March 7, 2014

• HB548 withdrawn but there are still plenty of bills getting our attention

• Tell your advertisers to think of print and its ‘best’ Return on Investment

• HB28 would make advertising by lobbyists, groups part of Legislative Ethics reports

• Are you ready for Sunshine Week? Have plans for stories, editorials, promo ads?

• Set your clocks ahead this weekend

• PETA using drones to spy on hunters 

• With NCAA tourneys on the horizon, watch what your advertisers say! 


Spring forward is Sunday!

clock-150x150I reminded you last week to have your readers set their clocks up an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday (or before they go to bed Saturday night) and so now I’ll remind you. It’s “spring forward” time in the Bluegrass and most other states.

Sunshine Week – March 16 – 22

I’ve written the last couple of weeks about Sunshine Week – 2014, scheduled March 16-22. I won’t take time to rehash any of that, just will submit this reminder and hope you’ve made some plans for stories, editorials and ads promoting government sunshine!


KPA Spring Board meeting set

The KPA/KPS Board of Directors will be meeting Thursday, April 17, at the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort. The agenda includes details of the 2014 General Assembly that will have just ended two days prior to the Board meeting.

If you have any issue that needs to be discussed by the Board, please let me know or talk with your District Board member.

A disconcerning bill by an otherwise ‘open government’ legislator

Editor’s Note: This was written prior to the House session this morning. At the end of the session, Rep. Derrick Graham announced he had filed paperwork to withdraw HB548. In talking with him after the session, he had already decided Thursday that he was going to withdraw the bill after learning KPA and some other groups were opposed.

I was a little surprised to see some legislation filed this week on the fee a public agency could charge for an electronic record.

But I was shocked to see who the sponsor is.

I take the latter part first. Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, has long been a supporter of Open Meetings and Open Records. He developed language about 18 years ago to require elected and appointed public officials receive a copy of ‘Your Duty under the Law,’ explaining in detail all aspects of the state’s Sunshine laws. From that, the AG developed the publication and you’ve heard me, even recently, mention that publication.

And I’ve been in many meetings when legislation on Open Meeting or Open Record laws was discussed. And Rep. Graham, in every meeting, would ask, “Where does the Kentucky Press Association stand on this bill?” If we supported, he would vote in favor; if we opposed, the argued against passage of the bill.

And he knows exactly where we stand on HB548. Vehemently opposed. Late Thursday, after being asked about his legislation by Herald-Leader reporter John Cheves, Rep. Graham said that he would not push the bill.

HB548 would allow public agencies to charge for an electronic copy as if the digital copy was printed on a regular piece of paper. If the electronic copy was 20 pages, 1000 pages or 1 page, the agency would be able to charge a fee. Even though the record wasn’t printed at all. No paper is used. No ink is used. No copier is needed so no staff member has to stand at it for several minutes, reproducing the document.

But an agency would have the right to charge as if that took place. As it is now, you can walk in with a disk, ask for a record and get it copied electronically. It might take a few seconds to a few minutes. But much less is involved that printing on paper.

Hello? Tax dollars are already paying for a lot of that so the costs are covered. What gives a public agency the right to “make money.” After all, that’s what this legislation would do.

And watch for an AG’s Opinion in the near future on something similar to what the legislation addresses. There is an appeal pending, I understand, on a proposed cost of electronically producing a record.

For now, Representative Graham has gotten the message and I believe will not push the bill to become law. This kind of legislation is not the legacy he deserves.

Here’s a link to the story filed on Thursday night:

Statement by Jon Fleischaker

After reading House Bill 548, Jon sent me the following statement:

“House Bill 548 really represents a repudiation of the basic philosophy behind the Open Records Law.  From the beginning (1976) the philosophy has been that one of the basic functions of government is to provide information to citizens.  This is set forth in KRS 61.871, where the General Assembly declared, “that the basic policy of KRS 61.870 to 61.884 is a free and open examination of public records is in the public interest….”.  The Open Records Law was never intended to provide a mechanism for government agencies to make money, and that is the philosophy clearly set forth in KRS 61.874.

“One of the ways that public agencies in other states have effectively denied access to records is by substantially increasing the cost of public access to records.  In essence, the law in some other states says the public has a right to records of government, but the cost of obtaining these records is so substantial that it effectively denies access to  records to citizens.  That is precisely what will start occurring if the revisions to 61.874 are enacted.  A substantial amount of information about government is now maintained electronically, which should make it easier and more cost effective to allow citizens access to such information and records.  The proposed revisions of KRS 61.874 radically alters that equation and essentially will result in a denial of citizen access to electronically maintained information and records because of the cost of reproducing those records in a paper format.

“In sum, the proposed revisions, while seemingly simple, radically alters the basic philosophy in the Open Records Law which has been in place for 38 years and will result in less access to public records, perhaps much less.”

Legislation watch

We’ve read and monitored and watched more legislation than listed below but I wanted to give you reference to some that we’re watching more
capitol-3closely or working harder on for support or defeat. The link for each will take you to the LRC webpage for the synopsis and the report as of Thursday afternoon when the legislation stands.

You’ll note that SB101 on Public Notice advertising still has not been heard by the Senate State and Local Government Committee. And there is no updated report on SB150, legislation affecting the public notices on self-storage units. If it moves, it should do so with the language removed that would stop the notices from being published in the newspaper.

And Senate Bill 105 is legislation drafted by KPA concerning newspaper carriers as independent contractors. It’s passed the Senate and is now in the House. We have reason to believe it will come before the House Labor and Industry Committee either March 13 or March 20.

Print shows best Return on Investment

Here’s a new approach to selling print advertising: Tell retailers that international studies show print offers the best ROI. Think about it. That’s what retailers are looking for, a return on their advertising investment. And if print offers the best ROI, then print is where their dollars need to be.

Here’s an article from INMA — the International News Media Association:


Are advertising budgets well spent?

In times of economic crisis especially, it is tempting to focus on costs. Media budgets are limited in general, and print advertising in particular is experiencing a considerable decline. Online advertising is flourishing, while TV seems to maintain its share.

But what about the return on investment of advertising in these media channels? Is the shift toward online a rational decision? A media campaign should not be judged solely on costs, discount, or reach.

It is results that count. How can the yield of advertising be judged?

In the last few years, return on investment (ROI) has become the most popular key performance indicator to evaluate the selected media mix.

Thorough method of measuring media ROI: Following the example of a German study, Dutch news media and GfK Research have studied the options to optimise media usage.

In a study of 10 different multi-media campaigns, the additional sales of brands is compared to the media spend to calculate the yield of the advertising euro.

And the insights from this study appear to be similar to earlier results: By fine-tuning the chosen media channels, much more media effectiveness can be realised.

Remarkably, the print media are delivering the best returns. Beside these interesting observations, some useful additional insights can be derived.

The highlights of this media ROI study were presented during INMA’s Advertising Ideas Day in Amsterdam on February 28.

Read more:

It’s that time (think what month it is and another word for craziness)

ncaa-logoAnd the NCAA probably has anything associated with this time of the year already trademarked. In other words, you can’t use Road to the F…. F…, or Mar.. Mad…. or a long list of other words without violating copyright laws.

So ad staffs, make sure your advertisers aren’t using any of the NCAA trademarked words in their ads.

The list is much too long to show here so I’m giving you a link to the website showing all NCAA trademark names.

Drones vs. Angels

The battle between animal rights advocates and hunters has taken to the air. As the Birmingham News reports, the Alabama Senate recently passed legislation that makes it a crime for someone to use a drone aircraft to harass someone who is hunting or fishing in the Heart of Dixie. While this might seem a bit like paranoia run amok…it actually isn’t. It turns out that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is now selling small drones that can take videos of hunters who might not be strictly following their state’s rules, with the idea of then forwarding them to wildlife officials. PETA says it hopes to have a fleet of what it’s calling “Air Angels” in use by this fall. They won’t be in Illinois, however. The Prairie State has already passed a law barring them, and it appears ‘Bama is right behind them.

Here’s part of a release from PETA ( and a photo of the drone the animal rights organization will be using:

PETA has come up with a drone program that even Rand Paul might be able to get behind. Inspired by the increasing use of drones for nonmilitary purposes, such as fighting wildfires and conducting search-and-rescue missions, PETA is planning to acquire a drone of its own to spy on hunters and catch them in the act as they terrorize animals and break game laws.

dronePETA has decided to use a remote-controlled aircraft to collect and publicize footage of hunters shooting animals and allowing them to escape, only to die slowly and in agony, among other common violations. PETA has contacted Australia-based drone manufacturer Aerobot, maker of the state-of-the-art, remote-controlled helicopters that can be outfitted with a video camera, to discuss which of its products would best fit the purpose. The drones can also be used to fly over factory farms and other areas that are hotbeds of abuse.

Read more

First month of lobbyist reports shows $2 million spent

And again, thankfully, KPA is not on the list of “top spenders.” But of the $2 million spent on lobbying, a one-month record of $1.9 million was spent compensating 598 lobbyists. If legislation that passed a House committee becomes law, the totals will decrease in future sessions. That’s because of House Bill 28, sponsored by Rep. Brent Yonts. If the bill becomes law, there won’t even be a “cup of coffee” spent by lobbyists. Hence, the reference to the legislation is the “no cup of coffee” rule.

Here’s the first month’s report from the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission:

In the first month of the 2014 General Assembly, lobbyists and their employers spent over $2.1 million on lobbying, including a one-month record of $1.9 million on compensating 598 lobbyists.

However, the total spending is less than was spent in the comparable month two years ago, when the total was inflated by a $182,000 expenditure by a single employer of lobbyists.

Of the 645 businesses and organizations employing lobbyists, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was the leading spender for the month at $34,724, followed by Altria at $30,698.  Other top spenders in January include: Kentucky Hospital Association ($27,583); Kentucky Retail Federation ($22,850); Teachers Insurance and Annuity ($21,667); Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives ($20,396); Kentucky Justice Association ($19,135); Kentucky Medical Association ($18,826); Kentucky Bankers Association ($18,080); AT&T ($17,635); Lloyd’s America ($17,146); United Parcel Service ($17,050); CSX Corp. ($16,910); Kentuckians for the Commonwealth ($16,222); Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation ($15,460); Kentucky League of Cities ($15,245); Kentucky Association of School Administrators ($15,200); D-C Elevator ($15,000); Norton Healthcare ($14,500); Home Builders Association of Kentucky ($14,425); Baptist Health ($14,000); Kentucky Education Association ($13,937); Kentucky Optometric Association ($13750); and Kentucky Association of Manufacturers ($12,096).

Lobbyists and their employers spent about $32,000 in January on receptions and events, including $11,414 spent by CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Paducah & Louisville Railway on a reception held on rail cars parked in downtown Frankfort.  The Kentucky Rural Water Association spent $4,663 on a legislative breakfast at the Capital Plaza Hotel; the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce spent $4,197 on Chamber Day at the Lexington Center; Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists spent $2,827 on a legislative lunch at the Capitol Annex; and the Kentucky Professional Firefighters spent $1,801 on a legislative chili dinner at Buffalo Trace Distillery.

But advertising costs could be considered ‘lobbying’

Another part of the bill concerns and defines “advertising.” During the 2012 and 2013 sessions, large amounts were spent by companies employing lobbyists to advertise specific positions on legislation. And the advertising encouraged the public to contact their legislators, at least the public that agreed to the company’s position.

Here’s that section of House Bill 28 dealing with advertising:

5.         a.         The cost of advertising which appears during a session of the General Assembly, and which supports or opposes legislation, if the cost is paid by an employer or a person or organization affiliated with an employer;

            b.         As used in this subparagraph, “advertising” means statements disseminated to the public either in print, by radio or television broadcast, or by any other electronic means, including Internet or telephonic communications, and may include direct or bulk mailings of printed materials.

Now as a newspaper, don’t fret. You’ll have no reports to submit to the Ethics Commission. All of that will rest on the shoulders of the lobbying organization. So if KPA purchases an ad seeking support or defeat of legislation, that would be considered a lobbying expense if HB28 becomes law. Reporting that will be the lobbying group’s responsibility. So don’t fret. But it will be interesting to see what some companies spend on advertising during the session.

And it’s before the House today for approval. From there it heads on to the Senate and the process starts all over again.

Part of the General Assembly has ended

No, they haven’t gone home and won’t until March 31 to begin the Veto Session. Then they come back April 14 and 15 for any veto overrides.

But part of the session ended this week — the time frame for the House and Senate to introduce new bills.

This session will have 824 total bills introduced, with 584 in the House, 240 in the Senate. That’s pretty normal for an even-year session. In 2010, there were 834 total bills, 601 of them in House. And in 2010, the House had 566 bills, the Senate 201 for 786.

Odd-year sessions being shorter, the number of bills introduced isn’t as large. And in 2013, there were 674 total, broken down by 458 in the House, 216 in the Senate.

But that doesn’t mean the ideas in legislation ends. This is the time when a sponsor will find a bill on the same subject and attach his/her legislative idea on another bill. The next three weeks require extra attention to reading bills and proposed amendments. You never know what they might do.

Local Media group offering ‘Top Ad Training’ (and it’s free to you) session

As a sponsor of  LocalMediaInsider’s Top Ads Awards,  KPA member newspapers and their sales teams have free access to a “Top Ads Training” session on Tuesday, March 25, 1 to 2 p.m./Eastern.

The session will focus on great ideas to sell to businesses with specific marketing challenges – based on 16 real world campaigns that delivered outstanding results using interactive and legacy media.

Included are campaigns that utilize Facebook, e-mail and GPS targeted ads to build fans, e-mails, text opt-ins, appointments and walk-ins for merchants.

These are some of the top ideas executed successfully for local merchants around the country!  Learn great ideas that garner larger sales and happier customers.

Register for the Tuesday, March 25 webinar here:

After registering you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the training.

Please feel free to forward the link to your sales teams, and use the recording afterwards in your sales meetings.

And don’t forget to submit your entries to the 2014 Top Ad Awards, featuring no entry fees and CASH prizes for reps. The deadline to enter is March 30. Here’s a link to the contest information:

Mardi Gras by mistake

Fat Tuesday this week reminded me of a trip to Louisiana a few years ago to get a KPA Ad Contest judged. Back in those days, we had to take five or six KPA ad division folks with us because of the judging process. On the trip were Dorothy Abernathy, Dave Eldridge, Don White, Sue Cammack, myself and maybe one or two more.

We flew to Baton Rouge on a Tuesday, getting there early afternoon. When we arrived I checked on the three boxes of entries we had shipped. The hotel had received only one, the second was to be delivered that afternoon but UPS had no idea where the third box was. Though judging was not until that Thursday, I was fretting a third of the entries wouldn’t make it.

The rest of the group wanted to do something that Tuesday. I told them to go ahead and do what they wanted but I was staying at the hotel for the second box to arrive and to continue tracking the third box.

Eldridge being the tour guide he is decided the group should go to New Orleans. I’m not sure any of the others had ever been to Bourbon Street so he thought it would be good to introduce them to that culture.

It was pre-cell phone days so there was no way to keep track of them or to let them know when the entries arrived. By 10 p.m., the second box had arrived and UPS had found the third one. It was on its way to Baton Rouge to the hotel and would arrive the next day. The group wasn’t back at the time so I went to bed, knowing with Eldridge they were in good hands (if you know Dave Eldridge, this is where you say, “Yeah, right.”)

About 3 a.m. came a banging on my door. The group had returned from New Orleans with a tale that was hard to believe.

They got to New Orleans without advance knowledge it was Fat Tuesday. So they were caught in the throng of the Mardi Gras celebration and had some stories to tell. Every Fat Tuesday I’m reminded of that ad contest judging trip and not realizing we were going to Louisiana in the heart of the Mardi Gras celebration. And you can imagine with Eldridge, Don White, Dorothy and Sue it was quite an experience to be in the middle of all that. Mardi Gras may never be the same after their presence.

Rural South Dakota paper honored for open-records fight that began with a reader seeing a legal ad

From The Rural Blog/Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

For the past four years The Daily Republic has been named the best small daily newspaper in South Dakota. The 11,000-circulation paper in Mitchell recently received another honor: the inaugural Public Notice Journalism Award. The Public Notice Resource Center awarded it to the Republic for using public notice to champion open records and freedom of the press. The paper will receive the award March 13 at the National Press Club.

“The newspaper is recognized for a series inaugurated by an alert reader who spotted a payment by a local school board in a public notice,” the PNRC says on its website. “The reader’s tip to the newspaper led to a protracted open-records lawsuit by the newspaper against the school district. The conclusion: the revelation of a $175,000 severance agreement with a former school superintendent that otherwise would not have reached the readers’ attention.”

Republic Editor Seth Tupper told PNRC that the series “all started with the reader who saw the payment in the legals and called us with the tip. Without those legals, I don’t believe anyone outside of the school district board and administration would ever have known about the amount or nature of the $175,000 agreement between the school district and the ex-superintendent.”

PNRC President Bradley L. Thompson II, chairman and CEO of the Detroit Legal News, said, “This series is a terrific illustration of why it is important for governments to keep these notices where the public is likely to find them. The reader in this case helped to point to the story.  The reporting staff and their freedom-of-information lawsuit did the rest.” (Read more)  To view the Daily Republic click here.

In many states, local governments are asking legislatures to reduce legal-notice requirements to reduce costs. “We think that cost is a small and worthy investment in keeping the public informed about the workings of government,” said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, publisher of The Rural Blog, and a former president of the Society of Professional Journalists. “Public-notice laws are the often-overlooked third leg of the three-legged stool that supports freedom of information, the others being laws for open records and open meetings, including open courts.”

KSP fatal accident report

During part of the last two years, especially comparing how many motorcyclists had been killed while not wearing a helmet, the information was taken from the weekly KSP fatality reports. But the process was changed a few weeks ago and the reports are no longer available through the typical news release.

David Greer used the same report frequently for stories for Kentucky Press News Services. And he was lamenting earlier this week about how much he misses the reports.

We’ve heard nothing from any newspaper complaining about the new process so we assume you’re getting used to the new format.

Here’s my article from early February, alerting you all to the format:

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 —

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