August 10, 2012

Unlike Tony Bennett, I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco so I’m back in the office with another Weekly Update. This week’s edition includes:

• some notes from the NAM Convention and our emphasis on “Staying Relevant in a Changing Industry”

• are you charging for obits? Funeral homes probably are and pocketing your money if you’re not

• Toyotas (Camry and Prius) seem to be the vehicle of choice for San Fran’s taxis

• KPA’s Legal Defense Fund celebrates 16th anniversary with $463,000 in reimbursements

• will The Oregonian be the next metro daily to cut back or cease printed publication days?


We have our first KPA App, courtesy of New Media Director David Spencer. We had gotten proposals to spend $5000 to $8000 for a KPA App and David was able to design one that didn’t cost anything

It’s website-based but when you “Add to Home Screen” on your iPhone, it looks, feels and acts like an App. David has a friend with an Android and had him test it. He says it functions the same as the one on the iPhone though it’s slightly cosmetically different.

Our first one is the Reporter’s Guide to Open Meetings and Open Records. That’s the long piece, folded up that we’ve done for reporters to keep in their billfolds. Now they will have it on their phone.

To put it on your iPhone:

a. go to in your iPhone’s browser

b. when that shows up, save it as “Add to Home Screen”

c. then check where your other apps are located and you should see KPA/FOI. That’s it!!

Be sure to share this with all your reporters so they have everything they need to know about Open Meetings and Open Records on their cell phone.

Questions? Feel free to email David Spencer at or call him at 800-264-5721.


I sent an email to editors yesterday and also shared the app with my NAM colleagues around the state and U.S.

Some comments:

That is fantastic.  I’m going to copy you.  😉  Thanks, David.

Laurie Hieb – Executive Director
Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association

Wow – that is plain awesome!!!!

Beth Grace – North Carolina Press Association


That says a lot and that’s why it was the first session on the Newspaper Association Managers Convention last week in SanFran. Tony Casale, who has done some sessions for KPA and some readership studies through his company American Opinion Research, did a national survey of daily and weekly newspapers for the NAM members. Some 386 publishers nationwide participated in the survey.

Some interesting points and these are those executives responding

• The top problem facing newspapers – 23 percent said advertising; 19 percent said declining readership; 17 percent New Media/More Options; 16 percent said public perception of newspapers; 15 percent said financial/monetary concerns

And in relation to that question, what can press associations do to help? – 20 percent said promote/advocate for newspapers; 19 percent sad provide more training; and then in single digit percentages were sell more advertising, foster networking, provide readership statistics, encourage paywalls; focus on smaller newspapers; help evolve a new business model.

But the most interesting percentage to that question was 43 percent said they didn’t know what state press associations could do to help.

• What is your newspaper doing to remain relevant in today’s media environment? – 41 percent said more focus on local news; 33 percent said more focus on digital; 22 percent said enhanced content; 10 percent said adapting to social media

And in relation to that question, what can press association do to help? – 35 percent said more training/workshops; 23 percent said promote/advocate for newspapers; and 33 percent said they didn’t know.

In both of these two areas, the “more training” answers are puzzling. Attendance is down substantially, not just in Kentucky but also across the U.S., for seminars and even some convention programs. With that in mind and comments from our members to provide webinars so the travel and registration costs are minimized, we’re still not seeing much interest. KPA is working with other state press associations on providing three or four webinars a month, at a $35 fee, and still we will get only one or two Kentucky newspapers participating.

In the KPA Strategic Plan survey from 2009, members requested we conduct identical seminars in two parts of the state to help with travel costs yet doing those in 2010 and 2011 resulted in more declining attendance. We’d be glad to provide training and we’d be glad to do two or three identical workshops across the state to help offset travel costs but we have to know there’s interest. So it is interesting that the responses (and of the 386 every state was represented in responding) show a need for more training but little participation when it was available.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, especially any commitment to send staff members if we’ll make training available.


With the NAM Convention theme being “Staying Relevant to a Changing Industry,” Tony also asked those executives about the relevancy of newspapers.

Comparing today to five years ago, 29 percent said newspapers are more relevant today than then; 22 percent said less relevant; and 47 percent said “about the same.”

Then asked, will newspapers be as relevant five years from now as today, the percentages were almost identical in all three areas.

And if you’d like to see the complete survey results – questions along with how respondents answered – just let me know. It’s a 16-page pdf and readily available for me to send to you.


If you want training for yourself or your staff, three opportunities are coming through webinars sponsored by KPA and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.

The Kentucky Press Association, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the Iowa Newspaper Foundation have scheduled an August 30 online webinar, ‘Online Promotions: Tapping into a New Revenue Source.’ It’s scheduled for 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern/1 to 2 p.m. Central. For information, go to before August 27.

Also watch for information on these future webinars, co-sponsored by KPA:

How to Pursue an Investigative Project While Juggling Other Stories, Erin Jordan with Cedar Rapids Gazette — September 13

Digital Monetization: The Five Faces of a Multi-Media Salesperson, Rachel Sinclair of Core Principles Consulting — September 14


If you’re going to San Francisco (boy that would be a great way to start a song), and need to hail a taxi, chances are pretty good you’ll be hailing a Toyota Camry made in Georgetown, KY! There are only 500 taxis licensed to do business in the city by the bay (another good phrase for a song) and many are Toyota Camrys. And if you don’t get a Camry, then count on a Toyota Prius to take you where you want to get. Toyotas seemingly outdistance the Ford Escape, about the only three types of taxis you’ll see.

Hail Toyota!

MORE THAN $463,000!!

That’s a pretty good sum. And it’s the amount – well, to be precise, $463,285.11 – that KPA has reimbursed to newspapers participating in the KPA Legal Defense Fund. We celebrated 16 years of the fund on August 1 so I wanted to get an idea of how much we’ve paid those newspapers that have been in legal situations where the outcome could affect the industry as a whole.

It’s our largest participatory network, with 94 newspapers making “contributions” through deductions from the monthly KPS advertising checks. Newspapers were asked to commit at least one-quarter page of advertising placed by KPS, with the dollars at national ad rates put into the Legal Defense Fund.

The fund was the brainchild of the late Steve Lowery, who worried about newspapers not having the financial resources to take on protracted legal battles involving public agencies. After all, the public agencies had an endless amount of taxpayer dollars to do battle; newspapers didn’t enjoy that advantage. Of course, public agencies didn’t worry about using tax dollars for these battles. The money was NOT coming from their pocketbook.

So Happy Birthday, LDF, and thanks Steve Lowery. Soon, the fund will be approaching a half-million dollars reimbursed to newspapers to fight those battles.


A couple of weeks ago, the 17 graduating classes from Georgetown High held the second reunion of students who attended GHS between 1959 and 1975. One of my friends told me at the reunion she had found copies of “The Buffalo,” the Gtown High student newspaper from my senior year (1965) when I was sports editor.

Back in those days, we didn’t sell advertising, everything was typed on Smith Corona portable typewriters and the newspaper was mimeographed (you young folks can ask some of the old folks what Smith Corona portable typewriters and a mimeograph machine were).

I had three stories on the eight pages, all three about the baseball team. I guess I thought the longer the story, the better the story was. Not that they were more than four or five inches long, but some of the wording. In one story, the paragraph begins, “In establishing the win, Coach George Lusby used three pitchers.”

Do what? “In establishing the win…” What the heck does that mean? I guess it sounded good at the time.

Back then, the closest thing we had to a journalism class was typing class so if you could type you were on The Buffalo staff. It was funny to almost embarrassing how the stories were written.

Oh well, when Pete Rose was a rookie, Ted Kluzewski was giving him some instructions on how to bat. Big Klu had the batting practice pitcher throw some balls. Big Klu took three swings and missed each time. Rose started giggling to which Klu turned and said, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

So don’t judge any pointers I give by the way I wrote stories 47 years ago. I’ve learned a little since then.


It says things like “Mark your entry in a red pen” and “Staple tearsheets together to make one entry.” Well under the old system of entering the actual tearsheets those were pertinent instructions. But with the electronic entry process, it’s kinda hard to mark in red or staple your pdf together.

So those kinds of things, as well as a general examination of the categories and rules, mean we needed to get the KPA News Editorial Division members involved. They’re in the process now of reading through all the materials in preparation for a conference call on August 17.

Got a content category suggestion? Remember anything we need to improve on? Just email me your thoughts and ideas and I’ll pass them along.


Kentucky’s most popular dachshunds scheduling secretary (Leigh Anne Florence) have announced their traveling schedules for August and tentative plans for the fall. They might be coming to a school or public library near you.

Wednesday, August 22 Western Elementary (Ohio county)

Thursday, August 23 Southern Elementary (Ohio county)

September is still coming together.

October includes schools in Grant, Union, Fayette and Daviess counties in Kentucky and also one event in Evansville, Indiana

November includes Madison, Taylor, and Washington counties in Kentucky


For 13 months, Paul and Sara Steinle traveled 31,000 miles and visited all 50 states, collecting anec­dotes from newspaper reporters, publishers and online digital news managers. Their interviews are as­sembled on:, and organized and edited in a 230-page volume to tell the story of the professional values of 91 journalists.

In Kentucky, they choose the Mountain Eagle with its “It Screams” and then “It Still Screams” masthead motto. Go to for the article on Tom, Pat, Ben Gish and family.

If you’d like a copy of Paul and Sara’s 230-page publication that features all the interviews, you can order one at:


Look at the Board lineup of the Newspaper Association Managers group and I think you’ll agree the Southeast has a stronghold with four serving as officers. The group of state, regional and press associations in the U.S. and Canada held its convention last week in San Francisco.

Dean Ridings, president & CEO of the Florida Press Association, was elected president of NAM for the 2012-13 fiscal year, succeeding Doug Anstaett of the Kansas Press Association, who becomes immediate past president.

Mike MacLaren of Michigan was elected vice president and Greg Sherrill, Tennessee Press Association, was elected secretary.

Robin Rhodes, Georgia Press Association, was elected to the Board of Directors for a three-year term expiring 2015.  Holdover board members are Lisa Hills of Minnesota and Layne Bruce of Mississippi.   Morley L. Piper, longtime NAM clerk, continues in that role.

Then consider that four current Southeast executive directors – Ginger Stanley, Virginia; Felicia Mason, Alabama; Pam Mitchell, Louisiana; and yours truly – have already served as president of the international organization. And with Bill Rogers of South Carolina having served on the Board, all but two of the Southeastern states are or have recently had an officer on the NAM Board.

NAM is the group that started National Newspaper Week 60-some years ago. For 2012, NNWeek will be October 7 – 13. We’ll have the packet of stories, editorials, cartoons and crossword puzzles in the near future.


Most elementary-age children are interested in space exploration.

But how often do they find information about the very latest space discoveries and space technologies written especially for them?

The short monthly columns provided by NASA’s award-winning Space Place outreach program give newspaper editors a no-cost source of accurate, up-to-date, and highly readable information for their youngest readers. The columns are about 300 words and include a high-resolution image with a suggested caption to support and enhance the text. They are written at 4th or 5th grade level.

The columns are offered free of charge. But editors are asked to send in a tear sheet each time an article is used.

If you would like to receive this monthly column for use in your publication, please contact Laura Lincoln at or (818) 393-5936.


We were frettin,’ we being Kriss Johnson, Leigh Anne Florence, Woody and Chloe, primarily. Through Wednesday morning, the number of newspapers signed up for the 10-week series, “Unleashed,” had held steady at 42. That’s half of where we peaked a few years ago, but still it fell about 20 short of recent years.

Hark! You responded when we pushed the button and 10 signed up during the day Wednesday and we’re expecting a few more. So Kriss’ desire to “Can we get at least 50?” has been realized and now she says Woody won’t be happy till we get to 60!

And through yesterday afternoon, we were at 59! Actually, that should be 60. Mike Scogin at Georgetown emailed to say the News-Graphic will be running the series but will print their own scrapbooks.


I’ve mentioned before that the convention program is almost complete and that should be done by the end of the month. That’s four months before we usually have speakers and sessions lined up for a January meeting. But with input from members and speakers contacting us with program offerings we’re directed to search for, everything’s fallen into place.

I’m not ready to give you the times of each program, perhaps maybe not even the exact day. Let’s just say, plan on attending sessions Thursday afternoon, January 24, and all day Friday, January 25. Because with the number of programs lined up, it’s going to take more people for you to send to attend everything you’ll want to hear about.

And everything will be at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, on Broadway at Fourth Street and just a long jump from the Courier-Journal and Times building.


I heard about this at the Newspaper Association Managers last week when we had an open discussion on items not yet covered. Seems in one of the states, newspapers are balancing the idea of charging for obits or not. David Greer’s done a couple of stories on this with Kentucky newspapers and each time the number of newspapers doing that has increased.

But at the NAM discussion, one of my colleagues mentioned some of his newspapers found out funeral homes were including publication costs of the obit in their funeral expenses. Whether or not the local newspaper charged, didn’t make a difference. The funeral home saw this as an expense it could charge. If the newspaper charged, that’s fine, the cost is covered. If the newspaper didn’t charge, that’s even better because the funeral home kept the money.

One of the LinkedIn groups I’m monitoring is Local Newspapers. I don’t often respond on these but read the comments in case there are any ideas I can pass along to our members. I did respond to the originator, in this case, sending her the story David Greer did two years ago.

But yesterday morning one newspaper in the LinkedIn group gave an interesting piece of information. It reads:

“Yes we used to run obits free too, and for many years. Noble right? News right? Then I hired a girl whose father-in-law owned the funeral home. They had been charging people for years to write and run obituaries in local papers! This was in addition to the funeral costs – and we all know what those are like. Ah, now we charge and don’t feel bad about it at all.

So if you’re charging for obits, don’t feel so bad about it. And if you aren’t, well you might just be letting the local funeral home(s) pocket your money.


With my colleagues from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana in attendance, we talked for a while at the NAM Convention about the Newhouse Inc., news that changed some newspapers from metro dailies to three times a week. The change is in process. It has already been made in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

And there may be another newspaper changing. Reports yesterday were that The Oregonian will be following suit in the future and going from metro daily to digital. It wasn’t clear from the story as to whether The Oregonian would continue a print edition a few days a week or go strictly digital. There’s an ownership connection between those papers in the Southeast and The Oregonian.


Want to nominate your publisher as Publisher of the Year to Editor & Publisher? Let me know and I’ll forward you the file that includes a link to complete the nomination. It’s open for all publishers, worldwide, large or small newspapers.


And that reminds me to mention that nominations are being accepted by the Lexington Herald-Leader for its Lewis Owens Community Service award. Many of you knew Lewis Owens, former president and publisher of the Herald-Leader and 1984 KPA President. Lewis was the model of community service by a newspaper person.

If you know of someone in the business, or even a newspaper as a whole, that has done an outstanding job of community service, please contact Rufus Friday – — or Tom Caudill — — and relay the information to them.


We have a good start to August, in the second week, with $293,509.58 and that pulls the 2012 total to $3.598 million. This same period in 2011 we had finally reached the $2 million mark. So we remain above every year, except 2010.


We’re in the process of getting articles from the 2012 interns about “What I did this summer,” working for KPA newspapers and KPA Associates members. We hope to put those articles online in the next couple of weeks, if we can get them all to submit one.

The goal of this program is to give college students a real-world experience, outside what they learn in the classroom and think a newspaper job might be like. It’s succeeded. Most every intern has had positive experiences, enjoyed those 10 weeks and it’s helped them solidify their decision to go into journalism. We’ll let you know when the stories are posted.


Currently Underway – Judging Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Advertising Contest (electronically)

Currently Getting Started – Judging New Mexico Press Association News Content (electronically)

Thursday, August 16, 2012 – David T. – Visiting Dennis Brown at the Lewis County Herald and some Northeastern Kentucky newspapers

Friday, August 17, 2012 – Conference Call with KPA News Editorial Division to Preview Fall News Contest

Monday, September 3, 2012 – KPA Central Office Closed – Labor Day

October 7 – 13, 2012 – National Newspaper Week

Sunday-Monday-Tuesday, October 14-15-16, 2012 – 2012 Southeast Region Newspaper Association Managers Conference, Marriott RiverCenter, Covington

Thursday-Friday, October 18-19, 2012 – 2012 KPA Fall Board Retreat, Rough River State Park

October 19, 2012 – Probable Deadline for Entering Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers – 2012 Competition

December 2 – 4, 2012 – Newspaper Association Managers Legislative Conference, Keybridge Marriott, Arlington, VA

January 24 – 25, 2013 – 2013 KPA Winter Convention, The Brown Hotel, Louisville

August 6 – 9, 2012 – Newspaper Association Managers Annual Convention, Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia

January 23 – 24, 2014  – 2014 KPA Winter Convention, Hyatt Regency, Lexington

Sometime in 2017 – We’ve been asked to judge the Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest in 2017. Please hold the year open for further information on when, where and what media format Mississippi papers will be in that year.

Sometime in 2018 – Colorado judging KPA Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers Competition

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *