as broadcast media.

States considering have developed specialized personnel ID card that would identify them as being in the media and allow them to cross police lines. Sounds like going back to the Kentucky State Police press passes.

Anyway, I’d like the thoughts of editors from around the state. Should we join with KBA and seek legislation in 2014 that ensures the ability, and safety, of news media to get to the scenes?

INMA REPORT EVALUATES ONLINE VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEWSPAPERS

DALLAS (4 April 2013) – Evaluating the opportunity that the rapid rise in online video consumption offers media companies is the subject of a new report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA) titled “Making Video Pay Off For News Publishers.”

The INMA report covers four key points related to online video:

Consumer engagement opportunity: The exponential uptake of video as a consumer medium combined with plummeting costs of video production puts publishers on the verge of connecting with new audiences in profound ways.
Advertising opportunity depends on scale: The degree to which a publisher can monetize this nexus between video storytelling and audience engagement depends on scale and segmentation, the pillars of advertising sales opportunities.
Global best practices to command revenue: The first-movers among news publishers in the video space have created robust “TV channels” on their Web sites with a combination of original video and syndicated video – of sufficient scale to command premium CPMs.
Where publishers fit in this new world: First-mover publishers are in the best position to monetize online video today, while others are putting together plans to match or exceed global best practitioners.
Written by veteran publishing industry author Paula Felps, “Making Video Pay Off for News Publishers” is a 63-page report that looks at the video opportunity from the perspectives of audience, content, and advertising.

“What we see in this report is the future of video in the multi-media publisher’s arsenal of audience and advertiser engagement tools,” said Earl J. Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA. “The INMA Board of Directors last year identified video as potentially the No. 1 revenue growth opportunity for publishers. What our research found was that is true for early adopters. It may be true for others in outlying years, but to get there requires a clear plan for building inventory. That is key to audience engagement and monetization.”

“Making Video Pay Off for News Publishers” is available for free to INMA members and for US$395 to non-members. Complete information on this report may be found at www.inma.org/publications.

ARK IS FLOATING RIGHT ALONG

Last week, I mentioned that four newspapers — and now, five — have signed up for the ARK Network and that puts us at 102. It’s the largest participatory ad network we have.

And now comes news of probably a record FIVE ads placed in the network just for this week. We’ve survived along over the years with one or two a week, maybe three once in a while, but for some reason ARK is really taking off this year.

We began this network in mid-year 1996 after asking the Board to give it a chance. By the end of the year, I think the Board was ready to ditch it because we had placed no ads in the first six months. But within two or three years, it had grown to $100,000 placement a year and most of that goes to newspapers. Now it’s reaching new levels.

MEMBERSHIP GROWING

Already this year, we’ve added a couple of new Associates members, one Associate Member Newspaper and we have requests from two other new newspapers for information about joining. Both contacted us asking to join. We have them send one copy of each of the first four issues so one has published two issues and the other one is just starting publication.

It’s nice when new publications contact us wanting to join instead of us having to beat the bushes trying to find any new publications or any new potential Associate members.

APRIL FOOL’S

No, that’s come and gone for this year. But every April Fool’s Day, I have to stop to think about Ron Daley, former owner/publisher/founder of the Troublesome Creek Times in Hindman.

Ron pulled some good ones on his subscribers and one that he did each year concerned the flavor of the ink. Yes, Ron offered subscribers their choice of ink to be used in printing the Troublesome Creek Times. The choices were chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. And some subscribers took the bait and picked their flavor of ink. But they weren’t too happy when they found out they had been “fooled.”

And those were mild objections to one I did at the Georgetown News and Times. It was actually on April 1 that we had an issue so thought I’d give the joke a try. The story that day was that then Scott County High basketball coach/now Georgetown Mayor Everette Varney had recruited a 7-footer from Nome, Alaska. He was an All-America but wanted to move to the lower 48 and decided to transfer to Scott County.

We had a picture of a guy in a Scott County uniform, leaning against the Scott County Courthouse. And his elbow was touching the cupola two and a half stories high. It was all in fun and we ended the story suggesting readers check today’s date. That got them the message it was an April Fool’s joke.

I have to give my dad credit for the idea from when he was sports editor at the Lexington Herald. He pulled the same stunt, that Adolph Rupp had recruited a 7-footer, also from Nome, Alaska, and had the guy in the Kentucky basketball jersey. He was leaning against the Fayette County Courthouse in much the same way as the one we published in the News & Times.

But a few of the News and Times readers were irate. One guy called the office and screamed, “Don’t you ever again joke about Scott County High basketball.”

Some people just can’t a joke.

Okay, with that, no April Fool’s jokes but as always call, email or stop by if you have questions, comments, concerns, issues, additions, deletions, clarifications or corrections.

And as always, thanx!!!

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