• Take 3 minutes and watch Weird Al Yankovic’s ‘Word Crimes’ video
• Battle At Crooked Creek already at 66 golfers
• ‘We’re All Ears!’ — newspaper coverage spans 418.63 miles of the Bluegrass
• Division officially renamed ‘KPA Digital Media Division’ on vote of members
• Ken Blum offering popular National Newspaper Exchange program again
• USPS in the crosshairs as South Dakota, Ohio join states taking aim against consolidation of facilities
And there’s still time to get yourself or your team together for the September 18 event. Kentucky is hosting the 18-hole scramble format this year at Crooked Creek Golf Club in London.
And there will be a reception/awards ceremony immediately following with hopes that Kentucky retains the Border War trophy. We also have several really great prizes. All proceeds from the Border War II/Battle At Crooked Creek will be divided between the foundations of the Kentucky Press and the Tennessee Press associations.The cost is $75 per person/$300 for a foursome and includes a great lunch, range balls, cart, green fees and refreshments.
And for KPA, the proceeds will be used by the Kentucky Journalism Foundation to award more interns for 2015. Both foundations are 501(c)(3) corporations so entry fees and all monetary donations are tax deductible. Get signed up now at http://www.kypress.com and click on Battle At Crooked Creek banner at the top.
Just the Basics: Making the Sale seminar attracts another crowd
The second ‘Just the Basics: Making the Sale’ seminar held today at the Herald-Leader in Lexington was a success! Sixteen sales reps from newspapers in the eastern half of the state participated in the seminar, conducted by KPS Director of Sales Teresa Revlett.
The first seminar was held a couple of weeks ago at Western Kentucky University. The success of the two seminars — about 30 participating — shows there is the need for some basic training on how to sell newspaper advertising and how to work with advertisers.
We plan to repeat the seminar in 2015. It’s designed primarily for new sales reps without newspaper training or those who have been selling space but wanted a little extra training to help them do their job.
Newspapers and Woody: from the extreme northeast to the most-western point in the Commonwealth
As of Thursday afternoon, we had 54 newspapers in 51 counties signed up for the 2014 KPA Fall Chapter Series, ‘We’re All Ears!’ The 10-week series begins the week of September 14.
The 54 newspapers are located from the most extreme northeast corner (Greenup and Boyd counties) to the most western point of the state, Fulton. That’s a coverage area spanning 418.63 miles!
And the 54 newspapers, including 14 dailies, represent 324,243 circulation. If you haven’t signed up (and you can check by going to www.kypress.com/nie) then get signed up this week if you want to supply free scrapbooks for local school children.
So far we have orders for 100,600 scrapbooks that will given by the newspapers to grade schools in their counties. ‘We’re All Ears!’ features Kentucky’s most famous dachshunds — Woody and Chloe — and is authored by Leigh Anne Florence. Herald-Leader artist Chris Ware supplies the artwork.
This year’s story series is about arts and crafts and heritage in Kentucky. To sign up, go to http://www.kypress.com/nie as soon as possible. For more information, contact Kriss Johnson at 859-231-3353.
It’s official: KPA division is now ‘Digital Media Division’
With unanimous support from publishers of KPA’s full member newspapers, the Bylaws will be changed to identify the ‘KPA Digital Media Division.’ Since 1999, the division was known as ‘New Media Division’ but at the request of the KPA Digital Committee and then the full KPA Board, members were asked to vote on the proposed name change. Publishers did cast their ballots electronically on a secure website, resulting in unanimous support for the change.
Peter Baniak, editor and Vice President of the Lexington Herald-Leader, will serve as chair of the division.
Be part of a national newspaper exchange
This comes from columnist Ken Blum, who writes Black Inkling, and is his “Last Call” for newspapers to sign up for a National Newspaper Exchange.
LAST CALL! DON’T MISS IT! – IT’S FREE – SIGN UP NOW! – TELL YOUR NEWSPAPER FRIENDS!
Your golden opportunity to read and enjoy newspapers similar to yours from across the country. Dear Black Ink readers, This is the last call to sign up for the national exchange of newspapers. This is your golden opportunity to read and enjoy newspapers similar to yours from across the country.
This is the seventh time I have coordinated the exchange. Typically, around 300 newspapers participate. Here’s how it works:
• This year’s exchange takes place during the month of August, starting the week of August 4.
• Email the requested information by Monday, July 21 at 5 p.m.
By Monday, July 28 at the latest you will receive an email with a list of newspapers in your group. First, email back to confirm you received the list. Then, set up each newspaper with a complimentary subscription for the month of August only – starting the week of August 4. An effort will be made to match newspapers in similar circulation categories. Weeklies will exchange with weeklies; dailies with dailies; semiweeklies with semiweeklies.
To assure the lists won’t get too unwieldy, each list of weekly newspapers will be limited to at or around 20 participants, and each list of daily or semi/tri-weeklies will be limited to at or around 15 participants. Please remember – it’s important to set up the 15 or 20 complimentary subscriptions for the month of August only (start week of August 5); and be sure to kill them after September 1.
There always seems to be a couple newspapers that sign up for the exchange and then fail to send a paper to other network members. Of course, this is unfair and unprofessional. If you sign up, please follow through. Here are a few suggestions about how to handle the newspapers you will receive in August.
• Don’t try to read the exchange papers as they come in. Store them and then set aside some quality time to go through them.
• Have your staff scan the newspapers and prepare a master list of worthy ideas. Hold a meeting to discuss concepts you may be able to plug into your operation.
• Participants in this exchange should be willing to share information and ideas with other participating newspapers via phone, mail, e-mail or fax.
Coordinating the exchange has been a rewarding experience and I appreciate the compliments about its success and value. So sign up now. Just follow the instructions carefully and enjoy!
Who knows the value of a week?
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE DAY, ask the person who was born on February 29th.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
KPA Advertising Excellence contest being tweaked
As promised, the KPA Ad Division held a conference call last Friday to discuss potential changes in the Advertising Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers competition.
We are adding two categories to showcase digital/online advertising and sales. But to keep the number of contest categories manageable, it means deleting two categories. And in so doing, we check back on the number entries over the previous two or three years for each category.
Over the last three years, Best Classified Page/Section and Best TMC Product have easily had the lowest number of entries. So we will be deleting those two.
We are adding “Best Online/Digital Ad” and “Best Online/Digital Ad Series” to the contest.
We don’t have the category descriptions done yet and I’ve asked several of my press association colleagues for their language on those categories. But we will write the category description description and share that with you.
Watch for the complete Advertising Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers materials in mid-August. The contest period is for all issues published from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014. The deadline to enter will be around October 10. Entries will again be submitted online and the judges will access the entries online.
Copy editors will love Weird Al’s new song
By Andrew Beaujon, Poynter
OK, copy editors.
Put down the red pencils.
Loosen the top buttons of your cardigans.
Give “Weird Al” Yankovic three minutes and 46 seconds of your day, and in his new song “Word Crimes,” he will discuss: – The difference between “less” and “fewer” – How to discern between “its” and “it’s” – Why irony and coincidence are different things
FORUM: Newspapers’ confidence in U.S. Postal Service wavering
David Bordewyk is the General Manager of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, which represents the state’s weekly and daily newspapers with a total readership of more than 600,000 people,
An open letter to United States Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe
Dear Postmaster General Donahoe:
I do hope this letter arrives at your office in reasonable time.
Sarcasm aside, there was a time when I put a First Class stamp on a letter and mailed it, I had confidence, depending on its destination, it would get there overnight or within two or three days. There was a time when newspaper publishers could expect their latest edition would reach mail subscribers in a reasonable time frame as well.
Today, that confidence doesn’t exist. And your latest plan to close more than 80 mail processing plants around the country – including the Dakota Central facility in Huron – will erase any shreds of remaining confidence.
You have a difficult job. Mail trends have not been kind to your business the past several years, thanks in large part to the Internet and 9-11. First Class mail – still the biggest generator of revenue for you – has dropped more than 35 percent the last dozen years or so.
So how do you clear a path for the survival of the Postal Service in the face of some mighty strong headwinds?
Obviously, you need to reduce expenditures and tighten the belt to fit new realities. But I believe your latest plan goes too far. From the 30,000-foot view at USPS headquarters, your latest plant consolidation plan may look good on the spreadsheet. But looking at it from here on Main Street and the mailbox-dotted gravel roads of South Dakota, it’s a clunker.
The newspaper publishers of South Dakota who belong to the trade association I work for, know it’s a clunker as well. They have been fighting desperately now for several years to find ways to get their newspapers delivered to customers in a timely manner. Fighting desperately despite the roadblocks and hurdles put up by your organization.
Closing more mail processing plants will only contribute to the sclerosis of the mail network in this country. Your plan doesn’t save the Postal Service; it just makes things worse. The degradation and decline don’t happen all it once, but they happen.
Newspaper subscribers become frustrated they can’t get their hometown paper delivered to them in a reasonable time, so they stop paying for it when the subscription comes due. Advertisers become frustrated when their promotions and marketing specials can’t reach the marketplace soon enough.
But it is not just newspapers. It is all businesses that rely on the mail for delivery of invoices, checks, correspondence and so much more. It’s people who live so far from town that they must rely on the mail for delivery of their medical prescriptions. It’s the delivery of farm parts and legal documents.
The list goes on.
Mail service always has been and remains a vital part of the infrastructure serving rural America. For that matter, our entire country. Good, reliable mail service supports a strong economy and a connected, engaged society. Let’s not degrade and destroy that network. Instead, we should be working to protect and provide for a strong, reliable mail service that serves all of our country.
If you won’t do it (and your latest plant consolidation announcement suggests you won’t), then we call on Congress to step in and put a halt to it. Congress should freeze any further plant consolidations and closings until it can agree upon meaningful reform legislation for the Postal Service. Postal reform legislation has been percolating in Congress for some time now.
Congress needs to act. Congress needs to remove the onerous, overly aggressive provisions that require the Postal Service to greatly accelerate set-asides for postal retirees’ health benefits. Doing so would help the Postal Service’s balance sheet and remove some of the pressures that lead to policies and actions that have hurt, not helped, your organization. Postal reform legislation is not a headlines-grabbing, popularity-poll issue that Congress rallies around.
Nevertheless, Congress needs to act now, before your organization, Mr. Postmaster General, regresses into a shell of its former self from which it cannot recover.
I thank you for your consideration.
And here is a copy of the letter from the South Dakota Congressional delegation to PMG Donahoe, following up on the contact from the SD Newspaper Association.
Research shows how USPS did in 2013: Better in some ways but customer service falls short
USPS came close to hitting service and financial goals, in the PRC’s estimation, but fell short in customer experience.
USPS: Room for improvement
The U.S. Postal Service won partial praise for its 2013 performance in on-time delivery and financial results, but retreated a step in customer experience (CX), according to the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) Annual Performance Review released today.
USPS actually exceeded its 2013 goals for on-time delivery of Presort First-Class mail in all three categories rated: overnight, two day, and three to five day. All three types of mail registered on-time rates of 95% or better. But it stumbled in Single-Piece First Class mail, especially in three- to five-day mail, which fell short of the mark by more than three percentage points, with an on-time rate of 91.6%.
This is the first year the three presort categories were included by the Postal Service among its performance indicators. It didn’t measure Standard Mail, but has proposed that a “Standard Composite” category be measured in 2014, and has set for it an on-time delivery goal of 91%. USPS didn’t fare as well with customers as it did last year.
In a survey, fewer customers said they were either very or mostly satisfied with the Postal Service as said so last year. The dip in confidence was slight—from 79% to 78.4%–and it appears that the Postal Service might improve its score if it avoided personal contact with customers. Recent experiences with a USPS contact were rated satisfactory by only 51% of SMBs and 62% of residential customers.
About USPS response to Ohio Association’s PRC letter
The Ohio Newspaper Association chastised the U.S. Postal Service for lack of service to the newspaper industry. Below is an article by Keith Rathbun, returning the volley for USPS’ lack of recognizing that delays are caused by USPS itself.
By Keith Rathbun, publisher of The Budget Newspaper and vice president of the ONA Board of Trustees
What should we have expected?! The USPS answered our concerns with a company-line, form letter which offers no constructive suggestions to help improve service to Ohio’s (or the nation’s, in general) periodicals. Instead their return volley is filled with finger-pointing toward our industry, saying that in “many cases delays can be the result of…” a litany of prep and sortation mistakes. The Budget, itself, has run this very same gauntlet countless times. In our history, we can say that in “many more cases, in fact most, delivery delays have been the result of postal office plant handling and transportation errors.”
For the first year after opening an Additional Entry office in Cleveland, the answer to our growing delivery problems were “… you know that ‘Standard Class delivery’ is slower than First Class.” In exasperation I would reply, “Yes I know that. It is also slower than Periodical Class … which is the class at which we are entered, and accepted, and PAY for.”
Their second argument was always, “Well, you know that delivery standards are just date ranges not guarantees.” Service disruptions in those areas where plant consolidations have already occurred are well known by ONA members. Several publishers have been affected. And it is just going to get exceedingly worse with this week’s announcement by the USPS that it “…would close or consolidate more than 80 mail processing facilities after January  and lower service standards for Periodicals and First-Class Mail.” Planned Phase 2 Consolidations, according to a USPS release, include (in Ohio) Akron P&DC, Dayton P&DC, Toledo P&DF and Youngstown P&DF. This move will further tax the already over-burdened processing centers in Cleveland (gaining Akron and Youngstown) and Columbus (gaining Dayton and a portion of Toledo).
The current USPS published Service Standard for periodicals is not 1 – 7 days as the letter stated, but rather 2 – 9 days (see the following Federal Register notice link:
Despite USPS’ claim that Phase 2 will not further modify service standards, their own USPS Fact Sheet on Phase 2 Network Rationalization provides a FAQ answer that “Phase 2 will affect the existing service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals Mail. The changes may be seen by comparing Tables 1 and 3 with Tables 2 and 4” at the same above Federal Register link.
Newspaper publishers are only going to get what we fight and stand-up for from the USPS. They point an errant finger at our print industry. It is our task to take that finger, point it back at them and hold it to the fire until they respond with meaningful results for our members.
Picture Howard Beale (The Network) as a newspaper publisher (played by Joe Zerbey?), screaming out his window: “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE.”
Seminars? Webinars? Following the Strategic Plan, it’s been a bust
Back in 2009 or so, as part of the KPA Strategic Plan process, we surveyed all of our newspapers. That’s about the time participation at our seminars was waning.
What had been 125 to 150 for an ad seminar, was more like 20 to 35. And 75 at the News Editorial seminar turned out to be in the teens. We realize the recession had hit, that newspapers were cutting back and our question was to find out what newspapers wanted.
Generally, it was, “Don’t to seminars around the state because we can’t afford the travel expense, the overnight expenses and the cost to attend.”
In place of seminars, the newspapers responding wanted us to jump on the webinar bandwagon. That way, training can be done by internet access at a very low cost with several staff members watching. Spend time and money for travel, overnight, meals and the seminar or spend $25 for a webinar and have the whole staff watch it.
That wasn’t even a dilemma; it was sound judgment. Over the last three to four years, we’ve offered numerous webinars, mostly through Online Media Campus and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
Lower participation than the smallest audience we ever had for a seminar. In fact, if two Kentucky newspapers participate in a webinar, we’re jumping up and down. Sometimes it’s just one KPA paper, many times it’s zero newspapers from “KY” on the list.
On the endangered jobs list
CareerCast posted its report on the 10 most endangered jobs for 2014, and the theme this year seems to be paper.
According to CareerCast publisher Tony Lee, a “dramatically lower demand for paper” is due to a number of factors, from people reading the news on their tablets and smart phones, to shopping catalogues moving online, and people using email and social media to stay in touch rather than writing letters. Going paperless doesn’t only affect printing workers, who can expect a -5% hiring outlook, but also lumberjacks and mail carriers, who have hiring outlooks of -9% and -28% respectively.
Hiring outlooks for CareerCast’s 10 most endangered jobs were calculated using data from CareerCast’s
According to the report, “Layoffs and furloughs in the industry are commonplace.” Other industries, though, can become endangered with the sudden invention of a new technology. Meter readers, for one, can expect a -19% hiring outlook in the coming years as “a growing number of gas and electric companies are installing electronic meter readers that instantly provide usage updates,” the report explains. Flight attendant is a career with less obvious factors behind its becoming endangered.2014 Jobs Rated Report, and from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the jobs are threatened by longer term trends, such as newspaper reporters, who have a hiring outlook of -13%.
According to Lee, there are three reasons for the -7% hiring outlook in this field: “cost reductions across the industry, which reduces the number of attendants on each flight; fewer flights using larger planes to reduce costs; and the willingness of current attendants to work much longer careers than had been true historically, which reduces opportunities for new attendants.”
This means that current flight attendants can hope for some job security. This is true for current mail carriers, too, according to the report, though those aspiring toward the career will have to compete with “postman wannabes” that “the profession is rapidly contracting.”
12 tools to make your newsroom more collaborative
Digital tools and platforms have made it even easier for journalists to collaborate on projects across newsrooms or continents
By Danielle Palumbo, www.journalism.co.uk
Credit: Image by Thinkstock Big newsrooms can mean hundreds of noisy journalists chasing each other for more news on a story or long meetings discussing all the details of an important media project. In fast-paced environments like this, collaboration is essential but not always easy to achieve.
In collaborative journalism, technology plays an important role. Here are some useful tools to make the work of your newsroom simpler and more collaborative. http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/12-tools-to-make-your-newsroom-more-collaborative/s2/a557349/
Free standing inserts still strong for newspapers!
Free standing inserts (or FSIs), which include coupons and retailers’ circulars, have historically made up 35% to 40% of newspaper annual advertising revenue, according to Nancy Lane, president of the Local Media Association, and that doesn’t appear to be changing.
Doing some Slimpicity
By Ed Henninger, Henninger Consulting
I recently had the distinct pleasure of sharing a full workday with news guru Kevin Slimp.
Kevin calls himself “the news guru.” I too, have been called a “guru” occasionally. And, yes, I’ve been called many other things, too!
Kevin had been asked by the publisher of a group of papers in New Jersey to take a look at his papers and offer his suggestions for improvement.
Kevin and I had already done a couple of presentations jointly and he invited me along to help out. So, on a day in early May, we met a bit west of Asheville, NC, to spend the day together reviewing 10 papers.
It was a delight working with Kevin and discovering that we shared many of the same thoughts about what we were seeing.
What follows is a brief look at key points we suggested. I believe many of you can find a few of these will apply to your publication.
TEXT TYPE: Throughout these papers, text was in a face that was too light, a bit too condensed—and way too small.
PHOTOS: Many were poorly cropped and some were muddy and dark. Often, there were too many in a package and none was dominant.
STORIES: Far too long. Remember, readers will only give you 12”-15” before they quit a story.
STANDING HEADS: Not well designed and inconsistent.
PAGE LABELS: Too strong and often competed for attention with the lead headline on the page.
HEADLINES: Often the same font and size, page after page after page. Definitely need to use other fonts in the family for more contrast.
ORGANIZATION: Some events listings packages jumped from page to page to page—occasionally to more than 8 or 9 pages.
NAMEPLATES: All needed tweaking, some were badly in need of complete redesign.
We did find that editors in most of the papers were trying their best to offer a package that was comfortable and easy to read. We appreciate those efforts. But there’s a sense that some of those editors are “swimming upstream” because of a lack of design training.
It was fun working with Kevin and we’re planning to do more of these evaluations as time goes by.
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
WANT A FREE evaluation of your newspaper’s design? Just contact Ed: firstname.lastname@example.org | 803-327-3322
IF THIS COLUMN has been helpful, you may be interested in Ed’s books: Henninger on Design and 101 Henninger Helpful Hints. With the help of Ed’s books, you’ll immediately have a better idea how to design for your readers. Find out more about Henninger on Design and 101 Henninger Helpful Hints by visiting Ed’s web site: www.henningerconsulting.com
ED HENNINGER is an independent newspaper consultant and the Director of Henninger Consulting. On the web: henningerconsulting.com. Phone: 803-327-3322.
Nominations open for Tom and Pat Gish award
Nominations for the Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism, given by
the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, must be mailed by Aug. 1.
The award is named for Tom and Pat Gish, who published The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., for more than 51 years. They 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, and were the first winners of the award named for them.
Other winners have been the Ezzell family of The Canadian (Tex.) Record, in 2007; James E. Prince III and Stanley Dearman, current and former publishers of The Neshoba Democrat of Philadelphia, Miss., in 2008; Samantha Swindler, editor and publisher of the Headlight Herald in Tillamook, Ore., in 2010 for her work as editor of the Corbin, Ky., Times-Tribune and managing editor of the Jacksonville (Tex.) Daily Progress; in 2011, Stanley Nelson and the Concordia Sentinel of Ferriday, La.; and in 2012, Jonathan and Susan Austin of the Yancey County News in Burnsville, N.C. No award was given in 2013.
The Institute seeks nominations that measure up, at least in major respects, to the records of previous winners, which are detailed at www.RuralJournalism.org. Nominators should send detailed letters to Institute Director Al Cross, explaining how their nominees show the kind of exemplary courage, tenacity and integrity that the Gishes demonstrated in their rigorous pursuit of rural journalism.
Detailed documentation does not have to accompany the nomination, but is helpful in choosing finalists, and additional documentation may be requested or required. Questions may be directed to Cross at 859-257-3744 or email@example.com.
The award will be presented at a dinner in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 13.
Letters should be postmarked by Aug. 1 and mailed to: Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, 122 Grehan Journalism Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042.
And nominations are open for Al Smith Award, too
The Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues seek nominations for the Al Smith Award, given annually for public service through community journalism over a lifetime by a native or resident of Kentucky, or someone who has spent a significant portion of his or her career in the state.
The award is named for its first recipient: Albert P. Smith Jr., who owned weekly newspapers in Kentucky and Tennessee, was the founding host of KET’s “Comment on Kentucky” and was main co-founder of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, whose national advisory board he long chaired. He is now chairman emeritus and writing books: Wordsmith: My Life in Journalism, Kentucky Cured, and more to follow.
The Smith Award is based on news coverage and editorial leadership that serve needs of communities. Preference is given to journalists in smaller markets, to recognize the restrictions that market size can place on the ability to perform outstanding public service through journalism.
If a publisher or station owner is nominated, the judges may consider the publisher’s civic service and the successful management of conflicts that can arise between journalistic, managerial, ownership, and civic roles.
The winner will be selected by judges chosen by the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Last year’s Smith Award winner was John A. Nelson, editor of The Advocate-Messenger in Danville and The Winchester Sun. The 2012 winners were Jennifer P. Brown, opinion editor and former editor of the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville, and Max Heath, retired vice president and executive editor of Landmark Community Newspapers Inc.
Nominations, supporting letters and documentation should be submitted by Aug. 31 to:
Al Smith Award, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, 122 Grehan Journalism Building University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042.
For more information about Al Smith, the award and the nomination process, please contact Institute Director Al Cross at (859) 257-3744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.