January 10, 2014

• Courier-Journal now part of KPNS

• We need judges, judges, judges for Florida and MDDC contests

• Gatlinburg in June sounding better with each snow, ice storm

• Highway fatality report taking on new look

• 486 bills filed but two Senate bills getting most attention

Courier-Journal joins KPNS

The note at the top of Thursday’s five news budgets for the Kentucky Press News Service carried this by David Greer:

“As of today, KPNS is comprised of 75 media outlets across Kentucky with the addition of The Courier-Journal in Louisville. — David Greer, KPNS”

The Courier-Journal has signed on the service and will be using stories from other KPNS newspapers as well as allowing those newspapers to use their stories. If you go to www.courier-journal.com and scroll to the bottom under NEWS on the left-hand side, click on Kentucky News and you’ll find the stories from across the state.

Or perhaps go directly to  http://www.courier-journal.com/viewint/article/99999999/NEWS01/140121003/Around-Bluegrass and there you will find KPNS’ budget stories.

As we have with some other newspapers, and will continue to do as the service grows, there are some things we won’t be able to or be restricted to not use: UK and UL athletics; stories only after they have appeared in the print edition of the Courier-Journal; and one legislative story a day.

If you’re interested in joining KPNS, contact David Greer at dgreer@kypress.com or give him a call at 800-264-5721.

We’re about to judge some contests and NEED YOUR HELP!

From Florida to Maryland/Delaware/DC, we have some contest judgings on the horizon. We are about to embark on judging the Florida Society of News Editor contest and about the same time we’ll be doing the MDDC Press Association’s news AND ad contest.

All three are done online so you don’t have to be out of the office for a day or so. You can do it at your desk or even at home.

PLEASE!! Let me know if you’re interested and haven’t already told me.

Doing contests electronically makes me miss the days of the physical tearsheets being entered and getting to do those or take those to another state. That meant traveling and don’t think for a minute, with the weather outside still frightful, I wouldn’t be headed to southern Florida to judge a contest.

E-meetings: Growing in number and no major problems so far?

Editor’s Note:   I saw a story in the last few days about e-meetings for the Webster County School Board. This prompted me to pass along the story to Jon Fleischaker and to Amye Bensenhaver at the Attorney General’s office. There apparently are about 70 school boards conducting e-meetings. If your school system is one of those, I’d be interested in knowing your observations and your thoughts on this “time and cost-saving” meeting method. I passed along a request to KPA Board member Regina Catlett to fill us in on the e-meeting process just undertaken at Webster County. This is her report:

The e-meetings for both Union and Webster County school boards consist of the board members having the agenda and all tabs electronically rather than on paper. Union County has been having e-meetings for about two years; Webster County just started.

The Union County board agenda is posted on their website and anyone can access that agenda.  I look at the agenda on the Friday before their board meeting then send an e-mail to request the information I want a hard copy of.  They always comply with my request.  In some cases, there is a link beside an agenda item and I can just use the link to retrieve the information I want.

Webster County just began e-meetings last week, but I received the normal hard copy packet for that meeting.  I asked at the meeting if I would be able to access the agenda on line and request hard copies of information.  The trainer from KSBA told me that there is a media link on their website so that I can access.  I have not tried that yet, but we received a new agenda today, so I plan to try it tomorrow.  The IT for Webster County has sent me a link so I can access the same information the board does (I hope)–I can provide you that link so you can see.

As far as communication taking place among board members via computer, I don’t know that it would happen any more frequently that it would without the e-meeting.  I don’t think there is anything that will allow them to communicate electronically during a meeting; they could do that through personal e-mail which is likely happening anyway.  The e-meeting format does allow an individual board member to make notes beside agenda items they want to ask questions about, but other board members cannot see those notes according to the trainers.

Both boards have a tech who is showing the e-meeting info on a white screen while the meeting is taking place so the public can follow along.  They all use i-Pads for these meetings and although I can’t see their iPads, the IT guy loaned me his to follow the last meeting and I saw no electronic interaction between members; I really don’t think the program is set up for them to be able to interact electronically at a meeting.

According to the KSBA folks, e-meetings are a way for a district to save money because board packets sometimes contain several hundred pages of information, especially if a policy is begin changed.

While my relationship with these two boards is very different than some boards’ relationship with the media, I think for the most part everything is on the up and up.  The superintendent in UC is very open with me and has never asked me not to print something.  If I ask she answers.  It is not unusual for the WC board chair to call me after a meeting to discuss the events at that meeting; he, too, has been very open in answering my questions.  Both boards know that I carry the open meetings/records laws with me and won’t hesitate to call their hand, so I don’t think they will abuse the e-meeting.

Basically, I see it as a way for them to follow the agenda without turning over papers and quite frankly, I’m not sure very many of them are tech savvy enough to do anything illegal–they don’t take the iPads home, but they can access KSBA from their own computers.

You might also want to know that some other agencies such as Ohio County fiscal court are having e-meetings and are using KSBA as the agency to provide that program.

Tax plan includes some services but not advertising

The governor publicly unveiled his tax reform proposal earlier this week, meeting with legislative leaders on Monday before announcing the specifics on Tuesday. You’ve no doubt read some of the stories about what his tax reform package includes. And you might notice a “Tax on Services” is included.

We’ve fought the battle twice before on a services tax because previous attempts were all-encompassing and included advertising. This package though would tax only a few services and advertising is not part of the plan.

An ad tax is another tax on business. It’s been tried very unsuccessfully in a couple of states and there’s no reason to think anyone in Kentucky can figure out how to make it work. For newspapers, an ad tax would create double-taxation, as I’ve told committees in the past, because the product (circulation) is already taxed and an ad tax would tax what’s in the product.

It’s worth noting that the last push on this, by the late Gov. Wallace Wilkinson, could have actually created a five-layer ad tax. It included the tax on the business, a tax on layout and design, a tax on an ad agency if one is used, a tax on our own placement service if the ad was placed through KPS, a tax on the newspaper.

The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Tax Reform Commission recommended a tax on some limited services and it appears the governor’s package goes along with the commission’s recommendations. The commission did not include advertising in its list of services.

It’s doubtful the legislature will go along with the tax reform package but when the General Assembly is in session, anything can happen. So stay tuned!

KPA Convention: ‘A warm welcome, fantastic seminars’

From GeoTel/Newz Group publication, the company that operates KPA’s public notice website:

Newz Group’s Ian Buchanan and Melissa Oribhabor attended the Kentucky Press Association convention last month as a sponsor and vendor. Not only was this a

Teresa LeNeave, the West Kentucky News in Paducah, chats with Ian Buchanan with the Newz Group

Teresa LeNeave, the West Kentucky News in Paducah, chats with Ian Buchanan with the Newz Group

great opportunity to speak with newspaper publishers, reporters and editors from across the state, but there were also a series of fantastic seminars. Additionally, KPA welcomed a new president, Scott Schurz, Jr.

The warm welcome we received from the KPA and its members more than made up for the cold Kentucky weather that greeted us upon arrival. Newz Group would like to thank the KPA for inviting us to attend and showing us such a great time!

NIE Week 2014: A new curriculum resource and more

From American Press Institute

As we approach News in Education Week (March 3 – 7), we wanted to highlight our curriculum resource created for 2014, Introduction to News Literacy (PDF). This curriculum is a condensed and modernized version of the High Five 2012 curriculum, offering three units of media literacy activities and lessons. Each unit takes about one or two weeks of class time.

Here are some of the lessons and activities from Introductory News Literacy that we suggest educators might break out as special NIE Week classroom activities:

•     Media’s purposes and the “why” of media (activity)

•     Text structures in the newspaper and constructing content (activity)

•     The First Amendment and school-based publications

•     Quotations and interviewing and asking the right question (activity)

•     Who are the readers?

Introductory News Literacy is one of many resources available for educators, NIE coordinators and others interested in teaching youth about news and the news-making process. If you’re interested in what else we offer, take a look at our youth news literacy archives.

Some highlighted resources that may also be of use:

•     News as the first rough draft of history, and what’s news where? (+ corresponding Common Core standards)

•     Media literacy: evaluating the news and understanding where it comes from (+ corresponding Common Core standards)

•     A good read: Literacy strategies with newspapers

Coinciding with NIE Week, API will additionally be publishing new pieces in its Good Questions series pertaining to original ideas and successful projects around youth involvement in news.

In 2014, API will also be building a new website for youth interested in news. For more updates on what’s in store, consider joining our NIE listserv or subscribing to our API newsletter of industry must-reads, Need to Know.

Have questions about the resources or ideas about youth and news programs? Contact API Program Coordinator Kevin Loker at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.or

Ready for summer? Spend part of it in Gatlinburg

Then mark your calendar for June 5-7. That’s the officially unofficial Kentucky Press Association convention with the Tennessee Press Association. Knowing how KPA members respond to offers to go to Gatlinburg, TPA is inviting KPA newspapers to its summer convention. We won’t have a KPA program as such, but you’ll be able to sit in on TPA’s program and partake of the extra curricular activities.

TPA is having its winter convention this week so when the staff recuperates from that, they’ll start focusing on the summer convention schedule. And once they share it with me, I’ll make sure you’re informed. The convention will be headquartered at the Doubletree Park Vista. That’s the huge circular hotel overlooking downtown Gatlinburg.

I guess TPA’s winter convention wasn’t interrupted by the bad winter weather. But the Hoosier State Press Association didn’t fare as well. HSPA announced it’s postponing its winter convention and rescheduling for September. Now, that’s playing it safe!!

Highway fatality report from KSP/COT takes new look

And it’s nothing like the news release KSP used to send.

Take a look at the new format —


Speaking of the Transportation Cabinet…

Have you taken at look at the 2014-2020 Kentucky road plan. The state develops a six-year road plan that is nothing more than a Christmas list of projects the state would like to do. It’s not the gospel plan until the legislature appropriates the money and I’m willing to bet there are some projects that have been on it longer than six years. When the legislature develops the next two-year budget, that’s when you know what projects probably will be done. But the legislature can only appropriate funds for a two-year period. So take the six-year plan with a grain of salt and then wait til the budget is approved before seeing what will take place.

But if you’re antsy, you can find the cabinet’s wish list by going to http://www.transportation.ky.gov then searching for Six-Year Road Plan

I would have given you the link but it’s a 139-page pdf. By going to the site you can scroll through to find the county/counties you want.

Stan Mckinney and Stevie Lowery will have shaved heads

I wrote about three weeks ago that Stevie Lowery, publisher of the Lebanon Enterprise and a KPA Board member, will be shaving her head March 15 as part of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that exists to fight children’s cancer. But Stevie won’t be the only KPA Board member having a shaved head while raising funds for St. Baldrick’s. Stan Mckinney, Journalism Education Representative to the Board from Campbellsville University, will participate for the sixth year. He does this in honor and memory of his mom who died from cancer seven years ago.

Carlisle (County) Weekly sold


Michael Toon

Michael Toon

He purchased the newspaper from Michael Toon, who was elected in November as the Carlisle County clerk.Dennis Richardson, with Magic Valley Publishing and already owner of some newspapers in far western Kentucky added another this week with the purchase of the Carlisle Weekly. That’s Carlisle the county, not Carlisle the town.

Kentucky General Assembly: Two Senate Bills getting all of our attention

We’ve passed the one-third way of the 2014 General Assembly and while there have been 456 bills introduced, two are getting all of our attention right now.

Senate Bill 105 is KPA legislation, filed on behalf of newspapers that would make carriers independent contractors instead of automatic employees of the newspapers. Newspapers treat carriers as independent contractors but state law, in retaliation for an editorial 40 years ago, says carriers must be considered newspaper employees. That’s for worker’s compensation purposes.

We’re seeking to have that subsection of KRS 342.640 deleted. We are not asking for special treatment but just to be treated as all other businesses are. Newspapers are the only business/industry mentioned in KRS 342. It’s sponsored by Sen. Tom Buford, and we expect Sen. Morgan McGarvey to sign on as a co-sponsor any day. It’s headed to the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee. The committee could hear it next Thursday. We have appointments scheduled Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the committee members to seek their support for SB105.

Senate Bill 101 is a different story. This legislation would allow local government agencies to post all notices required by law to be published on the agency’s website after a small ad is published in the newspaper. That ad is to list the URL where the full notice can be found. KPA has offered some compromise/concession ideas but also plans to fight the bill totally if it goes forward as written. It remains to be seen where changes will be made in the bill to address our issues while accomplishing some goals of the sponsor, Sen. Chris McDaniel of Kenton County.

The bill is headed for the Senate State and Local Government Committee. While it meets on Wednesdays, there’s no indication it will be heard this coming Wednesday as we continue working with the sponsor and the Kentucky League of Cities.

Obviously, we have interest in more than two bills but SBs 101 and 105 have gotten about 95 percent of our intention so far.

As has been the case the last several sessions, expungement of felony records is a frequent topic considered. There are four currently in the hopper. One of them, HB64 sponsored by Rep. Daryl Owens of Louisville, saw his bill get out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week, only to be recommitted to the committee later in the week. That usually indicates a problem with the bill or enough opposition developing that the full House does not want to take up a vote.

Here are the four expungement bills so far:

HB 64 (Darryl Owens’ bill)


SB 107 (Sen. Higdon’s bill)


SB 56 (Sen. Neal’s Offender Reentry bill)


SB 110 (Sen. Denton’s expungement bill)


New employees around         

A couple of new employees were announced in the last few days at KPA newspapers.

Steve Wilson, former editor of the Kentucky Enquirer, is now executive editor of the Paducah Sun. Wilson has more than 30 years of experience in senior newspaper jobs, most of them at major metros. As managing editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1984-1986, Wilson edited and directed a year-long project “Life on the Land: An American Farm Family” which won that newspaper’s first Pulitzer Prize.

Wilson and Paducah Sun Editor and Publisher Jim Paxton know one another from their early newspaper days in Lexington, Ky., where Wilson was editor of the Lexington Leader and Paxton was a city hall reporter and business writer for the rival (but jointly owned) Lexington Herald.

Kacie Goode, a graduate of Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, has joined her hometown Kentucky Standard in Bardstown as a reporter. Kacie credits her interest in journalism to her high school days at Nelson County High School. Coincidentally, the NCHS journalism program is a member of the Kentucky High School Journalism Association and its membership is sponsored each year by The Standard.


Well, nothing greatly exciting this week. Visits to the Capitol and the Annex have taken most of the time up and will continue doing so for another 37 or so days. If you find yourself bored, come on to Frankfort and see your State Representatives and Senators in action

But remember….

We need newsroom judges for the Florida Society of News Editors contest

We need newsroom judges for the MDDC Press Association contest

We need advertising judges for the MDDC Press Association

You’ll have plenty of time (probably two weeks at least) to complete the categories assigned to you. So volunteer and get some staff members in on it as well to see what newspapers in other states are doing. You might just come away with some ideas for stories or ads.

Otherwise, thanx!!!

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