May 24, 2013

• Ready to send a drone to cover the news?

• Local public libraries in limbo on future; have you done a story yet?

• Oklahoma tornadoes send a reminder — Is your Disaster Plan in place?

• Panels look at where we’ve been, where we’re headed

• In first week, intern through KPA has already ‘hit a home run’

• Kentucky New Era sting operation leads to guilty plea on single copy thefts

• Former New York official advises: ‘When a child dies, dig deeper’


For most all of them, the 10-week KPA internship with a Kentucky newspaper just started. Forget about it taking a while to get an intern comfortable with the surroundings, their duties, what’s expected and getting stories done. As you can see from this report from Dariush Shafa at the McLean County News, one intern has been a great first impression:

Thanks again for all the help getting Meghann Anderson in here to intern with us. She’s hit a home run right off the bat this weekend with the stories she produced from the Battle of Sacramento and I am truly impressed with the quality of her work, her writing ability and most of all her work ethic. I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes in this business.


Bobbie Bryant, community development advisor for KPA Associate member the Kentucky League of Cities, is something of a genealogist. She researched her family from Calloway County and found that since 1832, her family has been involved in farming in the Murray area. She’s written a couple of books on her family and KET has produced a documentary that details the importance of tobacco farmers in Kentucky’s history. More information on when the documentary airs — the next one is Wednesday, May 29 — can be found at

Ten generations of the Smith family have made a life from the land of their forbearers.

From 1832 until today, Bobbie Smith Bryant’s ancestors have grown and cured dark-fired tobacco in the Black Patch region of western Kentucky. The Black Patch is so called because of the unusual firing process used in tobacco production there.

Farming in the Black Patch is the story of a family farm in Murray that for generations has grown dark-fired tobacco, which is only common to Western Kentucky and Tennessee. The film, narrated by the nationally acclaimed Peter Thomas of Nova, explores for the first time on film the process of producing dark-fired tobacco from start to finish. The program airs Monday, Feb. 11 at 9/8 p.m. on KET.

“It’s sort of history lesson meets reality show,” says producer Michael Breeding. “We started out producing the history of dark-fired because so little is known about this subject matter.”

The film traces the arduous task of running and operating a modern tobacco farm by following Billy Dale Smith, Josh Smith and William H. (Billy) Smith Jr. of Calloway County for more than two years. Other western Kentucky farmers featured include Scott Lowe, Steve and Craig Carraway, Danny Cunningham and JohnMichael Puckett.

Breeding said the idea for the film came about when Bobbie Smith Bryant, sister to Billy Dale Smith and daughter to Billy Smith Sr., talked to him three years ago about how her family had been giving tours of the farm.

“As I learned more about our family’s history, I discovered that we have ten generations of ancestors that grew tobacco in Western Kentucky. Our family, like so many others in the region, has made a living from working tobacco – and we still do. It has paid for our homes, our education, our entire way of life,” Bryant said.

Along the way, the film explains the process of tobacco cultivation and specifically focuses on the dark-fired process. The narrative also explores the history of tobacco at key pivotal points beginning as far back as 6,000 B.C.

The film features original music by western Kentucky native Beau Haddock, originator of the Kentucky-based 1970s folk-rock group The Little River Band.

Farming in the Black Patch was produced by Michael Breeding Media.


Ticks me off to see WLEX-TV’s commercial on “Land of the Free” and taking on newspapers for charging for access to websites. Obviously, that’s a direct reference to the Lexington Herald-Leader. And then the commercial goes on to say that you can check the Channel 18 any time and it won’t cost you anything.

Well, that’s fine and dandy. But the difference is is being updated continually, with the latest news and certainly breaking news.

On Monday of this week, the Channel 18 sports website still had stories from last week. Not just some stories, all the stories. There had been no updates since late Thursday by Monday morning. One of the stories was on UK in the regional softball tournament. Sorry, 18 but the tournament was over on Sunday with UK winning and heading to the super regional.

As they say, you pay for what you get. So I guess that site being free, you shouldn’t expect more than news that’s four days old.

Interesting, too, that a former network news reporter is taking local TV stations to task for “lousy local news.” Most of it seems to be house and grass fires and fender bender reports, nothing in-depth. Stations won’t spend money to have a reporter doing full investigative reporter. And he calls local newscasts nothing more than “undemanding filler located between used-car commercials and mattress ads.”

Check out the story on the IRJCI website —


This is another of those situations doesn’t seem like it would be hard to grasp but it is. And it leads to the question of what’s the future of your local public library. This situation does not affect every public library system but some 98 of them it would. And depending on a higher court decision it might lead to drastic cuts by the libraries, closing the doors, refunding back taxes collected, or who knows? There’s no clear-cut answer to what the future holds. And remember — it’s more than the physical library building. It has outreach to all the other services, such as bookmobiles and branch locations, that libraries have.

I got to participate in a “Working with the Media” training session Tuesday afternoon for members of the Kentucky Library Association. It’s important enough to them that 80 to 85 attended. Few of them reported that their local newspaper(s) has asked them about what a court case involving Kenton and Campbell counties might mean for the local library.

That’s understandable and I told them don’t expect your local newspaper to know everything. People think we should know every detail of every issue or bit of news but any more, that’s impossible. So I suggested that when they return home they take the time to contact their newspaper(s) and talk with them about this situation. Better yet, I suggested an Op-Ed piece that would give the public the background on this case and what the scenarios might be. And some could be devastating to public libraries as we know them.

I have some background information on the lawsuit against public library districts and I’d be glad to share that with you if you’ll contact me. But here’s a graph that summarizes the future or what could happen:

“If libraries are forced to return to 1979 tax rates, the loss to Kentucky residents would include drastic reductions in public library services, possible library closures, limitations on hours, elimination of community programming, educational programming, and cessation of current outreach programs to schools, senior citizens and home school families.”

Hmm, that doesn’t leave too many of your county residents who would not be affected if the court decision goes against libraries.

Again, not every public library in the state is affected but let’s just say “most” every public library is. It all depends on their funding mechanism. Talk with the librarian now and get the story from a local angle. It’s one that should make most all of the public rally to support their existence.


While you’re talking with the library, ask if it has a “Friends of the Library” chapter or program. Several librarians mentioned their group buys radio time or newspaper ads to support the media outlet and to also let local folks know about some of the programs and offerings at the local public library. One librarian reported she had just signed a year contract with a local radio station to promote events at her library.


My colleague Mark Thomas at Oklahoma Press Association, in Oklahoma City, updated state press association folks on the Moore and tornado. The OPA staff is all okay and Mark is assessing how his newspapers fared after Monday’s devastation.

But in his message Mark took time to remind us to remind you about disaster planning. You may not think it’s not going to happen but it does (ask Danville about the 2009 ice storm; ask Earl Kinner and the folks at Courier Publishing in West Liberty). I know Earl and his staff never thought that on March 2, 2012, the newspaper office and most all of West Liberty would be in ruins later that evening.

So I’m following Mark’s reminder and telling you to check out the Disaster Planning kit on our website. It doesn’t matter if you’re a large day, small weekly, Associate Member or just a friend and receiving this, it will give you some things to think about and preparations to make.

Go to and download the pdf then make your checklist.


There’s probably not a news media person in Kentucky who isn’t aware of the news the last three or four years with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. I got this link Thursday from the Journalism Center on Children and Families, finding the advice worth passing along and the interview with a former New York City Commission for the Administration for Children’s Services quite informative and interesting.

From the Journalism Center on Children and Families

Former New York City Commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services John Mattingly recently spoke with JCCF’s Julie Drizin and shared his experiences running one of the nation’s largest child welfare administrations under the microscope of the New York City press. Mattingly is now Senior Fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

To read the full interview, go to this website:


Here’s a release from the State Treasurer about his Treasure Finders project. And notice the reference to “the passive manner that relied on newspaper advertising” before he came up with this program in 2009. I’d have to disagree. Because people would see the names of family and friends published in the newspaper and notify them to contact that office about making a claim. I don’t see making people go to the Internet as successful as the newspaper listing the treasurer ran.

“Kentucky Treasurer Todd Hollenbach is looking for a few good volunteers to help him and his Treasure Finders program search for folks in Kenton County who may be able to claim 37,971 abandoned properties worth $11.8-million.

“Most of the properties are in the form of cash from old insurance policies, stocks and bonds and leftover bank accounts.” Hollenbach said, “But there are also more than 50-thousand unclaimed items stored in the Treasury vault including hundreds of military items from civil war discharge papers to purple hearts.”

“The Treasure Finders event for Kenton County is scheduled for Thursday May 30th from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. ET on the 4th floor of the Kenton County Courthouse at 303 Court Street in Covington.

“Treasurer Hollenbach created the Treasure Finders program in 2009. Prior to that time, the unclaimed property program was operated in a passive manner that relied on newspaper advertising to alert people of possible claims and then put the burden on the claimant to institute the process to recover their property. ”


During the conference yesterday in Georgetown on the future of the written word, Advocate Communications executive editor John Nelson mentioned an article he had read, about the news media using drones in news coverage.

Think about it! Get a drone and send it out to cover a hostage standoff or wreck where road access is shut down, any sort of event where a reporter and photographer might not have access or be able to access the immediate area.

Well, the Missouri School of Journalism is experimenting with such an idea:

Pens, notebooks, computers and, now, drones?

The unmanned aerial vehicles may soon become a critical part of the reporter’s arsenal of tools, if a fascinating experiment by a curious journalism instructor proves successful.

Bill Allen, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri is using his classroom as a laboratory to explore the potential upside of using drones for journalistic purposes.

His class, called Science Investigative Reporting/Drone Journalism, is in its inaugural semester as part of the new University of Missouri Drone Journalism Program.

“Our vision is to help lead the journalism profession responsibly and innovatively into a new frontier of public service news coverage using this new technology,” Allen said. “We think drones, if used right, have potential to help journalists perform their news-gathering and watchdog duties in our democracy.”

In the class, students operate drones, or “J-bots,” as they call them, weighing only a few pounds each, as tools to help with reporting. The “J-bots” are about the size of a basketball and each has foot-long legs, small motors with propellers and is equipped with a high-quality lightweight GoPro camera.

Read more:

Of course, Sen. Rand Paul would probably say, “Not in my neighborhood you won’t.”

Makes we wonder, though, since anyone working along a U.S. highway was have a high-resolution vest on, if the federal regulation would require drones be clad in those vests, or painted that lime yellow?

Think of the possibilities! Certainly would be cheaper than renting a plane or helicopter to get some overhead shots. We could create a “drone” pool where lots of newspapers could share the photos and videos from whatever the situation is. Hmm, wonder if the Board would approve KPA purchasing a drone that could be leased to newspapers.


From Taylor Hayes, publisher of the Kentucky New Era, comes this news about a “sting operation” on single copy thefts that lead to a guilty plea:

“We have really cracked down on single copy theft. After our own sting operation and other efforts to curtail theft we finally caught someone. After months of back and forth court appearances the defendant pleaded guilty. Theft has decreased from high double digit percentages to mid single digit percentages. Channel 5 news out of Nashville picked up on the story. Here is the link. Our circulation manager did a good job with the interview.”


Is an organization set up by the federal government, but one that does receive some state funding, subject to the Open Meetings law?

This question came in relation to the agency/business receiving possibly 25 percent or more of its funding from state resources but one that is not complying with the Open Meetings law.

The straightforward answer is No. Just because an agency/business receives the 25 percent (or more) funding level does mean it has to meet the Open Meetings law. It would be subject to Open Records but only pertaining to that 25 percent from state tax resources. To be subject to Open Meetings it would have to be set up as one of the following, the definitions of a public agency under the Open Meetings law, and this particular agency/business is not:

2) “Public agency” means:

(a) Every state or local government board, commission, and authority;

(b) Every state or local legislative board, commission, and committee;

(c) Every county and city governing body, council, school district board, special district board, and municipal corporation;

(d) Every state or local government agency, including the policy-making board of an institution of education, created by or pursuant to state or local statute, executive order, ordinance, resolution, or other legislative act;

(e) Any body created by or pursuant to state or local statute, executive order, ordinance, resolution, or other legislative act in the legislative or executive branch of government;

(f) Any entity when the majority of its governing body is appointed by a “public agency” as defined in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g), or (h) of this subsection, a member or employee of a “public agency,” a state or local officer, or any combination thereof;

(g) Any board, commission, committee, subcommittee, ad hoc committee, advisory committee, council, or agency, except for a committee of a hospital medical staff or a committee formed for the purpose of evaluating the qualifications of public agency employees, established, created, and controlled by a “public agency” as defined in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), or (h) of this subsection; and

(h) Any interagency body of two (2) or more public agencies where each “public agency” is defined in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), or (g) of this subsection.


Some of the KPA Digital Committee, primarily the chairs/co-chairs, had a conference call Thursday afternoon and we’re making progress. Instead of having different committee chairs (five committees in all) working with each newspaper, we’ve assigned one member to each of the four pilot newspapers. They will be contacting their newspaper in the next few days, assessing where the newspaper is, what it needs and getting the newspaper the training, background, assistance that each needs.

The four pilot newspapers, with the mentor assigned to it, include The Lewis County Herald (John Mura); Mountain Advocate, Barbourville, (Peter Baniak); Citizen Voice and Times, Irvine, (Liz Hansen); and The Lake News, Calvert City, (John Preston).

Those four will have a conference call on June 7 to update what they’ve found out, then the chairs/co-chairs will have a conference call on June 13.


David Greer has made a couple of minor wording changes in the Kentucky Press News Service agreement. The revised version is available at

The changes are noted in these two areas:

1. (a) KPNS members shall give KPNS access to their locally written content. If the KPNS member has a website “paywall” or any other method used to control access to the site, the member shall provide KPNS with the means to access the content. If the member posts only portions of stories on its site in lieu of a “paywall,” the member agrees to give KPNS the full version of stories, via email, if requested.

16. Insurance. Each Newspaper agrees to have a libel insurance policy or errors and omissions insurance policy covering the publication of the Content herein and that all premiums and deductibles are paid timely and in full. KPA agrees to carry for KPNS members a $1 million libel insurance policy covering KPNS content only that is published or broadcast by KPNS members only.


I ask because there are a lot of links and pieces of information pertinent to you, your job, your newspaper or Associate Division company and you just might be missing something:

Got a job opening — Post it at and look under Job Bank

Need an employee? — Check out the resumes under the same URL

Staff member need a KPA Media Pass? Go to


This is the Peter Wagner version of Teri and Loyd’s visit in Iowa last week on their way to see their son in one of the Dakotas. I love Peter’s comment — Loyd is the half that wants to make it happen while Teri is the one with the common sense approach. (Note to Loyd: Hope you all enjoyed the visit with the Wagners half as much as they enjoyed having you all.)

“Loyd and Teri arrived last Thursday right on time. I remember Loyd, of course, but really was meeting Teri for the first time. He is the “going to make this happen” half of the family and she is the “but let’s apply some common sense, first” half. Wonderful, dedicated people.

“They toured our newspaper offices and then the printing plant. I think the plant sort of blew Loyd away. We print 85 weekly papers and tons of commercial work on our web presses every week.

“Loyd seemed to especially enjoy visiting with Jeff, my son, who now manages the printing firm and the CEO at our publishing company. His word, describing both operations and the family was “passion” And in that area I am blessed – both my sons (Jay, the editorial side died of cancer at the age of 45 three years ago), my wife and my daughter-in-law have give their all for as long as I can remember because they love the business and love being a publishing family.

“Later that evening, after Connie and I attended a piano recital by our granddaughter, we attempted to take Loyd and Teri out to dinner. Loyd, however, insisted on paying the check. A bit embarrassing for me.

“We had a great evening of conversation, mostly about family and interests other than newspapering.Hopefully they’ll come through again some time on their way to visiting their son.

The folks in Orange City loved their attention and the column.


Starts June 6 – Certificate Program: Print and Digital: Direct Response Advertising

June 6, June 20, and July 11 — 3 sessions, each covering different topics

2 – 3 pm/Eastern; 1 – 2 pm/Central — Registration $35 — To avoid late fee, register by May 30

For more information and to register at Online Media Campus:

Advertising and Sales

June 27 Top Strategies and Tactics for Sales Success

2 – 3 pm/Eastern; 1 – 2 p.m/Central — Registration $35 — To avoid late fee, register by June 24

For more information and to register at Online Media Campus:

Top Strategies and Tactics for Sales Success!


I’m taking a vacation day today but as always am available by email or cell phone. Call if you need anything.

Monday is Memorial Day so the KPA Central Office will be closed. We’ll be back Tuesday, May 28, at 8 a.m. Eastern time.


The Cardome Center in Georgetown, home of the Museum of the Written Word, hosted a conference Wednesday afternoon on “Words in a Changing World: From Bradford to Bloggers.” The afternoon featured two panel groups, both moderated by Tom Eblen, columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. The first panel focused more on the history of newspapers in Kentucky, appropriate since the day included the unveiling of the Bradford Museum to honor, the publisher of Kentucky’s first newspaper, The Kentucke Gazette. That panel included Steve Vest, Kentucky Monthly; Liz Hansen, Eastern Kentucky University; Mike Farrell, Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at UK; Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at UK; and long-time Kentucky publisher and former host of KET’s ‘Comment on Kentucky,’ Al Smith.

Al Cross, right, makes a point during a panel discussion Wednesday on Words in a Changing World; From Bradford to Bloggers. Looking on is Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen, moderator of the panel.
Al Cross, right, makes a point during a panel discussion Wednesday on Words in a Changing World; From Bradford to Bloggers. Looking on is Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen, moderator of the panel.
The second panel looked at the present and into the future as newspapers accept, adopt and prepare for life in a digital world. Those panelists included retired Courier-Journal education reporter, Richard Wilson; Laura Cullen Glasscock, publisher of the modern-day The Kentucky Gazette; John Nelson, executive editor for Advocate Communications; Peter Baniak, editor, The Lexington Herald-Leader; and KPA Executive Director David T. Thompson.

The printing press used by John Bradford to publish The Kentucke Gazette

The printing press used by John Bradford to publish The Kentucke Gazette

Front pages from several issues of the Kentucke Gazette hang on the wall in the Bradford Museum at Cardome Center in Georgetown

Front pages from several issues of the Kentucke Gazette hang on the wall in the Bradford Museum at Cardome Center in Georgetown


May 27, 2013

Memorial Day – KPA Central Office Closed

June 3, 2013

Better Business Bureau Golf Tournament

June 5, 2013

11:30 a.m./Central — Meeting on Kentucky vs. Tennessee Border War Golf Tournament

June 21, 2013

8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Senate Majority Leadership Golf Outing, Cherry Blossom, Georgetown

11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Newspapers in Education Professional Development training for teachers and librarians, Lexington Herald-Leader. Contact Kriss Johnson (

July 12, 2013

12 Noon – KPA/KPS Board of Directors Meeting, Kentucky History Center, Frankfort

August 6 – 9, 2013

Newspaper Association Managers Annual Convention, Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia

September 8, 2013

Fall Chapter Series with Woody and Chloe Begins 10-week Run

September 9, 2013

Working Date – 2013 Inaugural Border War Golf Tournament, Kentucky Press vs. Tennessee Press members, Fairvue Plantation Country Club, Gallatin, TN

September 12 – 15, 2013

127th Annual National Newspaper Association Convention and Trade Show, Phoenix, AZ

October 24 – 25, 2013

2013 KPA Fall Board Retreat – Dale Hollow Lake State Park – Burkesville, KY

November 3 – 5, 2013

2013 Southeast Region Newspaper Association Managers (SERNAM) Fall Conference, Park Vista Hotel, Gatlinburg

January 23 – 24, 2014

2014 KPA Winter Convention, Hyatt Regency, Lexington

January 22 – 23, 2015

2015 KPA Winter Convention, Marriott East, Louisville

Sometime in 2017

We’ve been asked to judge the Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest in 2017. Please hold the year open for further information on when, where and what media format Mississippi papers will be in that year.

Sometime in 2018

Colorado judging KPA Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers Competition


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