August 24, 2012

Tons and tons of news this week:

• Postal Rate Commission sides with USPS and Valassis on sweetheart mailing deal

• IRS scrutinizing newspaper/carrier independent contractor status?

• KPA Fall Contest — mostly the same with one new category!

• AG opinions support KPA’s position on taxing districts publishing some financial information and list of officers

• Electronic subscriptions will count toward paid circulation

Some really big news so let’s get on with it:

 

ADVERTISING PLACEMENT TOTAL – $3,738,324.09 and continuing to grow

NATIONAL NEWSPAPER WEEK – October 7 – 13nnw-2012-231x300

Newspapers: The Cornerstone of Your Community

So there you have the logo and the theme for National Newspaper Week – 2012. Mike MacLaren, my counterpart at Michigan Press Association, is coordinating this year’s NNWeek and says materials – stories, editorials, cartoons, a crossword puzzle, etc. – will be available in early September. Those materials will be made available to all Kentucky newspapers. We’ll post everything somewhere on our website and notify newspapers when it’s been uploaded.

PRC SIDES WITH USPS; SAYS NEWSPAPERS ARE JUST A MONOPOLY

You should already know that the USPS has offered Valassis a sweetheart deal on mailing, an idea that flies in the face of newspapers. Yesterday, the Postal Rate Commission announced its decision and voted 4-1 in favor of USPS/Valassis and against the newspaper industry, an industry it says is just a monopoly.

If you’d like a copy of the PRC’s decision, let me know. I have it in pdf format. It is 57 pages, however.

I’m sure we’ll hear more today from the National Newspaper Association but here’s a statement from the Newspaper Association of America:

Arlington, Va. – The Newspaper Association of America is stunned by the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission’s decision today to approve an anti-competitive and damaging negotiated services agreement (or special contract rate) between the U.S. Postal Service and Valassis Direct Mail.

“NAA believes this decision is contrary to law, and will challenge it immediately and vigorously in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,” said NAA Chairman James M. Moroney III, CEO and publisher of The Dallas Morning News.

Prior to the decision, NAA and its members called on Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe to acknowledge the overwhelming opposition expressed by the newspaper industry and others in the mailing community during this proceeding, and urged him to withdraw this special deal that benefits only one mailer.

As NAA’s comments filed with the PRC noted, granting this special rate to one major competitor in the mailing business will cause significant financial harm to newspapers throughout the country, and will not improve the financial condition of the nation’s postal system.

“In reaching this decision, the Postal Regulatory Commission ignored the many compelling comments it received objecting to a profoundly anti-competitive proposal,” said Caroline H. Little, NAA president and CEO. “In fact, the Public Representative appointed by the Commission itself to represent the views of the general public pointed out that this is the ‘first NSA that is designed to manipulate prices and to alter the balance of market forces.’ The Public Representative also said that ‘this NSA as currently structured is a lose-lose proposition for both the newspaper industry and the Postal Service.’

“The nation’s newspapers and the Postal Service share a long history of working together to keep Americans informed and connected with one another,” Little added. “The Postal Service should focus on cutting costs and getting the mail delivered on time – and not on using rates to confer a significant and unwarranted advantage on one competitor at the expense of an entire industry. This special arrangement calls into question whether the Postal Service should offer these types of deals in the first place.”

A DAY IN THE LIFE…. 

of a Press News Service director. Wednesday’s numbers show what David Greer’s been doing.

35 stories were posted by 1:50 p.m. and climbed to 38 by 5 p.m.

Of the early 35 stories, 21 came from 14 different weekly newspapers. And he scraped another 14 stories from seven dailies.

And those numbers didn’t include scraping editorials, which he did later in the day.

AND A REMINDER     

I don’t sit here looking for the KPNS update but like participating newspapers, I get an email notifying me the stories are available.

But you don’t have to sit around waiting. He’s constantly updating the daily budgets so instead of waiting for an email from David just go to the KPNS website and check for the recent stories. There are times when the email notifying newspapers the stories are posted, can get lost or delayed. Remembering to check means your less reliant on an email getting through.

MEMBERSHIP GROWING?    

Maybe. One really interested, one said “Send me the info” because she was with a full member newspaper recently and another we just learned about.

The first two would be Associate Member Newspapers – SOKY Happenings (Southern Kentucky) in Bowling Green which was recently purchased by Tim and Twila Hurst. Tim was publisher at Benton and then Glasgow. Tim, I’m certain, will join. Also, Lorie Love Hailey, former editor of the Richmond Register, is now online editor of The Lane Report in Lexington and asked for my sales pitch to become an Associate Member Newspaper.

Lastly, the Carlisle Courier in Carlisle the city, not Carlisle the county, is eligible to be a full member. It’s been in business almost two years. I/We didn’t know it existed until earlier this week when Al Cross copied me on an email from Stephen Scalf, editor of The Courier. I saw where he was nearing two years in business so I’ve made an initial contact about joining KPA.

Hopefully, by the start of 2013, we’ll have one or two new Associate Member Newspapers and one new full member.

CONTEST FINALIZED AND ALMOST READY 

The KPA News Editorial Division, aka KPA News Contest Committee, met by conference call last Friday to finalize the Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers – 2012 competition. One category was added, none were taken away and just a few minor cosmetic changes were in order.

The new category is Best Sports SPECIAL Section and will be in the Design categories area. That gives us 28 categories for 2012. We’ll evaluate the number of entries in various categories this year and discuss any changes/adjustments needed for next year.

We’ll be posting all contest materials in the next few days. An email will be sent to editors and publishers giving them the contest URL. Entry deadline will be Friday, October 19.

WOODY AND CHLOE: SCRAPBOOKS, CDs, PODCAST AND ACTIVITIES       

The CDs for “Unleashed,” the 2012 Fall Chapter Series featuring Woody and Chloe, were mailed Wednesday afternoon to the 64 newspapers scheduled to run it, beginning September 9. We’ve picked up about 25,000 scrapbooks and will be delivering those in the next few days to several newspapers; others have been shipped from the Herald-Leader. So if you ordered scrapbooks for your elementary schools, watch for a KPA staffer at your door, or a shipment to be made soon.

The series runs for 10 weeks.

INTERNS’ ‘WHAT I DID THIS SUMMER’ ARTICLES WILL BE ONLINE SOON           

Perhaps even next week. Of the 22, 20 of them have turned in their homework. We’ll give the other two to the first of the week then we’ll post all the stories. It appears all of them enjoyed their 10-week internship, are grateful to the newspaper or Associates company and KPA for the opportunity and hopefully will give a career in public relations or newspapers serious consideration upon graduation.

We’ll notify you when the stories are available so you can read about these interns.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS AND THE IRS

Word came yesterday that the IRS might start scrutinizing the relationship of newspapers with carriers under independent contractor arrangements. Apparently this happened once before, sometime in the early 1990s and indications recently are that the IRS isn’t satisfied with the agreements/arrangements between newspapers and carriers.

The IRS has three criteria used to determine whether a carrier, or other contracted entity, is an independent contractor. Believe me, those three are much, much better than the nine “tests” the state of Kentucky uses. And as you know, in Kentucky everything points to carriers being “employees” of newspapers, regardless of the arm’s length relationships.

I saw the story yesterday on one of the national media links I get but can’t find it now. I will continue searching and if you’re interested in knowing more, and I can find the story or link, let me know.

ADVERTISING

Looks like August, 2012, will remain the fourth highest August in KPS placement history. We’re at $411,621.44 for the month, about $76,000 behind the third highest one. With one reporting week left, I just don’t see us getting close to that mark. The top two Augusts are way out of reach for any record to be set.

And with $21,929.30 already in-house for September, our yearly total is $3.738 million. We should safely secure the second highest annual total. We’re within $9,000 of 2006’s 12-month total; within $31,000 of last year’s annual amount; and $600,000 of 2008’s $4.343 million. I think we all wish the $6 million from 2010 is breakable and some year it will be. But don’t see it happening this year.

AN UPDATE ON TAXING DISTRICTS 

I have mentioned before that our interpretation of KRS 424.110 would be that the term “districts,” used to define a public agency would include the special districts State Auditor Adam Edelen is interested in investigating. And if that term “districts” includes those, then they should be publishing at least some financial information in newspapers.

A survey of just a few KPA members shows maybe library and hospital boards are, though even few of them do.

I had Ashley Pack do some research and she’s come across four AG opinions that support our position! When she mentioned they dated to the early 1980s, my concern was whether these were done prior to July, 1982. That’s important because in July of that year is when a greatly revised Public Notice Advertising Law went into effect. So had the opinions come before that date, they would have been based on the old law and most probably not applicable to the new law.

However, all four a since July, 1982, so all four as still viable and valuable. One, however, on district health departments, explains those do not collect taxes, but get their funding from state and federal sources and therefore are not subject to the financial summary requirements. But one sentence helps reinforce our interpretation. The opinion states that if a district imposes no taxes or charges upon the public, then it’s not a taxing district and not subject to the provision. The flip side of that sentence would mean that any of the 43 types of special districts that do impose a tax or a charge upon the public are then subject to the provisions.

You need two state statutes to link together – KRS 65 that defines these districts and what each must publish KRS 424 that sets out how these are to published. Give me a little time (a couple of days) to download all the language in KRS 65 and related provisions in KRS 424 and we’ll make them available. You’ll be notified by email and I should be able to attach the laws in the emails. Those will be sent to the publishers list serve and the ad managers list serve.

And if I was a publisher, when I get those statutes, I’d read through them, work with my news and ad staff to identify special districts in my county, then notify them what must be published. And on the newsroom side, I think I would inform the heads of the district that they are subject to KRS 61, the Open Meetings and Open Records law, and simply ask, “Now when are your regular meetings and where?”

WINTER CONVENTION – 2013 STYLE

I’m starting to put the agenda together for the programming on Thursday and Friday, January 24-25 and am getting some more specifics from the speakers. We normally have all sessions planned for 90-minute blocks but I think some are conducive to 60-minute sessions. Those we’ll probably lump together in one room, so there’s constant programming going on. I want all the speakers and sessions to have sufficient time but I think a few will work at 60 minutes. I mean gee, sitting in church for an hour, the preacher sure says a lot and time often seems to go slow, so I think we have some speakers that can get through their presentations in that time length.

IT’S CLOSE TO NOMINATION SEASON         

I told you two or three weeks ago about nominations being accepted for the Lewis Owens Community Service award, and now comes notice of nominations being accepted for the Gish Award.

Back to the Lewis Owens award for a minute. This award is given annually by the Lexington Herald-Leader to a newspaper person or newspaper for outstanding community service. To make a nomination, send that as a letter giving background to the community service the person or newspaper has performed and mail it to Tom Caudill, Lexington Herald-Leader, 100 Midland Avenue, Lexington KY 40508.

Now back to the Gish Award, given annually by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. Here’s some information from Al Cross about the award and how to make a nomination.

Nominations due Oct. 1 for Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism

The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues seeks nominations by Oct. 1 for the Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism. Last year’s winners were Stanley Nelson (right) and the weekly Concordia Sentinel of Ferriday, La., for investigating an unsolved murder from the civil-rights era, naming and interviewing a living suspect. (Read more)

The award is named for Tom and Pat Gish, who published The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., for more than 51 years. Tom died in 2008; Pat has health issues but remains publisher, and their son Ben is editor. The Gishes have withstood advertiser boycotts, business competition, declining population, personal attacks, and even the burning of their office to give their readers the kind of journalism often lacking in rural areas. The family won the 2010 Eugene Cervi Award from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, and Tom and Pat Gish were the first winners of the award named for them.

Other winners of the Gish award have been the Ezzell family of The Canadian (Tex.) Record, in 2007; Jim Prince and Stanley Dearman, current and former publishers of The Neshoba Democrat of  Philadelphia, Miss., in 2008; Samantha Swindler, editor-publisher of the Headlight Herald in Tillamook, Ore., in 2010 for work as editor of the Corbin, Ky., Times-Tribune and managing editor of the Jacksonville (Tex.) Daily Progress .

The Insitute seeks nominations that measure up, in major respects, to the previous winners. Nominations should explaining how the nominees show the kind of exemplary courage, tenacity and integrity that the Gishes demonstrated. Documentation does not have to accompany the nomination, but is helpful in choosing finalists, and additional documentation may be neded.

Nomination letters should be postmarked by Oct. 1 and mailed to: Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, 122 Grehan Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042. Questions may be directed to Institute Director Al Cross at 859-257-3744 or al.cross@uky.edu.

ELECTRONIC SUBSCRIPTIONS COUNT TOWARD PAID CIRCULATION        

There’s much more on this in a column by our favorite postal guru, Max Heath, and if you email me I’ll send you a pdf of his Publisher’s Auxiliary column in June. Much more detailed information and it would be valuable to you to read through that. So minus a very long Friday Email segment, I’m giving you a straightforward article. And if you want to read Max’s discourse (the dictionary defines that as something written or spoken authoritatively and who’s more of an authority on postal than Maximillion?), just let me know and I’ll send you his NNA column.

So here’s the article, enough to whet your appetite on wanting to read Max’s column.

New postal form 3526 revised for electronic subscriptions

Thanks to the work of the National Newspaper Association, effective October 1 newspapers will be able to include electronic subscriptions on their annual postal Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation, PS form 3526. The goal of this change is to allow community newspapers, where the only audit is the sworn statement printed in their paper each October, to have the ability to “level the playing fi eld” with audited dailies that count e-subscriptions.

In addition, it allows distant subscribers whose service has gone from bad to worse to read the news on a timely basis and still be counted, just as non-mailed single copy sales, bulk sales and Newspaper in Education copies count.

Reporting electronic subscriptions is optional. If you choose to do so, the rules are as follows:

1. Copies of e-publications that may be counted toward a publication’s eligibility for Periodicals prices:

a. Must be paid at a price above nominal rate for publications approved in the General category. According to NNA postal expert, Max Heath, the nominal rate is defi ned as 30 percent of the basic price for the term being purchased. Printed records of payment should be kept.

b. Must be requested in writing or by electronic correspondence for publications approved in the Requester category.

2. Access to electronic copies of a Periodicals publication offered in conjunction with printed copies of the same issues may not be counted when determining total circulation for the publication. In other words, only one copy can be counted for a print and e-subscription to the same individual or household.

3. At least 40 percent of the total circulation of each issue must consist of printed copies.

4. Publications for which at least 60 percent of total circulation consists of printed copies to subscribers or requesters, as applicable, will be exempt from annual circulation audits.

5. If less than 60 percent of a Periodicals publication’s total circulation consists of printed copies distributed to subscribers or requesters, as applicable, annual Postal audits must be conducted by a certified audit bureau.

SCHEDULE NEXT WEEK        

Monday I have blood work to be done at 9:30 in Lexington. I’ll be in early, leave here about 8:45 and should be back in the office by 10:30/10:45.

Tuesday, I have a 10 a.m. meet with Leigh Ann Thacker and Carl Breeding, a lobbyist, to talk about worker’s comp situations and how KPA can join in with any coalition seeking changes in the law.

Wednesday, I have a lunch meeting here in Frankfort and I think I’m clear the rest of the week. Of course, the following week, we’ll be closed on Monday, September 3 for Labor Day.

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS         

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

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

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