November 1, 2013

• Chuck Henderson gets it right: Why newspapers don’t get a lot of political ads

• CHA-CHING!! November KPS Advertising: We’ve hit the $3 million mark for the year and a half-million for record November is within reach

• Master Commissioner sale payments increasing your receivables? A meeting with the Administrative Office of Courts might reveal some answers, suggestions

• Chip Hutcheson adds another “President” title to his resume

• 50 Years next Friday: Where some newspaper folks were, what they remember about November 22, 1963

• AP launches two new subscription products

• You will dance the night away January 24 with SUPERFECTA coming to the KPA Convention!

• Ad contest judge salutes quality of Kentucky Press newspapers

Amen, Brother, AMEN!

The question comes up frequently and as recent as the KPA Fall Board Retreat. Why can’t we (newspapers as well as KPS) get more political advertising?

The answer is pretty simple, to one extent by saying, “The politicians don’t need newspaper advertising.”

That’s not an earth-shattering statement. We’ve been preaching it and saying it for years. With all the “free” space newspapers give candidates why would they need to run ads?

Chuck Henderson, president and general manager of the Kentucky New Era, was quite blunt about the reason in an exchange of emails with some other KNE folks and me. Chuck called a spade a spade.

“Kentucky newspapers need to wake up to the fact that we give the candidates so much coverage they do not have to buy space. Broadcast gives them so little time and no repetition of messages thus they have to buy their time. Hello– have the broadcast folks figured this out. What is the worst that can happen– they don’t advertise with us. Oh, that’s right they don’t anyway.”

Chip Hutcheson elected president of Kentucky Baptist Convention

PADUCAH –Chip Hutcheson, a Baptist layman and publisher of the
chip-hutcheson-150x150Princeton Times-Leader and The Eagle Post in Oak Grove was elected by acclamation Nov. 12 as the next president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

A member of Southside Baptist Church in Princeton, Hutcheson has been active in Kentucky Baptist life for many years, serving multiple terms on the KBC Public Affairs Committee and as a trustee for Kentucky Baptists’ newspaper of record, Western Recorder.

Hutcheson will serve a one-year term. He received the gavel from outgoing KBC President Dan Summerlin, who presided over Tuesday’s meeting at his pastorate, Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah.

Only five laymen have served as KBC president over the past 75 years. The most recent was the Hon. Eugene Siler, a judge and member of First Baptist Church of Williamsburg, in 2003.

Also elected Tuesday was Kevin Milburn, pastor of Union Baptist Church in northern Kentucky, as KBC first vice president. The new second vice president is Ed Amundson, pastor of High Street Baptist Church in Somerset.

Re-elected officers are KBC Secretary Wilma Simmons, who now begins her 23rd term in office, and Assistant Secretary Pat Reaves. Simmons is from Ekron and is a member of Big Spring Baptist Church. Reaves is a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Louisville.

Chip has been and will be busy for the foreseeable future. He was KPA President in 2010, moved on to become a member of the National Newspaper Association Board of Directors, will serve the coming year as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and in about 2016 will be president of the National Newspaper Association.

Kudos from a judge to KPA newspapers in the Ad Contest

David Spencer received this note from Phil Seibel, VP of Revenue Development for the Brainard Dispatch in Minnesota. Members of the Minnesota Newspaper Association are judging the Advertising Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers – 2013 contest.

Good afternoon, David,

I was asked to be a judge for some of the categories in the KPA newspaper contests and the note said to contact you to let you know when I had finished.

I have completed the categories that were in my queue and wanted to let you know.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this process, it was a privilege to be a part of this process, and I commend your association for all it does.

I was impressed with the quality of ads that your newspapers turned in, and it is encouraging to see such great things being done with the advertising.

Please express my thanks to all involved, and congratulate them on a job well done!

Some suggestions about Master Commissioner sales come from meeting with AOC officials

KPA President Willie Sawyers and I met Wednesday with some officials of the Administrative Office of the Courts concerning Master Commissioner sales. AOC took over control of the Master Commissioners in 2004.

The impetus for the meeting came from some newspapers who noted long past due receivables on the books.

We polled newspapers across the state trying to get an indication of how widespread the problem is and whether there are substantial amounts of receivables on the books.

About 50 newspaper publishers responded. And half of those reported really good relationships with the Master Commissioner locally and no problem getting paid for the advertising they are required to place. Some also noted they might get an account into 60 days but at that point just call and the Master Commissioner gets them a check immediately.

That’s one side of the story.

Another 25 or so are having problems with getting payment. While some amounts are that large, $1700 to $5000 was reported, others are carrying large balances, ranging from $20,000 to $25,000 and on up to better than $100,000.

Willie and I got on education on the process. But most importantly, we were told newspapers should not have to wait more than 60 days for payment, 90 at the most. Rule 508 of the Court Rules stipulate that Master Commissioners can receive a deposit prior to the property sale to cover appraisals, printed materials, copies and newspaper advertising. And about one-third of the Master Commissioners are getting paid for those expenses before the sale takes place.

The others are not filing pre-sale expenses and it would be correct that they have to wait until after the sale, and the court processes payments, to be able to pay newspapers for the advertising.

But that should be completed within 60 days, or in some extreme cases, maybe 90 days.

What can a newspaper do if the Master Commissioner accumulates a long-term debt with the newspaper? Contact the local Circuit Judge. That judge appoints the Master Commissioner for each county but isn’t hands-on or micromanaging the individual. So they won’t be aware that past due accounts are growing and aging unless the newspaper brings it to their attention.

Newspapers can also contact the Master Commissioner about pre-paying for the ads. Very few newspapers have that policy but it reportedly works well. Perhaps talk with your Master Commissioner about paying for the ads when those are placed. While it’s part of Rule 508, again only about one-third of the 120 Master Commissioners are getting paid upfront for those expenses.

Additionally, if a sale is advertised but at some point gets postponed or cancelled, the Master Commissioner is still expected to pay for the advertising. So don’t write off any Master Commissioner ad accounts because a sale is delayed or cancelled. They ordered the space and AOC expects them to pay newspapers for those ads.

We have requested from AOC the legal definition of what must be printed for the sale to qualify to take place. Once we have what must be included in the ad, we will share that information with all publishers.

A plea from NNA about U.S. Senate legislation — Your newspaper name(s) listed on NNA material

Dear Publisher,

Next Wednesday November 20, a bill will be considered in the Senate that could deregulate postal rates, to the detriment of anyone who uses the mail or competes with direct mail.  The bill, S 1486, the Postal Reform Act of 2013, would remove the Postal Regulatory Commission from prior review of postal rates. Instead, the politically appointed and part-time USPS Board of Governors would approve rates. The PRC would have only minimal authority after the fact to make corrections.

This rate provision, championed by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, is intended to make the Postal Service more like a “business,” although we know it would continue to be a powerful government monopoly.

We have contacted you previously to seek your senator’s support for an amendment by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, to restore PRC authority. Thank you for your help.

The bill sponsors remain convinced they can pass this damaging provision next week as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee reviews the bill to send to the Senate floor.

Now what we need is your consent to list your newspaper (and all affiliated titles, if possible) by city and state in a statement by NNA that we support Sen. Baldwin’s amendment. If you agree that deregulating USPS in this way is a bad idea, please respond asap with your consent and the list of titles we could list with our statement.

There is a companion amendment by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-AR, that would restore the PRC’s authority to review service cuts, which is also threatened by S 1486. We would like to list your newspapers in support of that amendment as well.

We need your response by NOON MONDAY November 18, please, in order to get our statement into the record.

As always, thanks for all you do for the community newspaper industry.

Tonda Rush

NNA CEO and General Counsel

Where were you 50 years ago next Friday?

Many of you weren’t born yet but then many of you were. Those who were around probably can tell you where they were, what they were doing when the news broke that President Kennedy had been shot.

I wish the late Mac Kilduff was still alive to relive that day for us. Mac was an assistant press secretary to President Kennedy and in one of the photos of President Johnson being sworn in as president on Air Force One, Mac is shown nearby.

Years later, in the mid-1980s, Mac worked for Louise Hatmaker, as editor at the Beattyville Enterprise. And I believe it was his wife Rosemary, who came up with the idea of the Woolly Worm Festival still held each year in Lee County.

President Kennedy instituted a program for all schools across the country. He had schools set aside 10 to 15 minutes each day for PT, physical training. In that time, school age kids were to do some exercising — some calisthenics that weren’t strenuous but at least could be defined as exercising.

The male students were in the front semi-circle lot at Georgetown High School with football coach Duke Owens putting us through the routine. A few minutes in, a couple of the cheerleaders came running out of the school screaming and crying. We thought at first one of the cheerleader’s sisters had been shot, because it sounded like they said, “Candy’s (her sister’s name) been shot.” And they repeated that as they ran toward Coach Owens for solace. Only then, we realized they were screaming, “Kennedy’s been shot!”

I remember nothing of the next couple of days until the UK-Tennessee football game at Stoll Field. The country was still in shock, still in mourning. But it was inspiring to see the bands of these two rival schools set aside their differences and join together in a tribute to our country. So from the time we learned Kennedy had been shot until seeing those two bands come together before the game, I’m blank.

Others: what they were doing, where they were      

I’ve reached out to some others who are old enough to remember where they were and what they were doing, and asked them to give me a couple of graphs on that day.

David Hawpe, former executive editor of The Courier-Journal:

I remember walking down the main hall of the UK journalism building when –  for some reason I don’t now recall – I decided to look through the window into the room where the Associated Press teletype was clattering. For a minute or two I stared at stories of little or no import. Then the machine produced a bulletin. I didn’t think much about that because bulletins were fairly common. I watched absently as an AP person somewhere tapped out, ” “President Kennedy was shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She cried, ‘Oh, no!’ The motorcade sped on.”

I believe that was the greatest shock I’ve ever experienced. I stood there transfixed as more bulletins followed. Other folks joined me at the window, and someone asked what we were reading. I don’t think I answered. For a while we stood there in silence, until bells range and a flash appeared, confirming that the President was dead. I stood there for the longest time, unable to detach from the unfolding wire report. Eventually I went into the Teletype room, tore off the story and took it with me. I still have it somewhere.

Keith Kappes, Publisher, Morehead News:

A college student, I was working as a reporter for the Ashland Independent, assigned to cover Founder’s Day at then Morehead State College. Gov. Bert Combs was to give a major speech to a capacity crowd at Wetherby Gymnasium when the news broke.

I remember standing on the corner watching a man in a car waiting on a traffic light. He was listening to the car radio and couldn’t believe the news he was hearing. Tears were streaming down his cheeks.

At that moment, my own tears began to flow as I realized that the hope of my generation had been killed. I spent most of the next three days sitting in front of my grandmother’s TV.

She was a hardcore Republican but kept saying that she was sorry she hadn’t voted for “that nice young man.”

Celia McDonald, KPA Past President

I was working for Kentucky Central Life in Lexington. I was on the phone with the manager of the TV station in Hazard. Don’t remember why. But suddenly he said the worst of curse words and hung up. A minute later I called my husband Bob at WVLK radio thinking he would know what was going on. He did and about then I heard a girl sobbing hysterically outside my office. She had a radio on her desk.

Soon we were all reacting with some sort of shock. Then I just sat there unable to do anything. The world as we knew it had just spun to a halt and there was nothing we could do about it. It remains a vivid and painful time in my memory.

Chip Hutcheson, Princeton Times Leader, KPA Past President, NNA Board Member

Will never forget that day.

I was a high school sophomore, and word spread at lunch that the president had been shot. I had a geometry class right after lunch, and as we sat in class our principal announced over the PA system to every classroom that President Kennedy had been assassinated. There was stone-cold silence in the classroom as we all sat in shocked silence.

Caldwell County was scheduled to play Lexington Lafayette at home in the state Class AA semifinals that night. We had torrential rains that afternoon, and of course the big question was whether that game would be played. But in spite of the assassination and the weather, it went on as scheduled. Rain flooded the field so that on one end of the field everything from the 20-yard line to the end zone was under water. Lafayette was already enroute to Princeton before the assassination and the rain hit, which was probably the deciding factor. Delaying it meant the team would have to spend the night here, and it wasn’t prepared for that.

Lafayette was the top-ranked team in AA and was a 12-point favorite, but Caldwell won 25-0. Of all my years of watching/covering football, it was the muddiest game I have ever seen.

(At that time, Louisville schools were AAA, then the rest of the state was divided into two classes. That meant Caldwell was matched against a school with a much-larger enrollment.)

Teresa Revlett, KPS Director of Sales, KPA Past President

Teresa is one who was born by then but was just a month and 10 days old. But since it happened just after she was born, her great-grandmother bought her a book about the assassination to remind her of what happened at her young age.

Jon Fleischaker, KPA General Counsel

In the Fall of 1963 I started at Swarthmore College as a freshman, and on November 22, I was still trying to adjust:  the level of expected academic performance was much greater than anything I had ever experienced and the level of basketball competition was substantially lower.  In any event, Swarthmore was (and is) a bastion of democratic liberals and those further left.  When we heard the news of President Kennedy’s assassination, it was as if the entire campus was in shock, not only because of the death of our President, but because of the elevation of a Southerner and former segregation apologist, Lyndon Johnson, to the presidency.

Classes were not suspended, but all other activities were.  However, groups of students were constantly meeting, discussing the situation and primarily engaged in consoling one another.  I don’t think there was any real concern for the security of the country, but there was great concern about the direction the country was headed politically.  It is interesting that by the next year the political mood on campus was nearly 100 percent in favor of Lyndon Johnson and totally opposed to Barry Goldwater.  Four years later, as a result of the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson was uniformly denounced on campus.  Our concerns in November, 1963, were right, but for the wrong reasons.

Betty Berryman, KPA Past President, former Publisher of The Winchester Sun

The Winchester Sun news staff had just completed their assignments for the day and the composing department was doing the final  “paste-up” before taking the pages to the pressroom.

One of our news writers came to my office door and said, “I’m going to lunch, don’t call me unless someone shoots the president”.”  She returned to my office a little later in tears for her words said in jest had just come true.

Max Heath, KPA Past President, NNA Postal Committee Chair

I was a junior in high school and I recall walking out of school around 3 or so to go home and was told by someone that the president had been shot. I stayed glued to NBC News for days after that. I saw the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald live. I remember it was Tom Pettit of NBC reporting and every time he was on the news after that I recalled the Oswald shooting.

John Nelson, executive editor Advocate Communications, KPA Past President

I was sitting in my 6th grade classroom at Valley Elementary in southwestern Jefferson County. An announcement may have come over the intercom, or someone came to the door, and our teacher — Mrs. Jackson, I think — began to cry. There were no televisions in our rooms, so keeping up with the tragedy in real time was not an option, and it probably would not have been considered appropriate in that day and time.

We walked home later and watched as much as our parents would allow until bedtime. I remember a couple of days later witnessing the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald on a live report. I was 11. Nothing was ever the same after that day.

David Greer, KPA News Service, Kentucky High School Journalism Association Administrator

I know it’s a cliché, but I remember the events of Nov. 22, 1963 just like it was yesterday.

I was in Mrs. Broaddus’ 4th grade class at Bardstown Elementary School. We were in the middle of class after lunch when without explanation a radio station began blaring suddenly over the public address speaker in our ceiling. Principal Floyd Hall made the decision to pipe the radio into each classroom.

The men on the radio were talking about some news event. Suddenly there were references to Dallas, President Kennedy, assassin, bullets, motorcade, Parkland Memorial Hospital. It was difficult to comprehend what it all meant — at first — but soon we realized the president of the United States had been shot.

Mrs. Broaddus led us in prayer for the president’s recovery.

It was customary at our school for Mr. Hall to show educational films to students on Friday afternoons in the school auditorium. Off we went to the films.

Midway through the first film, Mrs. Broaddus, who was sitting in front of me, turned to student Dean Speakman and asked him to go to the school office to learn the latest news from Dallas.

Dean returned a couple minutes later. The look on his face told us the news.

“He’s dead,” Dean whispered to our teacher.

Suddenly a dull ache enveloped me. Life would not return to normal for quite a while.  Little did we know at the time that in the days ahead we would face assassination suspect Lee Harvey Oswald’s own fatal shooting in the basement of the Dallas jail and then President Kennedy’s funeral in Washington.

I will always think of little John-John, the president’s young son, standing at attention and saluting his father’s casket as it passed by in the funeral procession.

Cheryle Walton, Beattyville Enterprise, KPA Board of Directors

I was almost 6 years old and living in the Florida Keys at that time, just 90 miles from Cuba. We even had a bomb shelter in our neighborhood. That day I was in school, in art class when they announced it, a person from the office came to our room to tell our teacher, who then told us. We were young, but we did understand and were shocked and a bit afraid. I remember how sad everyone was, how sad everything felt. We did have off from school the day of the funeral and I am sure everyone else like us was glued to the TV to watch. It was the kind of day where everyone was family, and everyone was hurting. It was a day you remember forever.

Fifty years ago this month

A personal note about 50 years ago this month. It has nothing to do with President Kennedy being shot but when I’m asked when I decided to be a newspaper person, I reference it as the same month the president was shot.

In November, 1963, as a sophomore in high school, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up — to be publisher and editor of the Georgetown News and Georgetown Times. Sixteen years later, in 1979, that dream became a reality.

Is a half-million in November within reach? $3 million is for the year

You already know November, 2013, is KPS’ highest November in its ad placement history. And a true milestone is within reach. With two weeks remaining in the month, we sit with $461,259.61 in advertising placed or ordered. So please make sure every ad we send you is published as ordered.

And if you do that, maybe we’ll hit $500,000 by the end of November.

And we’ve eeked out enough to put our 2013 total at just over $3 million.

Covering Health Care Reform Webinar – December 5

It’s still a few weeks away but that doesn’t mean you can’t go ahead and get registered. The webinar is co-sponsored by KPA, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and Online Media Campus. For more information and to register online, go to http://www.onlinemediacampus.com

Kevin Slimp: Like fine wine, he just gets better with age

kevin-slimp-150x150I had to laugh a few days ago, when I saw my pic on the top fold of the front page of a monthly industry pub with the headline, “Slimp’s invention has served newspaper industry for 20 years.”

I’ve got to tell you. I don’t know where those years went. Back in those days, it seemed like everybody introduced me as the “young whiz kid” of the newspaper industry when I stepped on stage at a convention. In those early days, it seemed like everyone wanted me to speak about where I came up with the idea for using PDFs to print newspapers and transmit ads. My first speaking gig was keynoting the Texas Press Association Convention. I remember having the flu and barely making it downstairs to speak.

When discussing the steps that led to newspapers using PDFs, my most popular line was, “I don’t know. It seemed like it ought to work.”

You know, most great discoveries in life and business seem to boil down to common sense. As I write this column, I’ve just returned from Nashville, where I met with a group of publishers from Middle and West Tennessee. Metros, small dailies and non-dailies were represented.

When I lead something like this, I become a statistic junkie for days before, as I study every stat I can get my hands on. Two statistics struck me as very interesting as I prepared for this summit.

The first was a study released by Pew Research Center, indicating just how little most social media sites, other than Facebook, are actually used by anyone. My best friend, Ken, who is a marketing guru in Dallas, had me convinced that it was time to throw away Facebook, paper and all my other resources because the world, as he had described it, had turned to Instagram and Twitter.  Well I certainly know now, thanks to this study, that compared to print and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used by just a small portion of the population. I was especially surprised at how few teens used Instagram, after Ken almost had me drinking the Kool-Aid.

More surprising to me, however, were the most recent statistics from the Alliance for Audited Media, formerly known as ABC, showing the circulation of the 25 largest metro papers in the country. You may be wondering why I’m writing a column, primarily read by community newspaper publishers, about metro circulation. Just follow along for a little while longer.

How’s this for a surprising number? The Atlanta Journal Constitution had a huge increase in circulation. That’s not a misprint. According to the AAM report, they grew from 174,000 subscribers to 231,000 in one year. And the Orange County Register, the same paper I predicted would have huge growth, grew 27 percent, from 280,000 subscribers to 356,000.

I know what you’re thinking, “It’s those digital subscribers.” But guess what? Atlanta’s total digital circulation sits at 6,000, while Orange County’s sits at 15,000. Yes, less than 5 percent of total circulation for both.

So why do I even bother you with this stuff? Because, my friends, print is alive and well. We keep hearing that community papers, as a whole, are doing well this year. But we also keep hearing that the big papers are dying, which – in turn – means that we’re all going with them.

That whole mess in New Orleans and other Newhouse cities has caused the whole nation to believe the sky is falling. But guess what. It’s not. More newspapers than the naysayers would like us to believe are doing very well. Sure, some aren’t. But many are. I believe that’s always been the case.

Last night, I spoke with someone from Associated Press about these numbers. She was quite surprised to hear them. So much so, that she asked me to send her the handouts we used at the summit, so she could see them for herself.

What did I discuss with these publishers in Nashville? I reminded them that their future is bright, if they’ll resist the lure of the “print is dead” philosophy and keep producing quality publications.

You know, there are groups that don’t invite me to speak anymore because I refuse to say that we should all abandon print. But I remember when I was working on the PDF project 20 years ago. It seemed that everybody, including Adobe, said it would never work.  Only a few close colleagues believed that we would ever transmit and print files in a method we take for granted today.

But common sense told me they were wrong. And common sense tells me that statistics don’t lie. Our newspapers have a bright future. Hold on for the ride.

Saturday night dinner honors John Nelson for Al Smith Community/Public Service Award

The Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will
john-nelson-195x300honor Advocate Communications’ executive editor John Nelson November 16 at a dinner in Frankfort. The event is the presentation of the 2013 Al Smith Award for Community and Public Service.

Nelson previously received the James Madison Award from the First Amendment Center at UK and earlier this year was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

The dinner and presentation takes place at the Capital Plaza Hotel in downtown Frankfort.

SUPERFECTA Band returning to KPA Convention

superfecta

SUPERFECTA, the premiere band in Central Kentucky, makes a return appearance at a KPA Convention, Friday, January 24. The band last appeared at the 2012 Convention in Lexington. The band also played for Governor Beshear’s Inaugural ball and makes numerous appearances at public and private functions through the Bluegrass.

Let me get this right: USPS wants to do away with Saturday delivery but it’s willing to deliver on Sunday for Amazon

Do you see this story? I did a double take, knowing what NNA, NAA and other mass users of the postal service have gone through the last several months, fighting off attempts by the USPS to do away with Saturday delivery:

So USPS is pushing to get rid of having to deliver mail on Saturday. But the other side of USPS is now gearing up for Sunday delivery?

NEW YORK — Amazon is rolling out Sunday package delivery as part of a new deal with the U.S. Postal Service.

Delivery started on Sunday to customers in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas, but Amazon and the Postal Service plan to extend service to “a large portion of the U.S. population” next year, the company said. This includes the cities of Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix.

Sunday delivery will be available to all Amazon customers for no extra charge but Amazon expects it will be particularly popular with members of its Prime service, which costs $79 a year and comes with free two-day shipping on many items on the site as well as access to Amazon’s TV and movie streaming service.

“For Prime members, it’s free, for non-Prime members, it’s like any other delivery day of the week,” said Dave Clark, vice president of worldwide operations and customer service at Amazon.

Sunday delivery has been on Amazon’s wish list for a long time. The company does not disclose the percentage of its packages that are delivered on weekends, but Clark expects customers “to be delighted that they will get their products on a weekend.”

Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed, but the deal is likely to give the financially ailing Postal Service a boost. The agency, which lost $16 billion last year and expects to lose $6 billion this year, had tried but failed to end Saturday mail delivery as a cost-saving measure. The Postal Service’s financial quandary stems largely from the fact that fewer people send mail, instead using the Internet to pay bills, send letters or birthday greetings. Adding to its troubles is a 2006 congressional requirement that it make advance payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees.

The agency has been building up a “flexible workforce” for the past 18 months, so right now it doesn’t need to hire additional carriers to work on Sunday,” said Sue Brennan, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service. If and when this service expands, “we’ll make (the) decision if necessary,” she added in an email.

Sunday delivery isn’t an entirely new territory for the USPS. Priority Mail Express, its fastest service, offers Sunday and holiday delivery for a small fee. And during the holiday shipping rush in December it delivers packages on Sundays in major metropolitan areas.

Newspapers Set Digital Traffic Record

From News Industry Report/W.B. Grimes and Company

September was the busiest month ever for newspapers in terms of digital traffic, with 141 million U.S. adults visiting a newspaper Web site or using a newspaper mobile app, according to new data from comScore. That figure is up 11% over June and represents 71% of the country’s total online adult population.

rji-lab

RJI wants your feedback on Futures Lab

The staff at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute wants to know how it might better serve news industry professionals and improve its RJI Futures Lab update.

The Futures Lab update is a weekly video digest that spotlights innovations in journalism for the

newsroom leaders of today and tomorrow. You can provide feedback by taking this short survey. The survey includes multiple choice and fill-in-the blank questions. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.

This survey is part of market research for the Futures Lab and an academic capstone project for

graduating seniors at the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Mo.

The responses will be used internally and for a class presentation. Results will help guide RJI’s work and will not be published.

Here’s a direct link to the survey:         https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LNKCWX7

Reynolds Foundation offering fellowship in Community Journalism

The distinctive voices of local newspapers play a critical role in informing citizens of many American communities, this fellowship will be awarded to a journalist of accomplishment and promise who is committed to the role of the community press.

Made possible through a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, this annual fellowship is offered to journalists who are U.S. citizens and who work at a U.S. daily and weekly newspapers with a circulation less than 50,000 and journalists doing online work for community newspapers or journalists who have established independent local news Web sites in communities where the circulation of the local newspaper is less than 50,000.

Applications from Reynolds candidates are reviewed by a committee of Harvard faculty and news professionals, chaired by the Nieman curator. Finalists are invited to Cambridge in late April for interviews as the final step in selection.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it is one of the 50 largest private foundations in the United States and has invested more than $100 million in its National Journalism Initiative.

For more information about the Nieman Fellowship in Community Journalism, send an e-mail to nieman_applications@harvard.edu.

The deadline for application submission is Jan. 31.

Advertising deduction still a target in House tax reform bill

As we communicated in our Sept. 26 alert, the business deduction for advertising expenses is currently at risk in the House of Representatives. Despite our collective efforts to dissuade Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp from modifying the current tax treatment of advertising, we have heard that he will release draft tax reform legislation that will propose a 10-year amortization of advertising costs. Specifically, his proposal is expected to allow businesses to deduct 50 percent of their advertising costs in the year the advertising expense is incurred and require a business to spread the remaining cost over 10 years.

We can find no economic or policy reason for this proposed change. NAA also believes this proposal would increase the cost of advertising and force advertisers to reduce overall ad spending. We understand that this proposal is one of many that are in play in an effort to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. While reducing the corporate tax rate is attractive, the economic damage from this proposal would outweigh the benefits of a reduced rate.

NAA is encouraging member newspapers to call or write their member of Congress in the House of Representatives today and urge them to oppose this proposal. To locate your representative, go to www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and enter your zip code. The representative’s name will come up with a link to his/her website, allowing constituents to send e-mails. Phone calls into offices are also effective.

Key talking points:

  • The House Committee on Ways and Means is expected to propose a tax on advertising by limiting the business deduction for advertising to 50 percent in the year the expense is incurred and spreading the remaining amount over 10 years.
  • Advertising supports 20 million jobs or 15 percent of all jobs in the country.
  • This proposal would make advertising more expensive, cause a decline in ad spending and cost jobs, since every $1 spent on advertising leads to $20 in economic activity.
  • The Tax Code for 100 years has permitted businesses to deduct the full cost of their advertising just as it permits the deduction of other ordinary business costs like salaries, rent, utilities and office supplies.
  • Some defenders of this proposal claim that advertisers would be “made whole” after 10 years, when the remaining amount of a company’s advertising costs would be made fully deductible. However, this does not take into account the lost value of that deduction over time.
  • The proposal does not consider that companies buy new advertising each year and would feel the brunt of this tax annually. Not only would they have less money to spend on advertising year after year, but newspapers and other media companies that rely on advertising would be harmed as advertisers reduce ad buys.

AP launches two new subscription products

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The Associated Press has announced the launch of two new subscription products from the AP Stylebook.

The first, Stylebook & Webster’s New World Online, integrates about 185,000 definitions from the Stylebook’s primary dictionary to make it easy for users to find entries from both resources at the same time.

Subscribers can do a single search to get clearly labeled results from the AP Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In those cases where the Stylebook differs from Webster’s New World Dictionary, the user can see both entries and compare.

Pricing is based on the number of users, with the per-user cost declining for site licenses with larger numbers of users. Like Stylebook Online, Stylebook & Webster’s New World Online is mobile-optimized so it works well not only on desktops and laptops but also on smartphones and tablets. Subscribers can opt in to email notifications when entries are added or changed and can submit questions to Stylebook’s popular Ask the Editor feature.

“This combined resource will be a boon to copy editors, journalists and writers everywhere,” said Steve Kleinedler, executive editor for the reference group of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which acquired Webster’s New World College Dictionary in late 2012.

AP is also rolling out AP Lingofy, a Web browser plug-in software powered by Tansa Systems’s advanced proofing engine, to provide automated style-checking in the most popular browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.

Aimed at users who create content directly online, including bloggers, website administrators and social media managers, Lingofy checks website content for AP Stylebook’s spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style guidelines. Lingofy users also have the ability to modify and maintain their own online stylebook entries, including proper names, word usage, warning words and phrases, which the system will actively check for during proofing sessions.

Lingofy also checks content for consistency with Webster’s New World College Dictionary, so users get the benefit of a review against Stylebook guidance and its primary dictionary.

“Whether they’re tweeting, blogging or uploading an article to their website, Lingofy’s advanced proofing tools provide online writers and editors the ability to improve the quality of their content, while allowing them to maintain the rapid delivery of information web consumers have grown accustomed to,” said Morten Krøtø, managing director of Tansa Systems AS.

Lingofy complements AP StyleGuard for Word and StyleGuard for Outlook, two existing products that offer automated style-checking for content created using the Microsoft Office software. Tansa has offered automated style checking for close to a decade in its Tansa Text Proofing System, used by many newspapers and publishers in their production environments.

Pricing for Lingofy is per user, with the ability to download plugins for multiple browsers. Tansa will regularly update its servers to ensure Lingofy reflects the latest AP Stylebook additions and changes.

Both products are launching in a beta phase this month, available first to existing AP Stylebook customers. AP expects to release them widely by the end of the year.

“Our collaboration with Webster’s New World College Dictionary and Tansa Systems is helping us launch two robust AP style products that go well beyond the thousands of entries in the AP Stylebook to give writers and editors more comprehensive guidance,” said Colleen Newvine, product manager for the AP Stylebook suite of products.

Updated regularly since its initial print publication in 1953, The AP Stylebook is a must-have reference for writers, editors, students and professionals. The AP Stylebook is used daily by news organizations and communications professionals around the world and is considered by many to be the definitive resource for journalists.

AP continues to look for new ways to make useful and innovative style products. Earlier this year, AP launched automatically scored AP Style Quizzes, available as an annual subscription.

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