May 25, 2012

Notes from my desktop/laptop/iPhone/iPad and wherever else I can write:

SOMEONE MY AGE?

I shared this earlier this week with the Board and staff and now pass along the LOL of the day to you:

Saturday and Sunday, I worked the National Golf Association pro tournament at Cherry Blossom in Georgetown. Used to be the Hooters Tour and on Sunday lots of the Hooters girls would show up for the check presentation.

Anyway, they put me on one of the leader scoreboards way on the back nine. And gave me a walkie-talkie to communicate with the scoreboard at the 18th green. The hills in between and the quarter mile distance didn’t make for very good communication.

After a couple of hours on the job Saturday, an NGATour representative came around to see if everything was okay, if I needed anything. Told him the communication with the 18th green had some static but otherwise thought I could make it okay.

He said, “If you had an iPhone, you could keep up with real live scoring through our website!”

I showed him my iPhone.

“Do you know how to access the internet?”

Assured him I did and he gave me the URL (yeah, buddy, I know what a URL is).

To which he said, “It is so unusual seeing someone your age using an iPhone or knowing what the internet is all about.”

So this young kid thinks I’m too old to have an iPhone or use the internet???

He was really shocked when I told him about KPA and we’re using Facebook and Twitter and getting into other social media.

STATE PARKS STORIES AND PHOTOS

Putting together a travel section for the summer and looking for some material? I think we have your covered. We will be posting on the KPA website a bunch of stories and photographs featuring the Kentucky State Parks. These are made available to us from the Tourism Cabinet at our request so you can have some copy and photos for a special section or story/photo in your newspaper.

And contact local sporting goods stores (golfing, fishing seems to be common at state parks) or maybe there’s a boat dealer in the area. Better yet, find an RV dealer and sell them on the concept of renting out an RV and encouraging people to try several state parks on one trip around the Commonwealth.

The stories and photos are available at www.kypress.com/stateparks.  And keep checking the site – we’ll be uploading more stories and photos as they become available. Gil Lawson, former CJ statehouse reporter who is with Tourism and working with me on this project, told me yesterday three more stories are in the works and should be available middle part of next week.

AND IN THE MEANTIME….

If you do a story or two on local landmarks, things to see/visit, promote tourism for your own community, why don’t you share those with KPA and we’ll make those stories and photos available to newspapers across the state? If others decide to use them, it will be with proper credit for the story and photo. And we’ll encourage other newspapers to share their stories and photos for you.

Easy copy! Great sales tool for advertisers.

This idea is credited to Jamie Sizemore who mentioned it at the Board meeting. We did it last year with the Parks folks (Gil Lawson, primarily) but I don’t think members used much of the material. So we’re trying it again with the caveat to post stories and photos about your own region/community and get them used.

DIGITAL ASSESSMENT SURVEY

True to form, “my” members are holding steady on responses to requests from KPA. For most anything we ask of you folks, getting 25 to 30 percent response is almost tremendous. Seriously, most state press associations will tell you 25 percent response is good.

Back on March 7, we asked our members to complete a Digital Assessment Survey. Not many questions but we do want the information as KPA directs itself to the digital future and especially the 2013 KPA Winter Convention.

To increase the response rate, or so we thought, we sent the email to publishers and editors. Even with that, we got about a 28 percent response. Not bad as such, but we’d like better. So Tuesday, I emailed publishers a reminder about the survey. If you didn’t fill it out back in March (we made it anonymous so we don’t know who did and didn’t fill it out) then please take a couple of minutes, go to www.kypress.com/survey and fill it out for us.

Thanks in advance. (A quick check Thursday afternoon shows we have 10 new responses to the survey. That’s a good start. And means we’ve gone from about 28 percent participating to right at 33 percent.)

SUPREME COURT DECISION

Jon Fleischaker alerted me to a Supreme Court decision Thursday morning and got the decision to David Greer so we could get it posted immediately on Kentucky Press News Service. The case started back in 2002 when a parent in Bourbon County filed suit against the school board. So it’s taken a decade to be finalized.

Once David G. had that up, I sent this on to editors so they would be aware and have access to the decision:

In the words of Jon Fleischaker, the Supreme Court today handed down “an extremely strong and very good opinion upholding the voiding of a school board’s contract with a former superintendent because of violations of the Open Meetings law.”

“The case involved the Bourbon County Schools meeting in private with the (now former) superintendent, a situation the Supreme Court has ruled violates the Open Meetings Law. Further, the court has ruled the settlement with the superintendent is “voidable,” meaning the superintendent can retain the money he’s already received but the school system does not have to pay the remainder of the settlement agreement.

The Supreme Court decision is available online at http://opinions.kycourts.net/sc/2010-SC-000295-DG.pdf

I send you the online link at the Court’s website because it’s in pdf format and whenever I try to do something with it, it comes out dark gray. Maybe someone doesn’t want me to print it or save it and send as an attached file.

Thanx.

David T.

ELECTION DAY APATHY?

Some will call it that, that voters are apathetic to the election process and should be blamed for not turning out at the polls Tuesday.

Sorry, if it’s a general election and voters don’t turn out, shame on them.

But for Tuesday’s primary? Pathetic ballot.

I’ll give you my home area for example. Georgetown city voters got to vote on city council candidates. Twenty on the ballot but only the top 16 go forward to the November election. The process allows for a voter to vote for up to eight of the 20. My problem was I couldn’t find but six worth voting for.

And how about Scott County residents? Well, if they were Democrat, they had a choice of voting for President Obama or Uncommitted. Great choice, huh? I’m surprised the line to get into polling places didn’t stretch outside and around the buildings. On the Republican side, the voters did have a race for the State Senate but again, I doubt it was enough to make anyone crawl out of bed just to go vote.

I know, some areas had good races and that’s great. But for the most part, it was nothing more than Ho-Hum!!

KET/ONE-ON-ONE/OPEN MEETINGS, RECORDS

July 14 will be the 20th anniversary of the Open Meetings and Records laws, second generation. Kentucky had its first generation in 1974 and 1976 and those laws sufficed for about 15 years, until public agency officials figured out loopholes and took advantage of them.

What started with a couple of letters (no emails back then) in 1987 ended up with passage of new language for both. So on July 14, 1992, what took nearly five years to accomplish came to fruition.

While we don’t have an airdate yet, around then Kentucky Educational Television and host Bill Goodman will focus on the laws in his One-on-One show. It’ll actually be Two-on-One for this, however.

Jon Fleischaker, author of both generations of laws (does that make him grandfather of one of them?), and John Nelson, executive editor of Advocate Communications, will be appearing on the show. They’re taping it in just a few days.

Once we have the air date and time, we’ll pass that along.

John Nelson has received numerous honors for his strong support of open government, including the James Madison Award a couple of years ago from the First Amendment Center at UK. And while he was president of KPA, we undertook a statewide audit to see how public agencies would respond to various requests for records. It was quite an undertaking but we pulled it off, with some 300 or so journalists, college students and even regular citizens going to public offices across the state and requesting specific records.

There were some eye-opening experiences that day, with students being questioned, another followed out of town by sheriff’s deputies and calls between public officials wondering what’s going on.

We still have copies of the publication from that effort. If you would like a copy, send me an email.

NO FRIDAY NOTES NEXT WEEK

It’s a short week, what with Memorial Day and I realize that’s on a Monday. But there will be no Friday Notes on June 1. I’ll be on vacation.

SCAM AD ARTISTS ABOUND

Since notifying the ad managers about scam classifieds, I’m getting all kinds of examples of what’s out there now. It used to be Free Puppies in Texas or California. Now it’s for jobs or “free” motorbikes. Again, if it’s not local it’s probably going to be a scam. But read these and it becomes pretty obvious. Broken English, words misspelled and ending with something like this: “Await to read back from you soon.” Whatever that means.

Cheryle Walton got one this week, asked where the job was located and was told 427 Main Street, Paris, KY., and the phone number is 209-257-4740. But that phone number is in Jackson, CA., at the corner of Route 88 and State Route 49, not far from Sutter Amador Hospital.

THERE, THEIR, THEY’RE PROBLEMS? GRAMMAR GIRL TO THE RESCUE

We see it all the time, seldom in the media but the public doesn’t always get the word right.

Think about it – their, there and they’re; past and passed; rain, rein and reign; it’s and its. There are a lot of examples of words pronounced the same but often used incorrectly or spelled wrong.

Well, Rae Wagoner, general manager of the Lyon County Herald-Ledger, has the answer for you – Grammar Girl!

Grammar Girl is available in a one-column format, usually three or four inches deep, and educates your readers about the similarly different words and which is proper depending on the situation.

It’s educational and it’s fun.

If you’re interested in using Rae’s Grammar Girl column, contact her at the Lyon County Herald-Ledger <rwagoner@heraldledger.com> or at 270-388-2269. It’s a small investment for a feature that I know your readers will enjoy and probably want to contribute to. And like Rae, you’ll be able to find a local sponsor for the space.

COMING TO A LOCATION NEAR YOU!!

It’s the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform (and perhaps Spending). The commission, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson, has met three times and is now taking its show on the road. I encourage you to attend a session close to you, or send a reporter.

Here’s the upcoming schedule, if case you’re interested.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Paducah Tilghman High School Auditorium

2400 Washington Street

Paducah, Kentucky

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Greenwood High School Auditorium

5065 Scottsville Road

Bowling Green, Kentucky

 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Location TBD in Louisville, Kentucky

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Student Union Ballroom

20 Kenton Drive

Highland Heights, Kentucky

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Big Sandy Community & Technical College

Gearheart Auditorium

1 Bert T Combs Drive

Prestonsburg, Kentucky

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Bryan Station High School

201 Eastin Road

Lexington, Kentucky

SPEAKING OF TAX REFORM AND THE COMMISSION

At some point, KPA and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association probably will testify before the commission. I’ve already pulled my testimony from February, 1990. It doesn’t have to be Gary White and me doing it. It could very well be a member of KPA and a member of KBA.

My thoughts on how a service tax would affect newspapers (please understand that these have not been discussed or approved by the KPA Board as our official position. But it was the Board’s position back in 1990):

• Newspapers are taxed on circulation so a sales tax on advertising would mean the product itself is taxed as well as what’s in the product (advertising). That’s double-taxation. That point resonated with the legislative committee, especially Rep. Richard Turner from Tompkinsville who told the chairman right then that the committee needed to go ahead and take a vote (the legislation backed by Gov. Wallace Wilkinson was defeated);

• Taxing advertising as proposed in the past would create a long line of taxpayers for just one ad. You have the merchant (advertiser), the ad agency, the graphic design company possibly, KPS and the newspaper. All of those would be paying six percent sales tax on one ad as the service tax as been proposed in the past.

A business contracts with an ad agency – the agency charges six percent; the agency uses an outside graphic designer – the graphic designer charges the agency six percent; if KPS is used, the agency places the ad with KPS – KPS charges the agency six percent sales tax; and then it’s on to the newspaper, who charges KPS the six percent sales tax. So each of those, including the newspaper at the end of the chain, charges the sales tax and pays that to the state. Here’s the key – businesses are NOT going to increase their ad budgets to cover all that tax. They’re going to spend the same amount, regardless, and thus in the end all the service-based businesses along the way lose money.

So in that scenario, potentially an ad tax would result in five to six levels paying or charging the sales tax. It’s not going to be just the advertiser alone, because language proposed previously charges for all services including ad and PR agencies.

I’ll gladly supply my testimony from February, 1990, if there’s a publisher/owner who wants to present it to one of the tax reform commission meetings.

AND ABOUT FEBRUARY, 1990

I’ll never forget that day. There were a lot of things that took place, including the Broadcasters Association people telling committee members that if they approve the tax, radio and TV stations would see to it that each State Representative on the committee is defeated in the next election. That was J.T. Whitlock’s statement to the committee that day.

Cawood Ledford was there, lending support to the broadcasters who testified. And of course the committee members acknowledged his presence and introduced him to the crowd.

And I was hoarse, could hardly speak. That was the morning after UK defeated Shaquille O’Neal, Stanley Jackson, Dale Brown and his LSU Tigers at Rupp Arena. Think the score was like 95-90 or 100-95. But UK prevailed and the celebration went on for quite some time. I apologized to the committee for my hoarseness, explained why and told them I wasn’t the only one who lost my voice. Cawood did as well because he called that game.

POLICE SCANNER HELP IS ON THE WAY…SOMETIME

We can’t give you any kind of time estimate but from what David Greer tells me, help getting access to police scanner calls is in the offing.

Here’s an update from David G., our guru on police scanners. If you have questions, want more information, or just want to talk about the state of the art with scanners, contact David at dgreer@kypress.com or 800-264-5721.

The email to me from David G:

“While attending the ham radio convention in Dayton, I got to speak directly with representatives of GRE, one of the two major police scanner manufacturers. Yes, I was told, they are very much aware of Kenwood and other companies that have introduced digital protocols in the market that are incompatible with GRE equipment. But they are working on rectifying the situation and licensing the technologies they need from the manufacturers. But it will take time, I was told.

“So we can tell papers help is on the way but no one is sure when it will arrive.” End of his message.

Again, if you missed an email on this about three-four weeks ago, and if you have an iPhone, download an app for Police Scanner 5.0.

Again, here’s the part of a previous communication:

iPHONE APP AVAILABLE

In doing some research, I was able to find Police Scanner 5.0, an iPhone app that allows a person to listen in on a variety of emergency responder calls. David G. already had this, has for a year or so, and said it’s somewhat reliable, meaning it’s not always reliable. But he noted when he got his, only Lexington, Louisville and Paducah law enforcement agencies were available. He checked yesterday after he and I talked about 5.0 and found that 73 Kentucky law enforcement agencies are now available. For instance, Scott County is now available but there’s still no Franklin County agencies. You’d think being the center of state government, Franklin County would have been one of the first.

If you or any staff members are interested in trying this free iPhone app, call or email David Greer for his advice and expertise. If nothing else, might be entertaining to listen to.

REMEMBER – IT’S AN ALL-ELECTRONIC CONTEST THIS YEAR

It’s three months before we’ll be sending you information on the Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers – 2012 competition but it’ll pass quickly. So plan now because it will all be electronic entries. Last year, we gave newspapers an option of entering electronically or by physical tearsheet. Some of you weren’t quite ready to enter a contest with pdfs.

I’m going to ask the KPA News Editorial Division to read through the information and especially look at the categories. We’ve had some suggestions for new categories and a couple may need to be deleted or combined. Once we get that done, we’ll be able to tell you of expected changes in the contest so you’ll be ready to start searching for all those entries you want to make in the contest.

Awards, by the way, will be presented Friday, January 25, at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, site of the 2013 KPA Winter Convention (January 24-25).

The entry deadline will be around Friday, October 19.

AD CONTEST RESULTS COMING SOON…WE HOPE

It’s been a process with the Advertising Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers contest. First, we extended the deadline for a week to hope for more entries (got 50 additional). And then we got the judges lined up in Arkansas and David Spencer put all the electronic aspects together to make online judging work.

The judging deadline was to be Monday (May 21) but that afternoon we still had 77 (of 168) categories that had not been returned. So we’ve extended the judging deadline to May 30. We’re getting some emails about when the awards will be announced and I can’t give a date at present but looks like mid to late June. Typically, it’s been late April/early May.

We’ll do award luncheons in two parts of the state and we’ll finalize all that when the last category has been judged and returned.

Stay tuned.

NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATIONS ASK PRC TO REJECT USPS DEAL WITH VALASSIS

Both the National Newspaper Association and the Newspaper Association of America have intervened in discussions about a “sweetheart” deal between the U.S. Postal Service and ad biggie, Valassis. Not only have those two organizations gotten involved but numerous newspaper parent companies have also sent letters asking that the Postal Regulatory Commission have the discussions halted immediately.

Here’s one report on what’s going on:

NetNewsCheck, May 23, 2012 4:30 PM EDT

The Newspaper Association of America today called for the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject a proposed negotiated services agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and direct-mail giant Valassis, saying the special rate proposal will cause significant financial harm to newspapers throughout the country, and will not improve the financial condition of the nation’s postal system.

The NAA lodged its protest in comments filed with the PRC, which is reviewing the agreement.

“But newspaper publishers are shocked by the specifics of this special deal for the country’s largest direct-mail company. The proposal to provide steep discounts to a major newspaper competitor is a dagger aimed at the financial health of newspapers,” Caroline H. Little, NAA president and CEO, said in a statement.

“While we applaud the Postal Service’s efforts to address its ongoing funding challenges through operational and financial reforms, such an attack on a major source of newspaper revenue threatens critical resources that our newspaper members invest back into their communities through their production of quality news and information,” Little added.

The NAA said the deal would cause “unreasonable harm to the marketplace by granting Valassis unprecedented rebates and other terms that would enable and subsidize a direct attack on local newspaper advertising throughout the nation.” The trade association added that deal was tailored unfairly toward Valassis and ultimately would result in a net financial loss for the Postal Service.

ADVERTISING

Looks like we’ll end May with about $235,000 and with $15,960 in-house for June, that puts us at $1.190 million for the year. Compared to previous years, even when we had the Indiana network, that’s on par with what we were placing in Kentucky newspapers.

FOUR MAJOR DAILIES MOVING TO TRI-WEEKLY STATUS

Got this from Kevin Slimp’s Facebook page, a story:

BIRMINGHAM, AL. – Three major Alabama daily newspapers plus the Times-Picayne in New Orleans will switch to publishing three days a week this fall. It’s part of a new focus on online news.

The three papers in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville plus the Times-Picayune are owned by the Newhouse family group. The move to three times a week – publishing on Wednesday, Friday and Sundays – will result in some staff reductions though the number was not specified.

The Alabama papers said the changes allow them to expand news-gathering efforts in an increasingly digital age.

WRAPPING IT UP

Until Friday, June 22, officially, no Friday Email, but there will be communications between now and then. I’ll be in Williamsburg VA next Friday on vacation then to Madison, WI., the following week for a meeting with some of the Newspaper Association Managers colleagues. That’s June 13-17.

Again, we’ll be closed Monday, May 28, and I’ll be working until about noon on Thursday and plan on being back in the office on Thursday, June 7.

As always, call, write, email, text, fax, Facebook or Twitter if you have comments, concerns, questions, clarifications, additions, deletions or corrections.

Otherwise, thanx!!

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Monday, May 28, 2012 – KPA Central Office Closed – Memorial Day

May 31 – June 6, 2012 – David T. – Vacation

June 13-17, 2012 – Newspaper Association Managers Meeting, Madison, WI

June 21, 2012 – Faster Photo Processing Tricks Webinar, 2-3 p.m. Eastern/1-2 p.m. Central. For information, go to www.onlinemediacampus.com

June 22, 2012 – Covering the Presidential Election Webinar, 2-3 p.m. Eastern/1-2 p.m. Central Featuring Al Cross; for information, go to www.onlinemediacampus.com

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 – KPA Central Office Closed, Fourth of July

Saturday, July 14, 2012 – 20th Anniversary of Kentucky’s Current Open Meetings and Open Records Laws

July 20, 2012 – KPA Board of Directors Meeting, Center for the Performing Arts, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond

July 31 – August 4, 2012 – Newspaper Association Managers Convention, San Francisco, CA

Sometime in August – Judging Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Advertising Contest (electronically)

Monday, September 3, 2012 – KPA Central Office Closed – Labor Day

Sunday-Monday-Tuesday, October 14-15-16, 2012 – 2012 Southeast Region Newspaper Association Managers Conference, Marriott RiverCenter, Covington

Thursday-Friday, October 18-19, 2012 – 2012 KPA Fall Board Retreat, Rough River State Park

October 19, 2012 – Probable Deadline for Entering Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers – 2012 Competition

January 24 – 25, 2013 – 2013 KPA Winter Convention, The Brown Hotel, Louisville

January 23 – 24, 2014 – 2014 KPA Winter Convention, Hyatt Regency, Lexingto

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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