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Newspaper organizations launch Coronavirus information website

Guest Column:

Survey results project advertising bust, then rebound By Earl J. Wilkinson

Arkansas Press Association

Publisher Weekly Vol. 15 | No. 13 | Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Serving Press and State Since 1873

Art and design always a passion for “Best of Show” winner Even as David Hancock graduated business school, his mind was on art and design.

choose from to announce he’d earned his accounting degree in the late 1980s. So, he took it upon himself to design his own graduation announcement using the paste-up techniques that were common at the time. As a child, one of Hancock’s pastimes was to cut artwork out of newspapers and arrange collages for himself, especially during the holidays. He’s the one creating the designs for the newspaper now, as an integrated advertising designer for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. One of Hancock’s designs earned him the “Best of Show” honor for the 2020 Arkansas Press Association Better Advertising Awards.

David Hancock

Hancock, a 30-year veteran of advertising design at newspapers in northwest Arkansas, didn’t much care for the stock graduation invitations he had to

college, but he was a victim of corporate downsizing and that led to him applying for a job at the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas in the early 1990s. He started his newspaper career doing paste-up for the classified ads section. Later, he was creative services manager. He stayed with the newspaper during its merger with the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and currently handles promotional advertisements for the newspaper. Hancock’s award-winning advertisement was in the form of a Christmas greeting to Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette readers. The full-page promotional ad appeared on the back page of the newspaper’s A Section on Christmas Day.

“I was always an artist and I should have known that I was going to do this, years ago when I was small,” Hancock said, adding the graduation announcement creation was “another instance that should have been a clue for me that I was going to be a graphic designer.”

Called, “The Gift of a Free Press” it included excerpts from a sermon delivered in November 1835 about how First Amendment freedoms of speech and of the press are fundamental principles that protect our country against political corruption and bad actors.

Hancock, corporate

Hancock was inspired to design the ad when he read a portion of the sermon in

of Springdale, worked in accounting after leaving

Continued on Page 2

APA annual convention postponed to September 24-25, 2020 The Arkansas Press Association Board of Directors this week voted to postpone the annual APA Convention scheduled for June because of ongoing concerns due to the novel coronavirus. The convention has tentatively been rescheduled for Sept. 24-25 in Little Rock. “With our medical professionals and state and federal authorities still unsure about how long this pandemic will affect

Americans, the board decided it was in the best interest of our members to postpone



this year’s convention,” said APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley. “While we are disappointed we won’t be able to hold the convention as usual during

the summer, we think an early fall event will be a great opportunity to assemble, learn from experts and present our annual awards. We look forward to seeing all APA members in September.” More details about the rescheduled convention are forthcoming. As a result of the postponed convention, deadlines for entry in the APA’s annual Better Newspaper Editorial Awards contest are also being pushed back.

Art and design always a passion for “Best of Show” winner 10A v WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2019

∂ ∂

Continued from Page 1

an email he received from a newspaper trade association. He initially built the ad with a Thanksgiving greeting in mind, but it couldn’t make the Thanksgiving editions, so he tweaked it to make it a Christmas message, he said. Regardless of the holiday, it’s a message that remains timeless and important. “One of the challenges for newspapers today is to fight for relevancy and to make the public at large understand that newspapers are relevant, and that it’s their civic responsibility to support a local newspaper,” Hancock said. “This was one way to push that message and at the same time to thank our subscribers and community partners.” Hancock entered the ad in the contest’s inhouse promotions category. Promotions have become increasingly important in newspapers’ fight to demonstrate value in the face of online competition, he said. “There’s just much more promotion than there ever used to be because you’re trying to prove your relevancy,” he said. “It was a good time for that message to be out there, and I thought it needed to be put into the contest so a lot more eyes would see it.” While he developed that ad based on a piece in a trade newsletter, Hancock’s typical approach to ad design is more robust and collaborative. He encouraged other designers at newspapers of all sizes to use a team approach to developing ads that are the most effective. First, Hancock said designers should talk to their counterpart, the advertising representative at the newspaper, to understand the client’s objective. Then, do research on the client. Hancock said he attempts to build ads with a headline that draws a reader’s attention, since you only have a few seconds of a reader’s time before he or she jumps to the next ad.

At this most joyous time of the year we are thankful for you, our readers, our advertisers & our community partners.

The Gift of a Free Preprsesssis, and must

h and of the “The freedom of speec vernment. principle in every go l nta ever be, a fundame on would so w ho this right, and Repress the exercise of ngerous da d an st demoralizing corruptions of the mo litical po r ou of ery department character pervade ev of the d an h freedom of speec administration. It is by vices de the se at is wrong, expo press that we rectify wh blic pu r ou of t d bring the conduc of mercenary men, an d an ny public scruti servants to the test of inion.” op c publi 5, red November 26, 183 From a sermon delive & Society h urc Ch nal atio reg to the Cong by David Root, pastor

“You have to ask questions. You have to dig,” he said. “What’s the motivation for the ad? Who are they trying to reach and what are they trying to convey? That should always be your starting point. Once you confirm the message you’re trying to convey, then find out about the company’s image. You can get that from visiting the company’s website or talking to the rep for the company. With all that, then you formulate ideas.”

Arkansas Publisher Weekly 2

March 26, 2020

APA editorial contest awards deadline extended

Because of the uncertainty and changes in workflow related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Arkansas Press Association is extending the deadline for members to submit entries for the APA’s annual Better Newspaper Editorial Awards contest. The new deadline is Friday, July 31.

The contest is open to employees of APA member newspapers, and entries must have been published during the 2019 calendar year. Visit http://www.newspapercontest.com/ Contests/ArkansasPressAssociation. aspx to enter. Entries are accepted in five divisions: Daily circulation under 10,000; daily circulation over 10,000; nondaily circulation 1,300 or less; nondaily circulation 1,300 to 2,600 and nondaily circulation over 2,600. There are multiple categories for news stories, including sports humor and general interest; photography; layout and design and community coverage. Visit the website for a complete set of rules, or for more information, contact Terri Cobb at terri@arkansaspress. org or (501) 374-1500.

INDUSTRY QUOTE “I read about eight newspapers in a day. When I’m in a town with only one newspaper, I read it eight times.” —Will Rogers Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Newspaper organizations launch Coronavirus information website

America’s Newspapers and Editor & Publisher have joined forces to launch a website that aggregates important information about the coronavirus pandemic for journalists, editors and newspaper publishers. The site, mediaviruswatch.com, was created this week. According to the groups, the website “will gather from around the industry newsgathering and safety practices, coronavirus data, reporting and presentation innovations, customer service issues and resources for news publishers.” Mediaviruswatch.com will be the hub for webinars on COVID-19 topics important to the media, the site’s creators said.

The intent is to collect information from dozens of websites, newsletters and blogs that serve the newspaper industry. The site was built by Creative Circle Media Solutions. That company’s president and founder, Bill Ostendorf, was the featured speaker at the Arkansas Press Association’s annual Ad Conference earlier this month. “We were asked by America’s Newspapers and Editor & Publisher to get this done ASAP and managed to go live in about 48 hours. We were glad to be able to help the industry get a grip on how to better cope with this horrible pandemic and share solutions and ideas we all need,” Ostendorf was quoted as saying. “While the virus outbreak’s impact on revenue and work processes is a crisis for our industry, the potential to help our communities and showcase the essential role we play is an opportunity for publishers.”

Grants available to assist local news organizations with Covid-19 coverage

Organizations including the Facebook Journalism Project are offering grants to assist local news organizations in their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook, along with the Lenfest Institute and Local Media Association is providing $1 million in $5,000 grants to support news organizations in the United States and Canada. These grants are intended to fill in gaps in coronavirus coverage in newsrooms. The grants, according to information provided by the organizations, will cover unexpected costs related to 3

remote-working tools, coverage to combat misinformation and costs associated with serving vulnerable and at-risk communities. Visit lenfestinstitute.org for more information.

The Facebook Journalism Project and P o y n t e r ’ s International Fact-Checking Network are providing grants totaling $1 million to support fact-checkers. Those grants support multimedia production, work with health experts and other efforts to confirm COVID-19 facts. To learn more, visit facebook.com/ journalismproject. March 26, 2020

To help businesses stay connected as they plan for an increase in remote working, for a limited time, AT&T is offering a

Free 90-day offer of Webex Meetings with AT&T for new Webex customers.

* LMTD Time Offer; new Webex Cust only; offer agmt req’d; 1 URL site per 100 Host accts; VoC and Toll dial-In Audio Conf. only; Service discon. 30 days after offer exp. w/o 12-mo agmt. See full details below.

This offer includes:

Webex Meetings with AT&T is a global, cloud-based, highly secure

• Unlimited meetings with up to 200 participants in each meeting

web, audio, and video conferencing solution with content sharing

• Unlimited Toll Dial In + VoIP Audio

project collaboration for the critical operation of a business. With

• Custom “company.Webex.com” Webex offer site URL

HD video, large participant capacity, and audio, video, and web sharing,

• 10 GB cloud storage for recording

employees and customers can communicate and collaborate in

• Webex Teams unlimited messaging

near-real-time, as well as view and edit documents and share

• Video Conferencing features

applications to support the continuity of business operations.

• Full featured meetings, content sharing, screen share • Cisco Webex Control Hub administrative portal • Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory sync • Single Sign On • 24/7 Customer Support • One offer site URL, with up to 100 Named Users, per customer • 90 day duration To maintain service, beyond the 90-day offer period, Customer must convert to a 12-month paid subscription, within 30 days after the end of the offer expiration date.

* Offer from AT&T valid through 5/31/2020”

so you can have more productive meetings. It offers real-time

The service includes Webex Teams with AT&T, a team collaboration solution that includes video meetings, group messaging, file sharing, persistent chat, calling, and white boarding for continuous and more productive teamwork. For existing Webex Meetings with AT&T customers with Enterprise Agreement and Active User subscriptions • A 90-day grace for annual true forward calculations For existing Webex Meetings with AT&T customers with Named User subscriptions • The ability to expand license count by 20% for a 90-day period

To order a 90-day free offer of Webex Meetings with AT&T, contact your sales team, call 877-848-0700 (8am-5pm CST), or email: ACCWTrialAcct@list.att.com. © 2020 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. Subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. provide products and services under the AT&T brand.

-30Democrat-Gazette promotes two Kipling Anthony “Kip” Jackson

Hunter Field

Lisa Hammersly

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has named Lisa Hammersly as its projects team leader and Hunter Field as assistant city editor, the newspaper announced.

Kipling Anthony “Kip” Jackson of North Little Rock, died Monday, March 23. Jackson died from complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 48. Jackson worked in the IT department at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where he was employed from 1993 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2008. He was also employed by Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Windstream during his career. According to an obituary in the DemocratGazette, Jackson’s personality made him a great fit for his job in IT. “When people have computer problems, they tend to get frustrated really quick, and it was so nice to have somebody to just put them at ease, be their buddy, be their advocate and work through a problem until they got it resolved. Kip was always able to do that. He was just such a positive spirit. It was just a blessing to have him there,” said Clay Carson of the newspaper’s IT department in the article. Jackson was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. There is no memorial service planned at this time in order to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus. A service will be scheduled in coming months. Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Hammersly was previously a projects reporter for the Democrat-Gazette, and Field was reporter for the newspaper’s state Capitol bureau. According to the newspaper’s announcement, Hammersly is a native of Fort Smith who worked 25 years for the Charlotte Observer before starting at the Democrat-Gazette in 2011. She has journalism degrees from the University of Arkansas and Columbia University. She

replaces Sonny Albarado, who retired earlier this year. Field was a sports reporter at the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and a news reporter at the Jonesboro Sun before starting at the Democrat-Gazette in early 2016. “This newspaper has a reputation for great investigative and enterprise reporting, and Lisa will do a fantastic job leading this impressive team of journalists. … Hunter has proven himself to be a hard worker and valuable member of the newsroom,” Managing Editor Eliza Gaines was quoted as saying.

SBA disaster loans are now available The U.S. Small Business Administration has reminded Arkansas small businesses, including newspapers that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

To apply, visit disasterloan.sba.gov

To be eligible, businesses must have 500 employees or less and have been affected by the disaster. Loans may be used for working capital, which includes fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the impact of the disaster.

Applicants will be contacted by the SBA and monthly expenses and financial projections will be requested.


Businesses may receive a secured loan of up to $2 million or unsecured loan of up to $25,000.

To learn more about the Small Business Association’s resources regarding the health epidemic, visit sba.gov/coronavirus March 26, 2020

Tax credits to offset costs of providing paid leave The federal government announced this week its plans for aiding small and medium-sized businesses for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to employees.

employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.

According to the federal government: for an employee who is unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 18, requires businesses to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees with coronavirus-related absences. Employers may offset the cost of the leave using two new refundable payroll tax credits that will immediately and fully reimburse them for the costs of providing coronavirus-related leave to employees. All American businesses with fewer than 500 employees will be provided funds to give paid leave either for the employee’s own health needs or to take care of family members. The law requires employers to offer up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Employers will receive 100 percent reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the act, with no payroll tax liability. For employers with more than 50 employees, the Act also covers an expansion of paid child care leave when

by submitting a streamlined claim form. That form will be released next week.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from that provision in cases where the viability of a business is threatened. Businesses may retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes to cover the paid leave costs. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS

For an employee who is caring for someone with Coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period. More information for employers may be found at irs.gov/coronavirus

KEY CORONAVIRUS LINKS Here are a few key websites with beneficial information about COVID-19 for newspaper publishers, managers and journalists: Mediaviruswatch.com: Updates from across the country about media coverage, trends and essential information for the newspaper industry, sponsored by America’s Newspapers and Editor & Publisher nCoV2019.live: A real-time tracker of global coronavirus cases. This dashboard also measures state-by-state cases in real time uschamber.com/co/small-business-coronavirus: Strategies and resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce intended to help small businesses during the pandemic CDC.gov/coronavirus: The Centers for Disease Control’s resource page providing health recommendations and safety measures Americans should be implementing. Irs.gov/coronavirus: Information on tax measures and changes implemented due to the pandemic Dol.gov/coronavirus: The U.S. Department of Labor’s guidance on new wage, hour and leave requirements and unemployment insurance flexibility, among other resources Govstatus.egov.com/ar-covid-19: The state of Arkansas’s official website providing timely coronavirus data and information.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


March 26, 2020

Guest Column: Survey results project advertising bust, then rebound By Earl J. Wilkinson, International News Media Association (www.inma.org) News publishers expect double-digit declines in advertising through year’s end as a result of the coronavirus impact, according to an informal survey of International News Media Association member media companies late last week. Meanwhile, publishers are getting a handle on advertising categories impacted, trying to re-connect with advertisers, seeing challenges with sales reps, and eyeing revenue diversification. Twenty news publishers surveyed internationally last week by INMA expect a median of a: ●16% decline in advertising sales in the first quarter, with declines concentrated in March. ●30% decline in the second quarter. ●20% decline in the third quarter. ●15% decline in the fourth quarter. For all of 2020, surveyed publishers expect a median 23% advertising sales decline — factoring in the impact of COVID-19. Factoring in the COVID-19 effect, surveyed publishers expect a median 23% advertising sales decline. To be clear, publishers didn’t enter 2020 with great optimism for advertising. According to the informal INMA survey, the median advertising budget for the whole year was a 2% decline. The quarterly median budgets mostly stood true, too: 1% in the first quarter, -5% in the second quarter, -2% in the third quarter, and -2% in the fourth quarter. As for best guesses for 2021, the median answer was “too early to tell,” though an 8% decline was the median answer among nine publishers willing to venture a guess. By comparison, that’s about four times the decline from the 2020 median budget of a 2% decline. This roughly tracks on the low end of what we are anecdotally hearing from INMA members outside of this survey: 30% to Arkansas Publisher Weekly

55% advertising decline through June 30. So generally, expect a ferocious impact from shutdowns to impact the second quarter of 2020 with close to a return to normalcy by 2021. Budget impacts are what will matter in the days ahead Publishers are re-thinking their forecasts and adjusting their cost structures to the new reality. You can overlay those general expectations with specifics for each publisher: ●What percentage of revenue does a publisher garner from advertising? Publishers in South Asia, Latin America, and North America remain far more dependent on advertising in their revenue mix than publishers in Europe and Asia/ Pacific. Internationally in the INMA survey, the median reliance on advertising was 55%, but the range of reliance was between 33% and 90%. ●What is the COVID-19 impact on your core advertising base? An Italian publisher, for example, will experience a greater impact than, say, a Russian publisher (at least as of today). This is as much about government responses country to country than coronavirus impact. ●What types of advertising does a publisher rely on? All advertising will be impacted, but the heavier the reliance on local advertising, the bigger the repercussions. National advertising is seeing message changes because of the crisis, while local advertising is being zeroed out because of lockdowns. ●What percentage of advertising revenue comes from print vs. digital? Again, all advertising is impacted, but the heavier reliance on print, the bigger impact. What categories are getting negatively impacted worldwide? According to INMA survey respondents, 7

the most hit internationally are real estate, cars, events, retail, restaurants, travel, hospitality, tourism, jobs, and culture. Somewhat positively impacted are government and finance (due to increased public messaging), anything in-home, and e-commerce. One respondent pointed to the 3 Gs of positive impact: government, guns, and grocery. Yet INMA hears grocery stores are so overwhelmed by traffic that they’ve cut advertising altogether in some markets. We found some nuances in the responses that should be questioned on your end: Big-ticket items like real estate and cars will take longer to recover than, say, retail. INMA survey respondents internationally say these advertising sectors will be hit the hardest because of COVID-19: real estate, cars, events, retail, restaurants, travel, hospitality, tourism, jobs, and culture. One INMA member publisher explained their situation: “Advertising and inserts have already been cancelled. Functions, weddings, agricultural shows, expos, sporting fixtures are all suspended or cancelled and will not be generating advertising. Lack of goods to sell, people staying in, and not shopping locally, or doing out are impacting the local economy.” Another publisher suggested it’s too early for predictions, as publishers and markets are in chaotic states: “At this point trying to build business around a forecast is not the best approach. Especially as brands themselves are in a state of frenzy. No one can forecast, and those who say they can are not being honest. Instead, our focus is on maintaining effectiveness and a revenue stream. We are supporting clients in need, building new audience profiles, and advising our customer base on how best to use our channels at this unprecedented time. Perhaps as the weeks roll on, forecasting will be more Continued on Page 8

March 26, 2020

Survey results project advertising bust, then rebound Continued from Page 7

scientific. But today is not that day.” Perhaps that’s true. Consider this informal INMA survey a “first draft” of expectations for the year ahead. No doubt there will be many revisions as the COVID-19 story — and its ripple economic impact — unfolds in the weeks and months ahead. What are publishers doing specifically to keep or expand advertising contracts? The common themes in the responses were discounts, bundles, time extensions, and special packages. One publisher had a more concrete plan: “Bundle deals across digital. Small investments from restaurants to keep them going for delivery business. Focus on key categories with packages relevant to their requirements. In short, even more bespoke based on the industry needs.” What have publishers been surprised by in their advertisers’ reaction to the crisis? Mostly, everyone remains in a state of shock and they are in the process of formulating strategies and executing plans. There is a lot of innovation happening: restaurants reinventing themselves in takeout, curbside, and delivery wrappers. Livestreaming “in-person experiences” such as church services, mini-concerts, and more. On the negative side, some are simply withdrawing paid advertising and using Facebook while others are closing altogether. Some report a slowness among local retailers to embrace online shopping. One publisher nailed it in terms of messaging with advertisers: “How strong

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

our relationships are with clients actually and how many want to keep investing, not just for their business because they want us to keep in business and maintain our role in delivering factual information. It is a collective goal to get through this.” Tying back the advertiser relationship not only to ROI but to their support for real news in a crisis can be an importance nuance. The challenge with sales reps All publishers described a chaotic situation whereby all communications are moving virtual, everyone is working from home for the first time, and advertisers are reevaluating everything. Yet there seemed to be an underlying frustration with their sales forces. One publisher, talking about the re-deployment of reps to different categories, lamented that because sales reps are focused on commissions, they are spending more time on cancelled orders than hunting for new leaders. Still another was more blunt: “Sales reps are mainly young and greedy and lack customer empathy and an understanding of the virus implications to business and their ongoing employment.” Will your response be more about selling advertising or diversifying revenue streams? We were surprised that 60% said revenue diversification was more emphasised than intensifying advertising sales. But whether a revenue diversification idea requires a long runway or a short runway was not specifically asked, so the answers had a wide range. Many said digital subscriptions, for example, but if that means starting or accelerating then


that’s a one- to two-year ramp-up. Among the revenue diversification ideas that stood out in the survey were syndication, licensing, new products and services (i.e., insurance), digital/video, sponsored columns on home advice, online shopping lists for smaller players, directory listings for useful services, working with government on advertising, collectibles, podcasts, and events. Conclusions The INMA survey shows an advertising revenue forecast arc of collapse through the second quarter, the beginnings of recovery in the third and fourth quarters, and some semblance of normalcy in 2021. Yet let’s face it: Advertising was not an optimistic sector in the best of times. How this impacts each publisher depends on pre-existing business model reliance on advertising, local categories, and print. Obviously, it depends on the COVID-19 impact and each country’s degree of lockdown. Categories most hit are real estate, cars, events, retail, restaurants, travel, hospitality, tourism, jobs, and culture. Companies that spent the past decade diversifying away from advertising revenue and print and toward reader revenue and digital are less impacted than others in today’s crisis. Publishers that didn’t make those moves are rapidly considering fast tracks in these directions today. Earl J. Wilkinson is executive director and CEO of INMA. He may be reached at earl. wilkinson@inma.org or via Twitter at @ earljwilkinson. Visit www.inma.org

March 26, 2020

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: March 26, 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 26, 2020  

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