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APA encourages members to oppose Issue 3 in the November general election

Guest Column: It pays to pay attention

Arkansas Press Association

Publisher Weekly

By John Foust

Vol. 15 | No. 10 | Thursday, March 5, 2020 | Serving Press and State Since 1873

New Paxton publisher believes in community involvement It takes ink, paper, civic club meetings and fundraisers to build Frank Leto’s ideal newspaper.

Leto, Paxton Media’s new Conway-based group publisher, is bringing a vision of community service to the Arkansas newspapers he now leads: the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, The Courier in Russellville, the Batesville Daily Guard, the Van Buren County Democrat, the Daily Citizen in Searcy and the Sun-Times in Heber Springs. “I think good community newspapers are part of the community,” Leto said in a telephone interview last week. “We’re not just a business providing advertising services, but a community supporter. We support nonprofits, find philanthropic opportunities and try to find out where our newspapers can add value to the community.”

Frank Leto

Leto has been in Arkansas for about six

weeks and is already busy establishing connections with key members of the communities he serves. He has met across his region with staff members, elected officials, advertising customers and subscribers to get feedback and learn more about the region. He said he hopes that intelligence effort extends to identifying ways to grow community involvement. Oftentimes, that community involvement is a sales tool. “One day you might be sitting down talking to someone about a United Way fundraiser or worthwhile nonprofit, and the next week you’re talking to the same people about how to market their business.” Leto’s strategy for community involvement and leadership found success at his Continued on Page 2

APA members unanimously adopt amendment to constitution Members of the Arkansas Press Association agreed in a special election in February to amend the APA’s constitution and bylaws to modernize and improve how additional changes are made to the document, APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley announced. Designated voters who returned ballots by the March 2 deadline voted unanimously (72-0) to streamline how future amendments are adopted. The approved amendment allows for changes to the constitution and bylaws based on the number of ballots returned rather than the total number of designated voters. Previously, it required two-thirds of all designated voters to approve amendments. The new provision allows

for amendments based on two-thirds of members who vote.

“We appreciate the support of APA membership to make this change to our bylaws to ensure our association has the capability to modernize and adapt to a changing environment,” Wimberley said. “Without this amendment, it would have been difficult to obtain the required number of votes to make important improvements to our constitution and bylaws, which haven’t been changed in more than a decade.” The amendment encourages APA members to be more actively involved in the association, and it works much like other elections in which measures are decided only by those who vote. Under the

former system of bylaws, not voting was measured the same way as a “no” vote.


press ANS





New Paxton publisher believes in community involvement Continued from Page1

previous stops. He’s crisscrossed across eight states working in the newspaper industry, starting as an advertising assistant in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1982. Leto has worked for newspapers in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Before his move to Arkansas, he was group publisher at the Joplin Globe in Joplin, Missouri. Those were all “fine states and good newspapers,’ but he’s hoping for better weather in Arkansas than in places like Pennsylvania and Missouri. Though he’s moved to other jobs as he “steadily moved up the ladder” and had opportunities to become general manager at some publications and publisher in others, he said the focus has always been the same. “The thing that was true at the beginning is

still true today even though we have fewer resources and there are many more ways to consume information,” Leto said. “It’s our responsibility as a media company to be the primary source for information about the community.” He’s heartened by the fact that Conway, where he will maintain an office, has three institutions of higher education and a growing population. Newspaper subscribers in both Russellville and Conway are looking for merchants and services they can use without having to travel to the Little Rock area, he said. They also seek the type of localized news content that other media outlets in central Arkansas may not necessarily provide. “What differentiates us, and every community newspaper, is local news,” Leto said. “We’re the largest local newsgathering operation in the community.”

While like others, Leto has concerns and questions about the future of newspapers and what the ongoing digital transition may mean to the print industry, he optimistically says all newspapers are in the same position. What concerns him more than challenges posed by digital media outlets and social media is the potential for apathy and disinterest among members of the community. “I get asked all the time, ‘What do you worry about? Is it radio, or TV, or internet?” Leto said. “I tell people I worry more about apathy than anything else. If you live in a community where people don’t care about their schools or they don’t vote or they don’t care about local government, everything we do is lost on them. I worry about that more than anything else.”

Friday is last day to register for 2020 APA Ad Conference The Arkansas Press Association’s 2020 Advertising Conference is next week at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton. The last day to register for the conference is Friday, March 6. Bill Ostendorf, president of Creative Circle Media, kicks off the conference on Thursday, March 12, with two impactful sessions on advertising design and revenue growth through classified advertising. An industry veteran and expert in newspaper design, Ostendorf will deliver impactful advice to publishers and advertising managers about how to build better ads and make more money. On Friday, March 13, Arkansas newspaper industry leaders will meet to share ideas and focus on best practices for growing their businesses. The conference concludes with a luncheon Friday, March 13, to honor the winners of this year’s Better Newspaper Advertising Contest. The annual ad conference is always a great investment for APA newspapers who can learn, network, and help honor the talented ad executives and designers in our industry. Registration is available until Friday at www. arkansaspress.org. The $125 registration fee covers all meals, conference materials, breaks and a Thursday evening reception. A space is available on the registration form to reserve a room at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute for anyone with additional lodging needs. Special registration for Ostendorf’s training sessions is also available at a cost of $50 per person.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly 2

March 5, 2020

MARK YOUR CALENDAR June 25-27, 2020 APA Annual Convention DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Little Rock

INDUSTRY QUOTE “Journalism has changed tremendously because of the democratization of information. Anybody can put something up on the Internet. It’s harder and harder to find what the truth is.”

APA encourages members to oppose Issue 3 in the November general election

Arkansas voters in November will decide whether to revamp how the state handles the initiative and referendum process, opening the door for a potential change in the legal publication requirements for ballot measures. The General Assembly in its 2019 session referred to voters Issue 3, a constitutional amendment to overhaul how initiatives and referenda are certified, challenged and placed on the ballot. Included in the proposed constitutional amendment are changes to Amendment 70. The proposal removes language from Amendment 70 that obligates the state to publish all pending ballot measures at least six times in a newspaper in each county. The proposal would instead call for publication of ballot measures “in a manner prescribed by law.”

Currently, Arkansas statutes reflect the constitutional language that stipulates publication at least six times. This proposal

Voters will decide on Issue 3 in the Nov. 3 general election.

was presented the Arkansas Press Association’s I.F. Stone Award for investigative reporting based on her series of reports on issues involving the Bryant mayor’s office. Perry’s reporting led to that mayor losing an election. She has worked at the Courier since graduating from the University of Arkansas in 2013. While in college, she was an intern at the Pine Bluff Commercial.

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry, senior reporter for the Saline Courier, has been promoted to editor of that newspaper’s sister publication, the Malvern Daily Record.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

“In the coming weeks and months, we will be working with our members and others to ensure that Arkansas voters understand the real impact of Issue 3 on open government and transparency.”

Perry takes over as editor in Malvern



“Our democracy and electoral process relies on an informed electorate, and publication in newspapers is a critical and fundamental part in making sure voters know what to expect at the ballot box,” said APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley. “If approved, Issue 3 gives lawmakers the option to restrict or change publication requirements in a manner that would reduce transparency and shield important information from voters.


— Robert Redford


would give the Legislature authority to change the statute as it sees fit, potentially striking a blow to transparency.

Perry had been with the Saline County newspaper since 2013. Last year, she 3

“Working with many talented journalists throughout the years, I have learned countless things,” she said in announcement about her hiring. “My time at the Courier has made me a better writer and encouraged me to be even better in the future. I plan to take that drive into my new career and give that encouragement to other fellow reporters.” At the Daily Record, Perry will manage a staff of three people. She will continue to live in Saline County with her husband, Richard, and 3-year-old son, Elijah. March 5, 2020

Arkansas SPJ contest entries sought

The Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is currently accepting entries for SPJ’s annual Diamond Awards. The awards “recognize outstanding journalism by professionals, including freelancers, and students regardless of format. The awards highlight excellence in journalism in Arkansas and is open to journalists in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee as well. To be eligible for consideration, work must have been published or broadcast in the 2019 calendar year. For more information about contest rules and categories, visit https://arkansasspj. org/2020-diamond-journalism-awardscategories/ Journalists need not be members of SPJ to enter. The registration fee per entry is $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

APA welcomes new associate members Five organizations have recently joined the Arkansas Press Association as associate members. They are: the Arkansas Community Foundation; The Design Group; Grimes McGovern and Associates; Journal Agency LLC; and Resident Press.

The Design Group is a Little Rock-based full-service, multicultural marketing and public relations agency. Grimes, McGovern and Associates is a company that evaluates media companies for sale or merger and promotes their publications for sale or advises them of refinancing options.

Associate membership is open to businesses, nonprofits, educators and Journal Agency LLC is operated by David individuals who want to support the Lide, who recently started the Little Arkansas newspaper industry as a whole River Post, a newspaper or whose mission or efforts in Ashdown. The company align with those of APA or also has a statewide online its members. Associate A R K A N S A S media presence. members receive a variety of benefits, including Resident Press, based ASSOCIATION in Mansfield, is an online access to all APA member publications and the annual news platform covering media directory. Associate members also Sebastian and Scott counties. have the opportunity to participate in APA APA associate membership is priced training workshops and events, as well as based on business category. All associate other membership benefits. members receive a free news release Arkansas Community Foundation, a distribution every year (a $200 value). statewide nonprofit, aids the state’s To apply for associate membership, visit communities in fundraising efforts for arkansaspress.org. important initiatives. Founded in 1976, Congratulations to APA’s new associate ACF has provided more than $260 million members. in grants in Arkansas.


What’s Growing on in Arkansas?

Our team of experts can help you tell the story of our state’s #1 industry Public Relations Contacts:

For photos, video, news, commentary and more: arfb.com Facebook

Arkansas Publisher Weekly







March 5, 2020

Guest Column: It pays to pay attention By John Foust Abby, who owns a retail store, told me about an appointment with a salesperson from her local newspaper. “I did plenty of research before I contacted him and decided to run a campaign in his paper. When I called him, I made it clear that I was going to buy some advertising and just needed him to drop by to confirm a few details, so I could pay in advance. “When he arrived, I reminded him that I had a tight schedule, but he launched into a full sales presentation. In an attempt to move things along, I pulled out my checkbook and asked if I should make the check payable to the newspaper or to the publishing company – which had different names. What happened next was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. He completely ignored my question and started talking about the corporate owner of the paper. He had positive things to say, but it had nothing to do with my advertising. After about five minutes of listening to that, I put the checkbook away, thanked him for his time and told him I might run some ads with his paper in the future.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Even though that happened years ago, Abby still remembers the frustration she felt at the time. “That salesperson wasn’t paying attention at all. He was completely out of touch with what was going on in our meeting.” Hearing about Abby’s experience reminded me of something that once happened to a family friend. He was buying a used car from a dealership and thought it would be a simple process. The plan was to do online research, find a car of interest, take a test drive and make a decision. The transaction didn’t involve financing or a trade-in. “The price fit my budget exactly,” he said. “I told the salesperson there was no room to buy extras. But before he accepted my check and handed over the keys, I was introduced to a finance person and led into his office. Since I knew that was standard procedure at a lot of dealerships, I said right up front that I wasn’t interested in added features or an extended warranty. I’ve bought a number of cars over the years. Sometimes I’ve bought extended warranties and sometimes I haven’t. This


time, I didn’t want one.” “The finance guy was new in his position and didn’t seem to know how to handle a customer who wasn’t in the market for extras. He was determined to stick to the script he had been taught, so I had to listen to a pitch on a variety of extended warranties. I repeatedly asked him to cut it short, but he kept going until the bitter end. Even though he was pleasant and friendly, he was completely out of touch with the situation. It was a total waste of time for both of us.” Two stories, one lesson. When you’re face-to-face with a client, it pays to pay attention. (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

March 5, 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

Circle One

Person 1: Person 2:

Room 2: Double / King

Person 1:

Person 2:

Room 3: Double / King

Bill Me

Circle One

Circle One

Person 1:

Credit Card # Expiration Date

Room 1: Double / King


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: March 5, 2020  

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

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: March 5, 2020  

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