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Digital shift not impacting printing of northwest Arkansas weeklies

Guest Column: Get ready to change By Peter Wagner

Arkansas Press Association

Publisher Weekly Vol. 15 | No. 9 | Thursday, February 27, 2020 | Serving Press and State Since 1873

Newspaper entrepreneur starts new publication in Ashdown A Little Rock man who says he can trace his lineage to the founder of the first newspaper west of the Mississippi has launched an ambitious plan to re-establish a newspaper on the north banks of the Red. David Lide published the first edition of the Little River Post in Ashdown this week. Lide expects his new enterprise to fill the void left by the Little River News, which had been the oldest business in Little River County before it suspended publication in November. Lide, 28, said he has operated several online news sites but was inspired to get into the newspaper business because of the legacies of family members, including his great-grandfather, Elmer Inglin, who co-owned the Lonoke Democrat, and Arkansas Gazette founder William O. Woodruff. His Ashdown startup is hopefully the first of several newspaper launches or acquisitions, he said. “Online stuff is fun and all, but I want to get back into my family’s footsteps and (produce newspapers) with that physical feel before it’s too late,” Lide said. After Palmer Publishing of Texas stopped producing the Little River News, Lide said he contacted the Little River County Chamber of Commerce to gauge its interest in whether another newspaper would work in the county bordered by the Red and Little rivers in the southwest

Continued on Page 2

Newspaper publisher David Lide with an early edition of the Little River Post.

APA special election wrapping up on Monday, March 2 Any Arkansas Press Association member who has not yet voted in the special election to amend the APA’s constitution and bylaws are reminded to submit their ballots by the Monday, March 2 deadline. The APA Board of Directors is asking members to amend the constitution so that future changes to the organization’s governing documents can be more streamlined and efficient. The proposed amendment would change the threshold

for approving future amendments. Currently, two-thirds of all APA members must vote “yes” on an amendment for it to take effect. The proposal would change that to allow for the amendment to pass with an affirmative vote of two-thirds of those participating in the election. For more information contact APA at (501) 374-1500 or email info@ arkansaspress.org.

New publisher Newspaper entrepreneur starts new named at Dumas publication in Ashdown Clarion corner of Arkansas. According to Lide, together,” he said. “We have some plans Continued from Page 1

Rick Wright, a veteran journalist who has worked for multiple newspapers in Arkansas, has been named publisher of the Dumas Clarion. Wright was previously editor and general manager of the Helena World and he worked as editor of several magazines in Arizona. He has more than 40 years in the newspaper business, with stops in Mena, De Queen, Waldron, Dardanelle, Russellville, Hot Springs Village and in Texas. “I am honored to be in Dumas, to be a part of the historic Dumas Clarion newspaper,” Wright said. “I look forward to becoming a part of the community and writing about the unique people who call Dumas and their surrounding area their home for many years to come.” Wright succeeds Tracey Finch, who was interim publisher of the newspaper. Finch will remain on the staff as advertising director. The Dumas Clarion is owned by Emmerich Newspapers, based in Jackson, Mississippi. Emmerich owns several publications in Mississippi and Louisiana.

chamber officials said “we really want you to come down!” So he did, producing a prototype newspaper to share with potential advertisers and speaking at the Chamber’s annual banquet. To Lide, it was advantageous to get started in the newspaper industry in a community without an existing publication. “Being the only newspaper, this was something I could go into, maybe make some money and give the community a newspaper again,” he said. “We’ve had tons of people coming up to us saying they want advertising slots and we’re getting really good feedback from the community. That’s really important, because it’s their newspaper.” The Little River Post was so named after Lide asked students at two local high schools, Ashdown and Foreman, for name suggestions. The naming contest was one way Lide believed he could generate community buy-in for the newspaper. The publication will be full color “as long as the advertisements support it.” It’s printed at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette printing facility in Little Rock. Lide said the initial press run was 2,000 copies. His mother, Camille Johnson, is the editor of the Little River Post. He will rely on local freelance journalists and photographers to provide content not written by him or his mother. “We’re using local talent to write stories and take photos and help put the newspaper

to make it look more modern and to, when you look at it, you don’t think you’re looking at a small-town newspaper.”

In his opinion, it’s “important to have this community focused, where the community almost feels like they own it.” Lide said he worked as a contract photographer for the Arkansas DemocratGazette after finishing high school in 2010, and he has done freelance writing and photojournalism work since then. With the launch of the Ashdown newspaper, he’s also seeking out opportunities to expand his business presence in other areas of the state. “There is still money in small, community newspapers,” Lide said. “It’s a way of getting the news out to people who may have slow internet and can’t be on Facebook all the time to see what’s going on in their community.” He added: “The overall goal is to make this into something that’s fun and interesting and grows and really becomes bigger. This is a stepping stone for me to get other newspapers and continue on the legacy of my family while focusing on the community and giving them what they need.” If all goes well, Lide foresees a profitable business model that can help him fund his college tuition and acquire newspapers or launch new ones. “It will depend a lot on, if that newspaper in that town is for sale, can I buy it?” he said.




June 25-27, 2020

News is history shot on the wing.

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Arkansas Publisher Weekly 2 February 27, 2020

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette earns award for innovation Newspaper publishers from across the country recognized the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette last week with the Mega-Innovation Award at the annual Key Executives Mega-Conference in Fort Worth. The newspaper received the award at the conference of newspaper industry executives for its iPad initiative. The newspaper is in the process of a statewide digital conversion of its daily newspaper and is providing subscribers with iPads to read a digital replica edition of the newspaper. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette continues to publish a print edition on Sundays and offers single-copy sales daily in some locations in central Arkansas. According to the Democrat-Gazette, that newspaper was one of three finalists for the award. Others included the Salt Lake Tribune, which converted to nonprofit last year and the Item of Sumpter, South Carolina, which established a video department and created new community events in 2019. “The Mega-Innovation Award is always a highlight of the conference,” Dean Ridings, head of America’s Newspapers, was quoted as saying. “Innovation is critical to any industry, and we are honored to recognize the best of the best each year at this conference.” Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman was presented Walter Hussman, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher, accepting the Megathe award at the conference. Innovation Award.

—30— Anna Mae Swaim-Rogers

Digital shift not impacting printing of northwest Arkansas weeklies Weekly newspapers in northwest Arkansas owned by Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC will continue delivering a print newspaper each week as always, the company announced to readers earlier this month.

Anna Mae Swaim-Rogers, 88, died Sunday, Feb. 9. She was a native and lifelong resident of North Little Rock.

While the daily Northwest Arkansas DemocratGazette will be printed only on Sunday and in digital format accessible on iPads and other electronic devices, the weekly publications “will continue to be printed each week, delivered to subscribers by mail and will be available in newsstands and news racks as usual,” the newspapers reported.

In her career she worked for the Arkansas Democrat and for the Pulaski County Assessor’s Office. She is survived by two sons, Larry Rogers of Little Rock and William Daniel Rogers of North Little Rock; and a daughter, Lisa Rogers Piazza of California.

The news stories in the weekly newspapers will continue to be published online and digital replica editions of those newspapers will be accessible to subscribers.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William, and one son, David.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s digital transition is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Wilson-Robison Funeral Home in England.

Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC’s weekly newspapers are: the Bella Vista Weekly Vista, Westside Eagle Observer, The HeraldLeader, Pea Ridge Times, Washington County Enterprise Leader, La Prensa Libre and the McDonald County (Missouri) Press.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


February 27, 2020

APA Ad Conference deadline approaching quickly It’s time now to register for this year’s Arkansas Press Association Advertising Conference, which is just two weeks away. The 2020 conference will be held at the scenic Winthrop Rockefeller Institute atop Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton. The conference begins March 12 with two professional development workshops geared toward publishers and ad directors. The APA’s annual Better Newspaper Advertising Awards Luncheon concludes the conference on March 13.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Heading up this year’s workshop sessions is Bill Ostendorf, an ad and newspaper design expert who’s helped hundreds of newspapers build better ads and redesign their products. Ostendorf, president of Creative Circle Media, will advise attendees on ways to grow revenue through advertising design and classified ad sales.

which covers all conference materials, meals, breaks and a Thursday evening reception. Participants may also reserve a hotel room at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on the registration form.

To register for the conference, visit www. arkansaspress.org. Registration is $125,

The registration deadline is Friday, March 6.


Any registrant planning to attend only the Thursday training workshops can register for the discounted price of $50 per person.

February 27, 2020

Guest Column: Get ready to change By Peter Wagner November’s announcement of the merger of Gannett, once considered the apex of all newspaper chains, and Gatehouse rocked our industry. Gannett was once the strongest voice for the newspaper industry, but it was Gatehouse that absorbed Gannett. Gatehouse, however, has since adopted the Gannett name. Now McClatchy Company, owners of the Sacramento Bee, Kansas City Star and 27 other daily newspapers across 14 states, has filed for bankruptcy protection. These announcements and others have been reason for concern for small groups and independent publishers across America. I believe, however, the future is different for community papers than what awaits many daily publications. The marketing manager at one of our regional banking chains explained it to me this way: “I won’t advertise in a daily newspaper where readers only look for last night’s scores and skim the headlines,” she said. “But I regularly buy ads in weekly papers that are read page by page and remain in the house a week or longer.” Community newspapers and shoppers are still the most effective way to reach a broad market. They also create consensus, cooperation and “hometown” pride. But community papers, too, also will have to change if they want to remain viable. FIRST, CHANGES NEEDED: PRINTED PUBLICATION


Community newspapers will need to think smaller in their pursuit of advertising dollars and bigger in the variety of services they provide their community. The average size of print ads will continue to shrink and so will the number of local retailers who are interested in any kind of traditional advertising. This can be offset, however, with monthly pages of smaller ads sold in annual packages to health professionals, Arkansas Publisher Weekly

automotive tire, parts and service centers, women’s clothing and decor boutiques, places to eat, drink and party, home construction firms and repair centers and any other common themes a paper’s sales manager can imagine. A themed page can be built around 12 same size ads, published a specific week of every month, at a contract price, for example. The paper should charge its regular rate for the ad space and add $10 per spot for process color. That charge would cover the printing cost and please the advertiser who is used to paying five to 10 times as much for process color. The lower price and being on the same page with like businesses should guarantee advertiser retention.

letter B and so on. The revenue comes from selling advertising to businesses in that town. Finally, don’t overlook selling strip ads, at a premium, on the bottom of the paper’s school pages, sports pages, farm pages, society pages and even the local opinions page. A local law firm or community college would be a great prospect for the opinions page location. Remember, advertisers buy the local newspaper for the audience it reaches. Consider publishing as many editorial and advertising pages as possible in process color. Nobody buys a black and white television today so why would they be interested in a black on white newspaper?

An increase in advertising revenue also will come from the creative sales of additional community support pages. These full pages, best produced in full color, cheer on and congratulate everything from the local basketball team’s successful season to the induction of an Eagle Scout or Catholic Education Week to FFA week.

Finally, consider restructuring the paper’s subscription price. The paper has to be at a price that will encourage the greatest number of subscribers. There are greater margins in ad dollars than subscription dollars. Don’t sacrifice advertising revenue for circulation dollars.

The increased offering of community betterment pages opens an entirely new list of potential advertisers including medical and law offices, manufacturing and processing plants, and public service agencies that don’t normally do display advertising. But remember, these should always be offered as community support pages and never as “signature” pages.

Community newspapers are never going to completely disappear but there is no denying online publishing is the future.

There are also unlimited dollars available in ads solicited for well-written and produced “keepsake” sections. These are special tabloids produced to recognize a special anniversary of a local community organization, business, institution or industry, the founding or expansion or any other memorable occasion such as local citizens involved in World War II or Vietnam. Additional publishing income ideas include publishing A to Z Guides for surrounding communities that feature a photo and copy about something exceptional in that town that starts with the letter A, then the 5


Here are some of my thoughts on taking control of that future in your local community: Publish a daily blast email newsletter. Have subscribers to this free service acknowledge, when signing up, that the paper also may send them worthwhile commercial messages. Those advertiser emails might include a list of the daily specials at the local restaurants or the advance notice of a business liquidation sale. Produce a live two-or-three-minute online news broadcast. Schedule two a day, weekdays, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and repeat that broadcast until a new one is recorded. Consider starting with an audio version and later moving to a videocast when you are able to create a small inoffice studio. Continued on Page 6

February 27, 2020

Get Ready to Change Continued from Page 5

Run regular website contests in cooperation with local grocery stores, health centers, local manufacturers and banks. Do an Ugly Sweater contest at Christmas and Mother/Daughter LookAlike contest for Mother’s Day. Sell the package to a specific sponsor to cover both the prize and use of the website. Produce an interactive calendar so individuals can list their upcoming events, closings, location changes, all on your website. Our online calendar is tied to

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

the sponsorship of our full-page monthly printed calendar in our N’West Iowa REVIEW. Offer live video coverage of your community with specially placed cameras. Position one on Main Street so viewers can watch the downtown traffic. Set another where it is possible to see the current weather conditions including rain, blizzard and wind conditions. Snowbirds really appreciate seeing the weather back home as much as knowing at-home


temperatures. The list is endless, but the future is bright. Lots of changes are coming and many are already here. But don’t worry; instead, get involved. The future belongs to the innovative and determined. Peter W. Wagner is founder and publisher of the award winning N’West Iowa REVIEW and 13 additional publications. Wagner can be contacted by emailing

February 27, 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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Person 2:

Please list any additional names on a separate sheet.

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 27, 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 27, 2020  

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