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Reminder: Special APA election underway Guest Column: Get prospects involved in your presentations

Arkansas Press Association

Publisher Weekly

By John Foust

Vol. 15 | No. 7 | Thursday, February 13, 2020 | Serving Press and State Since 1873

Lincoln County’s ‘one-man band’ newspaper hits 25-year mark The Lincoln American in Star City celebrates its 25th anniversary next month with a founder and publisher who’d never intended to be in the newspaper business in the first place.

Just months before he started the Lincoln American, publisher John Whipple stopped by the Lincoln Ledger – then the only publication in Star City – to see whether the newspaper had an opening for a proofreader. Just a few minutes later, Whipple was taken to City Hall where he was told to sit in on a municipal meeting and “see what you can do.” “I had just moved here and I didn’t know anybody or anything,” Whipple recalled in a recent telephone interview. “I didn’t even know who the mayor was. That’s how I started. I wasn’t asking to be a reporter, but they said, ‘We need a reporter and that’s what we’re looking for.’”

John Whipple in the newsroom several years ago.

Whipple spent a couple years at the Lincoln Ledger before venturing out on his own to establish the Lincoln American. The weekly tabloid newspaper was first

published in March 1995, and Whipple, mostly working on his own, has published 1,294 consecutive weekly issues. Whipple’s wife, Pam, will help him get the newspaper ready for distribution on Wednesdays, he said, and sons Isaac and Jacob sometimes assist with distribution. Mainly though, it’s Whipple himself who operates the American. “As far as covering events, writing stories, pagination and design, it’s all me,” he said. Lincoln County is one of a rapidly dwindling number of regions anywhere with competing newspapers. Whipple said he has a friendly relationship with his competitor, despite the competition for advertising. The two publications sometimes exchange information and photographs, and he noted that his former

Continued on Page 2

Two grants available for 2020 APA Advertising Conference The Arkansas Newspaper Foundation will fund grants of $200 for two Arkansas Press Association members to attend this year’s annual APA Advertising Conference. The 2020 conference will be held March 1213 at the Winthrop Rockefeller Center on Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton. The conference features Bill Ostendorf, who describes himself as a “highly-critical optimist” and intends to bring a blunt approach to helping newspapers earn more revenue through better approaches to ad design and classified ad sales. Ostendorf is an expert in newspaper redesign who has led redesign of more than 650 newspapers and 300 websites.

Ostendorf’s presentations are scheduled for Thursday, March 12. On Friday, March 13, publishers, ad managers and other APA members will gather for roundtable discussions about industry trends and effective ad sales techniques. The event concludes with a luncheon honoring the winners of the 2020 Better Newspaper Advertising Contest. “The annual ad conference is always a way to learn how to grow revenue and improve ad sales, and this year’s agenda is designed to help our members do both,” said Ashley Wimberley, APA executive director. “I’m excited for the opportunity to

meet with APA members from across the state to network, brainstorm and go back home with new ways to engage readers and get results for our clients.” Registration is $125, which includes all conference materials, meals, breaks and a Thursday evening reception. Participants may reserve a hotel room at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute for $115 per night. Room reservations are available on the conference registration form. To register for the conference, visit www. arkansaspress.org. To apply for an ANF grant, email Terri Cobb at the APA office at terri@arkansaspress.org.

Reminder: Lincoln County’s ‘one-man band’ Special APA newspaper hits 25-year mark election underway Continued from Page 1

Arkansas Press Association members are reminded to return their ballots in a special election to amend the APA constitution and bylaws by the March 2 deadline. The APA Board of Directors has recommended amending the APA constitution in order to streamline and modernize the method for making changes to the constitution and bylaws in the future.

Whipple holding his son Jacob in front of his former office.

employer understands that Whipple only ventured off to start his own newspaper because he wanted to better support himself and be his own boss.

Currently, amendments to the constitution and bylaws require an affirmative vote of two-thirds all APA members to take effect. The change being voted on now would permit amendments to the constitution or bylaws to be ratified based on the total number of ballots cast. The proposal is designed to encourage and increase voter participation in APA elections. All designated voters at APA member newspapers should have already received ballots and a stamped envelope for returning the vote. Any designated voter that has not received a ballot should contact APA at (501) 374-1500 or email ashley@arkansaspress.org.

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Whipple, whose office is in Country Village just outside Star City, said he also recognizes the Ledger has a core subscriber base and well-established audience that’s difficult to compete against. The Ledger has been in business since 1876. “My circulation will never hurt the Lincoln Ledger,” Whipple said. “A lot of people still think of the Lincoln Ledger first and foremost … As far as me still being in business, the only thing I can say is the mercy of God has kept me in this business this long. Every week it’s just enough news, just enough money, whatever I need.” Whipple is a Rhode Island native who spent 11 years as a constable in his home state. As constable, he worked security for a local shopping mall and developed a knack for completing incident reports. He wrote reports for both himself and his colleagues, using skills that he continues to use as a newspaper editor and publisher today.

Perhaps because of his background, Whipple said the Lincoln American focuses more heavily on justice issues and police reporting than its competitor. He’s also tried to give Lincoln County veterans and military an opportunity to tell their stories. To compete, he has taken what’s both an unusual and risky approach to attracting advertisers. Whipple offers local businesses who have never advertised with him a 90 percent off special if they sign an advertising contract for an entire year. “You have to be imaginative and creative sometimes to continue to make a living in this business,” he said. “A lot of people would say that’s crazy to offer them basically a 90 percent off deal … but it’s helped to keep me afloat, and when they year’s up, most of them renew. One-tenth of a pie is better than nothing, and if you can get 10 people to do it, that’s a whole pie.” Whipple said he will continue to try to find innovative ways to grow revenue as the American looks beyond its 25th anniversary. He thinks smaller, community newspapers are probably more viable than their metropolitan counterparts during this time of transition for the print industry.

“I had to write reports, all the time,” he said. “It was everything from an arrest “It’s been very, very tough and it’s getting to an accident to a fire to a fight to an tougher all the time, but I still believe like insurance dispute. I was pretty much the a lot of people that it’s a little bit easier for unofficial report writer, and I honed my us smaller newspapers. Everybody wants skills for 11 years but never thought about to see their kids in the paper. They want being a reporter or publisher or anything to know about births and weddings. I think @ArkansasPressAssociation @ARPressAssoc there will always be a niche for that.” like that.” Arkansas Publisher Weekly 2 February 13, 2020

—30— Jerry David Milner

Daily Citizen earns party for perfect performance in advertising placement

Jerry David Milner

Jerry David Milner, 73, of Camden, died Jan. 28. Milner was a retired communications director for International Paper in Camden and was a frequent contributor to the Camden News. A co-owner of Camden’s Polywoven Distributors, Milner was an expert sports photographer who consistently provided his work free of charge to the Camden newspaper. He was a long-time collaborator with the Camden News for news coverage in the region. Milner is survived by his wife, Linda; sons Jason Milner of Camden and Jeff Milner of Rayville, Louisiana; and six grandchildren. A memorial service was held earlier this month.

INDUSTRY QUOTE The duty of journalists is to tell the truth. Journalism means you go back to the actual facts, you look at the documents, you discover what the record is, and you report it that way.

— Noam Chomsky,

Professor and Author Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Pictured from left, are Bruce Gutherie, Editor (Batesville); Steve Watts, Editor; Wendy Jones, News Clerk; Teresa Harvey, General Manger; Adam Chapman, Sports.

Congratulations to the Daily Citizen in Searcy for earning a pizza party for its employees, compliments of the Arkansas Press Association, for perfect performance in its placement of APA-ordered ads in 2019. The Daily Citizen was randomly chosen from among nearly 60 Arkansas newspapers who made the Perfect Performance Club throughout the 2019 calendar year.

The APA started the Perfect Performance Club several years ago as a way to encourage member newspapers to publish ads ordered through APA correctly and on time. The staff enjoyed its pizza from Marco’s Pizza in Searcy last Friday afternoon. Congratulations again to General Manager Teresa Harvey and the Daily Citizen team in Searcy.

—30— Nathan Harvey Hooker Nathan Harvey Hooker, former general manager of the Paragould Daily Press, died Jan. 18 at his home in Montgomery, Texas. He was 80. Hooker was a native of Leachville Nathan Harvey Hooker and a graduate of Hendrix College. An Army veteran, he moved his family to Paragould in 1963 and became general manager and a columnist for the Daily Press. He was a two-time winner of the state’s daily columnist of the year award. While in Paragould, he was a Jaycee and chairman of the Greene County Democratic Party. 3

After working in Paragould, Hooker was in corporate public relations for the American Red Cross in Washington. He relocated to Houston after that and helped start the Houston Business Journal and other business publications across the country with Cordovan Press. He went on to serve in various executive roles for printing companies in Houston. He was an officer and president of the Houston Public Relations Association and the Gulf Coast Direct Mail Association. He is survived by his wife, Alice; two sons, John Mark Hooker and Patrick Ed Hooker; three grandchildren; and three sisters. A memorial service is planned Montgomery, Texas, on March 28.


February 13, 2020

Guest Column: Get prospects involved in your presentations By John Foust Back in my ad agency days, I remember hearing and reading about the importance of getting prospects involved in sales presentations. At that point in my young career, I had experienced the difficulty of getting – and holding – the other person’s attention in a sales conversation. So I decided to try that strategy in an upcoming sales meeting. The prospective client was a residential real estate development company which was considering a new logo and print brand identity. They were testing the waters to see if there were any logo ideas that were better than the design they had been using for years. I had worked with them on a few other projects, so they agreed for me to develop something. My proposed logo featured an angled line over one of the upper-case letters in their name, with the line and the letter tailored to look like the outline of a house. Sure, it seems trite and unmemorable now, but at the time I thought it was a unique concept. On the day of the presentation, I arrived with the finished logo, a drawing pad,

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

and black and red markers. The finished version stayed in my briefcase, while I handed the pad and the red marker to the prospect. I provided detailed instructions on how to draw the simple letter and roof outline. Then I gave him the black marker and asked him to fill in the other letters of the company’s name. We talked for a minute or two about the simplicity of the design and how it would communicate the nature of their business at a glance. That experience was a real wake-up call for me. From the moment I handed over the pad and the markers, he was completely involved in the process. I could tell that he had never before seen a presentation like that. By the time I pulled the completed version of the logo out of my briefcase, he understood the reasoning behind the design. After all, he had drawn it himself. I wish I could report that my presentation convinced them to buy that new logo. But as it turned out, they kept using their old brand identity and later changed it to something which was designed by a family member. Those things happen.


Even though I lost the sale, I’ve never forgotten that day’s lesson. Those things I had heard about getting prospects involved in presentations were right. The key is to get the other person involved physically and mentally. There are a lot of possibilities. You can ask him to find his spec ad on a mocked-up newspaper page. You can ask her to look up something on her computer. Or you can ask the group at the conference table to vote on which testimonial quote to feature first. Selling and teaching have a lot in common. It’s the old Chinese proverb in action: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” (c) Copyright 2020 by John Foust. All rights reserved. John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. E-mail for information: john@johnfoust.com

February 13, 2020

Arkansas Press Association

2020 Ad Conference March 12-13 Winthrop Rockefeller Institute Petit Jean Mountain

Conference Schedule THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020 1:00 PM 1:30 PM

Registration Opens Welcome, Introductions & Announcements Session One: Better Ad Design Will Drive Your Revenue

This session will review some principals of good ad design that need to be applied to print and web advertising, give you tips about how to get the right information from advertisers, explain the role of ad size, visuals and headlines in readership and conversion and address issues of ad layout in print and online. Presented by Bill Ostendorf

3:00 PM 3:30 PM


Session Two: Why Classifieds Could Be Newspapers’ Next Big Thing You will leave this session with a new perspective that will help you re-energize your classified revenue, both in print and online. We’ll show you new ways to make more money with classifieds. Presented by Bill Ostendorf

6:00 PM

Reception Lodge Great Room

7:00 PM

Group Dining River Rock Grill

8:30 PM

Group Gathering Lodge Great Room

FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020 8:00 AM 8:30 AM 10:00 AM 10:15 AM NOON

Breakfast HOT Ideas! Break Panel Discussion 2020 Better Newspaper Advertising Awards Luncheon

Guest Speaker Bill Ostendorf is president and founder of Creative Circle Media Solutions, a network of talent he has been building for more than 30 years. An energetic and entertaining speaker, he has been featured at hundreds of industry conferences in 23 countries. He has a BSJ in magazine writing and an MSJ in newspaper reporting and management, from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and was trained as a reporter. He aspired to be a columnist, but quickly moved from reporting to editing to design. “My bosses kept asking me if I could take pictures, manage the photo department, design pages or redesign papers,” he said. “I kept saying ‘yes’ to these new assignments when I probably should have said ‘no.’ But I developed a passion for helping people avoid all the mistakes I had to suffer through learning on the job.” Bill has become an innovator in finding new ways for newspapers and other media companies to grow their revenues, especially online. He has led redesigns of more than 650 publications and more than 300 web sites. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Fran.

Arkansas Press Association

2020 Ad Conference Sign Up Today!

Newspaper:________________________________________________________________________________ Mailing Address:_____________________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip:_______________________________________________________________________________ Phone:_______________________ Fax:__________________________ Email: _________________________ Attendee Name: 1. _____________________________________________________________________________________ 2. _____________________________________________________________________________________ 3. _____________________________________________________________________________________ 4. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Please list any additional names on a separate sheet.

Conference Fee ($125) Includes: Reception, Thursday Dinner, Breaks, Friday Breakfast, Awards Banquet, and all Conference Materials. Total Attendees: x $125 Full Conference Fee $ x $115 Hotel Room $ x $40 Awards (Friday Lunch Only) $ x $50 Thursday Session Only $ TOTAL $ Payment Options: Check Enclosed

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Register online at http://www.arkansaspress.org/event/2020AdConference or send registration and payment by Friday, March 6 to: Arkansas Press Association, 411 South Victory, Little Rock, AR 72201 or Fax 501.374.7509.

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly, February 13, 2020  

The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late-breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...

Arkansas Publisher Weekly, February 13, 2020  

The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late-breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...