March 21, 2014

• KPA Worker’s Comp bill passes House 95-1; on its way to the Governor

• Madisonville Messenger ad makes Late Night with David Letterman

• Alice Rouse retires at Murray Ledger & Times; Mike Davis named publisher

• Judge orders cabinet to pay another $300,000; total surpasses $1 million 

• NNA members lobby Congress on postal issues

• Mountain Eagle joins KPNS; now at 81 newspapers


By 95-1 vote, Senate Bill 105 heads to the governor’s desk 

With just one “no” vote, coming from Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence, the Kentucky House of Representatives approved KPA’s worker’s compensation legislation Thursday afternoon. Senate Bill 105 passed the Senate about two weeks ago, with a 30-8 vote, went through a House Committee a week ago unanimously and then was presented for the House vote. The total tally in both chambers is 125 Yes, 9 No and four not voting.

Four State Representatives — Rep. Leslie Combs, Rep. Bob Deweese, Rep. Richard Henderson and Rep. Gerald Watkins — did not cast a vote. There appeared to be a chorus of boos about the one vote against the measure.

The measure now goes back to the Senate for President Stivers’ signature, then to House Speaker Greg Stumbo for his, before being delivered to Gov. Steve Beshear for his signature. (Editor’s Note: The bill was just delivered back to the Senate — 9:25 a.m. — and since President Pro Tem Sen. Katie Stine was presiding at the time, she signed the bill. Perhaps later today, Speaker Stumbo will sign it.)

By constitution, legislation passed each session takes effect 90 days after sine die adjournment. And by the constitution, even-numbered year sessions must end by April 15. So we’re forecasting SB105 will take effect about July 15.

The House vote ends a year-long battle to get KRS 342.640 changed. In the 2013 session, we joined a coalition of small businesses, putting the language that ended up in 105 in a much larger bill on Employee Misclassification. However, when that failed to get considered by the House last year, KPA decided to go it alone. That process started in the Fall, 2013, with legislation drafted and then the search was on for a sponsor.

Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, agreed to sponsor the bill and we lined up Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, as a co-sponsor. When it went to the Senate Committee, four committee members, including Sen. (former Governor) Julian Carroll, spoke of the fond memories they had delivering the newspaper on their bicycle while they were growing up. No one spoke on the legislation when it went before the Senate and no comments were made in the House Committee or on the House floor.

The subsection deleted in the bill was reportedly put in in 1974 or 1976 as retaliation for an editorial a then-State Senator did not like. He had the newspaper language inserted into law as a way to get back at the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia, handled SB 105 on the House floor. He briefly discussed the legislation before Speaker Stumbo called for the vote.


Rep. Coursey’s comments were:

SB 105 merely corrects a measure that dates back to the mid 1970’s.

Newspaper carriers are by all standards considered independent contracts of newspapers.   The carriers meet the IRS standards for an independent contractor and the newspapers do not withhold any type of taxes on their carriers.

The carriers decide what time to drop off their papers, they buy their own bags and rubber bands and if they are not able to conduct their route one day they are responsible for finding their own substitute. In addition, the contract that the carrier signs with the paper is an independent contractor contract.

Kentucky is the only state that mandates, by virtue of the Kentucky Worker’s Comp statute, that carriers are employees of the papers. The Workers Comp statute doesn’t single out any other industry except the newspapers.

The bill before you simply deletes the provision in the Workers Comp statute that mandates employee status to newspaper carriers. This doesn’t eliminate all liability on behalf of the papers; it only puts carriers on the same playing field as every other independent contractor (i.e. electricians, plumbers).

The Workers Compensation Commissioner and The Labor Cabinet have been consulted with regards to SB 105 and have no issue with the legislation.

Link to KET video archives of SB105 vote

If you didn’t have a chance to catch the presentation of the bill and the resulting vote, here’s a link to KET’s video archives of yesterday’s House chambers session. Take the time-bar over to about 1:07 (one hour, seven minutes into the session) and then watch.

Messenger makes Late Night with David Letterman   

On his March 13, Late Night with David Letterman, he shows an ad from the Madisonville Messenger. This link is to the Messenger’s Facebook page:

Cabinet ordered to pay another $300,000; total now exceeds $1 million

From the Louisville Courier-Journal

Kentucky was ordered Tuesday to pay more than $300,000 to The Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader, for attorneys fees after they successfully sued for access to records involving children killed while under state supervision.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd’s final ruling rejects a request by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to dismiss his December order requiring the cabinet to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees, though that figure was not set until Tuesday.

The court also declined to reconsider a previous order in which the cabinet was fined $756,000 for violating the state’s Open Records Act.

Tuesday’s ruling culminates a five-year legal battle by the newspapers to make the records public. The case has now cost the cabinet more than $1 million.

The Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader had argued that the cabinet “willfully withheld” records on abuse cases, and then provided copies that were so heavily redacted that they were of little use.

In awarding Courier-Journal attorneys $228,887 and Herald-Leader attorneys $72,897, Judge Shepherd cited four children by name, “and dozens of others,” who died while under the cabinet’s supervision. He said the court did not consider their deaths “inevitable.”

“The record in this case demonstrates that such preventable tragedies will continue to occur,” the judge wrote, “as long as the Cabinet’s conduct in child-fatality cases remains effectively shielded from public scrutiny.”

Come grow with us — KPNS

We’ve added yet another newspaper to the Kentucky Press News Service with the Mountain Eagle coming on board last week. This puts the number at 81 participating papers, well more than half of KPA’s eligible membership. I asked KPNS administrator David Greer if the increased number — we’re up five or six papers this year — is making a noted difference in the number of stories he’s posting.

The response was expected: “Oh, golly yes!”

David G. noted that Monday’s total was 30 stories posted, plus six editorials. And on Tuesday — the slowest day of the week because weeklies haven’t posted their new stories yet — he sent another 25. “When we started KPNS, (in October 2009), I’d be lucky to get a dozen stories posted on a Tuesday.”

We’re approaching 27,500 stories posted in 4.5 years and that doesn’t include another 1700-1800 editorials. Through Wednesday, David G. had already uploaded 20 editorials for the week. When he began the editorial offerings about a year ago, he was hoping for three or four a day.

Alice Rouse retiring as Ledger & Times publisher; Davis named


Mike Davis and Alice Rouse

Mike Davis and Alice Rouse

Mike Davis, who has experience managing newspapers in Kentucky and Virginia, has been named as the new publisher of the Ledger & Times.Longtime Murray Ledger & Times Publisher Alice Rouse announced this week that she is retiring from the newspaper.

After working almost 40 years for the newspaper, Rouse will become Publisher Emeritus of the newspaper. She will continue to be involved in the community following her retirement as well as assist Davis and the staff during the transition. She and her husband Bill will continue to make Murray their home.

“I love this community,” Rouse said. “I so appreciate the love and support that this community has given me and my family, especially during my time with cancer.” Rouse’s cancer is in remission.

Rouse began working at the Ledger & Times in 1975 as a bookkeeper for the late Publisher Walt Apperson.

HB 176 signed by governor; affects KRS 424 but no effect on newspapers

The governor has signed House Bill 176, one of the few pieces of legislation to make its way through both chambers and to the governor’s desk. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, has one provision about KRS 424 but with no effect on newspapers.

Cities have the option of publishing its list of delinquent taxpayers each year, the publication taking place in the newspaper meeting KRS 424 qualifications. Counties are required to publish the list, once, and have authority in the statute to charge each delinquent taxpayers $5 for each time his/her name appears on the list published.

Cities have always had permission to publish the list but the decision is left to each city whether it will publish or not. However, according to the Kentucky League of Cities, some found if they did that, the $5 per name per publication would not cover the publication costs. It’s debatable if that’s true but if most on the list don’t pay their taxes, and thus the $5 cover charge, then I can accept that argument.

Under a provision included in HB176, cities will now have permission to pro-rate the publication cost. So the total cost will be divided among the names on the list. It could amount to less than $5 per name, but it could also increase that cost to the delinquent.

If a city decides to publish — and here’s the opportunity for newspapers to talk with city officials about now publishing the list — and the city is charged say $1000 with 100 names on the list, then each name would be charged an additional $10. By the same token, if the cost is $1000 and there are 300 names on the list, the city would add $3.33 or $3.34 to the delinquent tax bill.

It also affects distribution of ‘Your Duty under the Law’

For more than 15 years, all public agency heads must distribute to newly elected and appointed officials of the agency a publication from the AG’s Office on Open Meetings/Open Records. Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, sponsored the legislation back in the 1990s to make sure public officials are aware of their duties involving Open Meetings and Open Records.

The head of the agency must distribute the publication and the elected or appointed official must sign that he/she has received it. To speed up the process, and “bring it more inline with technology,” the distribution can now be electronic.

That was the main thrust of HB176. The new officials still must sign that they have received the document. Now if we could only require they READ the document, we’d be making progress.

HB176 was signed by the governor on March 19 and will take effect around July 15 of this year.

It’s a big election year and you need some political ad guidance

I can always tell when it’s political season in Kentucky — the calls and emails about laws on political advertising increase greatly.

Whenever I get one, if I haven’t just answered it to another person, I contact Greg Cordier at the Registry of Election Finance. That was the case recently and I had Greg email me a portion of the law.

Here’s his response on Disclaimers as well as a link to more information made available with the Registry’s website:

The actual statute she is asking about is KRS 121.190(1), which reads:

All newspaper or magazine advertising, posters, circulars, billboards, handbills, sample ballots, and paid-for television or radio announcements which expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, slate of candidates, or group of candidates for nomination or election to any public office shall be identified by the words “paid for by” followed by the name and address of the individual or committee which paid for the communication; except that if paid for by a candidate, slate of candidates, or campaign committee, it shall be identified only by the words “paid for by” followed by the name of the candidate, slate of candidates, or campaign committee, whichever is applicable…

Also here is a link to Registry’s Candidate Guide to Campaign Finance, which provide examples/illustrations regarding disclaimers for political advertising.  If you wish to view the pages in context, here is a link to the Candidate Guide

To answer the question more directly, advertising paid for by the campaign or the campaign committee DOES NOT require an address; advertising paid for by an individual or committee other than the candidate or the campaign committee DOES require an address.

Special packet for you for Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Governor Beshear recently signed the proclamation for this special attention. Last year, many newspapers used information from a KPA packet prepared by the Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky coalition, headquartered in Lexington. There are actually four pdfs below — one is the packet for newsrooms with story ideas and contact information at PCAK to speak to an authority on child abuse in Kentucky.

2014 Child Abuse Prevention Month Media Packet


PCAK-9391 v2

PCAK-9391 v3

The other pdfs are three ads — as a public service — promoting Child Abuse Month in Kentucky. Feel free to add your newspaper logo to the ad or if there are organizations or businesses within your county that would be interested in sponsoring one of the ads, sell it to them and include their name/logo.

Last year’s involvement of Kentucky newspapers in Child Abuse Prevention Month was impressive and PCAK was deeply appreciative of your support.

Abernathy retires, Berry named editor

After a 39-year career, Jim Abernathy has retired as editor of the Mayfield Messenger. Following that announcement, publisher Eric Hoffman said Tom Berry would take over as editor of the Graves County daily.

Berry has been a Messenger reporter for the past two years, and has received numerous KPA awards during his 19-year career. He previously has worked at the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville, the Murray Ledger & Times, and the Cadiz Record.

News from the Coalition on USPS Exigency Cost

This from NNA’s Tonda Rush about the coalition contesting the exigency price decision…case getting expeditious treatment.

“The Court of Appeals has granted the mailers’ motion to expedite the review of the PRC’s decision in the exigency case. Now, instead of anticipating oral argument in late fall with a decision next year, it appears we might have a decision by the end of summer. The final briefs are now due June 26, almost four months earlier than we had anticipated.

“This is good news. Gives us a fighting chance of getting a rollback of having the rates permanently embedded into the rates base before the next set of rates comes out. Or it gives us finality that exigency is forever, and spurs the Hill to act before end of session. Either way, this speeding-up should help us.”

Rural papers get some help from Congress on postal, ad issues, but threats remain

From The Rural Blog

Leaders of the weekly newspaper business reported some success as they lobbied Congress on postal and advertising issues on March 13, but they also heard warnings to be vigilant because things could change after this fall’s elections.

The big issues are a bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service and a proposed restriction of the deductibility of advertising as an ordinary business expense. The first issue has been bouncing around Congress for years and seems stuck between versions that have passed House and Senate committees but not the floor; the second has arisen as part of a bipartisan tax-reform plan that is going nowhere this year but might next year.

The advocates for rural newspapers were officers, directors and members of the National Newspaper Association, the lobby for about 2,500 community newspapers, including some small dailies but mostly rural weeklies that depend on the Postal Service to deliver their product. “This is a core chore of what NNA does,” said Robert Williams of Blackshear, Ga., president of the group.

NNA has been sponsoring lobbying trips to Washington since 1971, but the effort “has never been more critical,” Williams told the publishers as they gathered for briefings before heading to Capitol Hill. Chip Hutcheson, an NNA officer and KPA Past President, represented Kentucky at the event and met with several Kentucky congressmen.

Stevie Lowery and son Owen

Stevie Lowery and son Owen

Saturday is big day for two KPA Board members    

I wrote a few weeks ago about KPA Board members Stevie Lowery and Stan McKinney being involved in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation cancer fund-raising efforts. Saturday, March 22 is the day they have been looking forward to.

Stevie reports that she’s met/exceeded her $15,000 goal.

And Stan learned how cold water can be when he took the plunge into the foundation on Campbellsville University’s campus as a fund-raising ploy for St. Baldrick’s. Stan had but a few words to say about that — “Cold!!  Getting too old for such stuff.”

Upcoming Schedule:

April 10 – Planning session on Border War II Golf tournament, The Battle of Crooked Creek. Golf tournament for the benefit of the foundations associated with the Kentucky Press and Tennessee Press Associations.

April 15 – 2014 Kentucky General Assembly adjourns

April 17 – KPA/KPS Board of Directors Meeting, 12 noon, Governor’s Mansion, Frankfort

April 29 – Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame induction luncheon, The Grand Reserve, Manchester Street, Lexington

September 18 – Border War II: The Battle of Crooked Creek, London

October 23 – 24 – 2014 KPA Fall Board Retreat, Dale Hollow Lake State Park, Albany

Upcoming webinars – good training for free to $35

April 11, 2014 – Online Media Campus

Creating a Branding Image of Yourself

Registration fee: $35

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern

Your image is the visual enhancement of your technical skills and level of professionalism. You may be the best at what you do, but if you don’t put your best food forward from an image standpoint, then you may face obstacles to career advancement. In this webinar, we will:

– Discuss the concept of professional image and the importance it has on our career path.

– Identify ways that we can enhance or hinder our professional image.

– Explore strategies to intentionally communicate a professional image that supports the message we are trying to send.

Presenter: Denise Forney, organizational training and development professional with over 18 years of progressive management and training expertise.

April 15, 2014 – LMA (Local Media Assoc.)

Expanding your Digital Product Portfolio – Display Audience Extension

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern

For cost contact: Mike MacDonald – Partner consultant; (303)571-5117, ext. 19

SYNC2 Media / LMA Digital Partnership presents: Go beyond your inventory and sell an entire audience to your advertiser using Targeted Display.

April 17, 2014 – Online Media Campus

Short and Smart: Mobile Video Storytelling

Registration fee: $35

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern

Demand for short, timely video is high on all news websites. In this session you will learn how to shoot short videos with a smart phone or tablet. The focus is on 30- to 60-second video that requires no or very minimal editing and can be posted quickly. Skills include sequences of shots, getting high-quality audio from your device, shooting the best five shots, and more.

Presenter: Val Hoeppner is director of education and is based at the Diversity Institute’s Nashville offices in the John Seigenthaler Center. She oversees multimedia and mobile media instruction for Freedom Forum New Media Training, the Chips Quinn Scholars program, the American Indian Journalism Institute, the Diversity Institute Multimedia Scholars Program and other academic initiatives.

April 22, 2014 – Reynolds Center


Investigating Government Contractors

9 a.m. or 1 p.m.  

In this free, hour-long webinar, learn how to find or FOIA public databases on spending on contractors at the federal and state levels, what to look for in identifying stories on contractors, and how debarment of contractors works — or not.

Presenter: Ron Nixon of The New York Times

Did the dog eat your homework?

By John Foust

John Foust

John Foust

It’s no secret that the more sales people know about their prospects – before they begin a sales presentation – the better their chances for successful outcomes. In advertising, this means learning prospects’ business and marketing histories, identifying major competitors and analyzing what they want to accomplish in their advertising.

Since pre-presentation homework is such a crucial step in the sales process, why don’t more sales people make it a top priority? There are several possible reasons:

1. Impatience. High-energy sales people thrive on the adrenaline of the pitch and are eager to get to the main event. After all, isn’t that where their powers of persuasion come into play? And isn’t that where decisions are made?

Impatience has a big downside. It sends a signal that sales people are (1) unprepared and (2) concerned only about themselves. That’s a negative first impression that is difficult to overcome in a presentation.

2. Overconfidence. This is particularly common with experienced account executives; they feel like they can wing it, instead of spending time gathering information. They have dealt with so many widget dealers that they think they can skip the discovery step.

3. Lack of knowledge and skills. Sales people may skip this step because they don’t know the techniques to gather information. They may not have learned how to ask open-ended questions to encourage prospects to talk. They may be poor listeners. They may not know where to find information (online research, networking, etc.).

4. Research paralysis. Some people are more comfortable with technology than they are with people. Rather than avoid gathering information, they overdo it. You’ll find them at their desks, basking in the glow of their computer monitors, poring over online and database research, surrounded by charts and graphs.

Their mantra is not “Ready, aim, fire.” It’s “Ready, aim, aim.” This approach creates the risk of losing relevant, usable information in a mountain of details.

5. Poor time management. You may be familiar with the time management grid which illustrates four categories: (1) Urgent and Important, (2) Urgent but not Important, (3) Important but not Urgent and (4) not Urgent and not Important. It’s human nature to concentrate on the tasks which are in the urgent category, regardless of their importance. Something shouts “do this now,” and we do it – often without asking ourselves if it can wait.

Good time managers discipline themselves to focus on tasks which are important but not urgent. Preparation time can easily be put on the back burner, but they don’t let that happen.

6. Lack of desire. Every job has its most favorite and least favorite parts. Strong sales people persevere through the parts they don’t like, because they see how those duties fit into the big picture. Weak sales people simply avoid the things they don’t like.

7. Lack of perspective. Too many sales people – veterans as well as rookies – simply don’t realize the importance of research. The message here for them is: knowledge is power. That goes for knowledge of the sales process, as well as knowledge of their prospective advertisers.


(c) Copyright 2014 by John Foust. All rights reserved.


John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. Email for information:

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