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APA Editorial Contest deadline approaches Guest Column:

Stop fake news by paying for the real thing by David Chavern


Ar kansas


Publisher Weekly

Vol. 14 | No. 14 | Thursday, April 4, 2019


Serving Press and State Since 1873

Voice’s Highfill recognized among E&P’s 25 under 35 The awards just keep coming for Stephanie Dodson Highfill of the Hot Springs Village Voice.

women selected, including Highfill, “believe in the power of journalism and they’re working to make sure it has a future.”

motivation and ambition. I’m very proud of Stephanie, she has accomplished so much in such a short period of time.”

Highfill, last year’s “Best of Show” winner at the Arkansas Press Association’s Better Newspaper Advertising Contest, was selected for a prestigious national honor in 2019. She’s one of the 25 young newspaper professionals nationwide honored on the Editor & Publisher “25 under 35” list.

Highfill is a self-taught graphic designer. She watched internet tutorials about Adobe software such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator to learn her craft. In learning design, she brought specific skills and added value to her role in advertising sales at the newspaper. Designing spec ads before she goes to see a client tends to lead to better sales results, she said.

Highfill has been with the Voice just over three years. It’s her first job in the newspaper industry, and she credits Robert Lane, the newspaper’s former production manager, for helping her as she started in the industry with “not one bit of design experience.”

Editor & Publisher, the newspaper industry’s trade magazine, selected 25 leaders who, according to the magazine, are “the next generation of newspaper leaders who want to keep the industry moving.” The magazine said that, while newspapers continue transforming, the 25 men and

“We are very blessed to have someone as talented as Stephanie on our team,” said Jennifer Allen, group publisher for GateHouse Media, which owns the Hot Springs Village Voice. “She has a positive, confident approach with advertisers that stems from her high degree of self-

Before working at the Voice, Highfill sold auto parts. As a multimedia sales executive at the newspaper, she helped the Voice last year achieve a 70 percent increase in digital growth from 2017 to 2018, according to the Editor & Publisher profile. In that article, Allen said Highfill is “a goContinued on Page 2

Gov. Hutchinson signs student journalist protections into law ceremonial bill signing of HB 1231. The bill, now Act 395, provides additional protections for student journalists at Arkansas’s public colleges and universities. Act 395 was sponsored by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, who is also pictured. Act 395 ensures that student journalists have a right to free expression and it strengthens protections for student media advisers.

Representatives of the newspaper industry and university journalism programs

from across Arkansas joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday, April 1, for a

Also in attendance for the ceremonial bill signing were other legislators, representatives of the Arkansas Press Association and Society of Professional Journalists, and faculty and students from Henderson State University, Arkansas Tech University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Voice’s Highfill recognized among E&P’s 25 under 35 Continued from Page 1

getter with innovative ideas; Stephanie has keen awareness of realities of context, mindfulness of connecting on a personal level with those she works with, and a standard of excellence at every turn. She does not hold back raising up creative ideas for problem-solving and moving projects forward.”

worth it; the real test of success is after the ‘yes’ and maintaining client renewals. Highfill’s honor isn’t the only recognition received by the Voice from the magazine. Last month, Editor & Publisher named the Voice as an honorable mention on its list of “10 Newspapers that Do it Right.” The newspaper was recognized for its extensive coverage related to the anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination. A magazine commemorating the anniversary sold more than 5,500 copies. The listed newspapers were honored for their “innovative revenue strategies, impactful journalism and creative audience growth.”

Editor & Publisher asked Highfill what advice she gives to other young professionals in the industry. Her response, according to the article: “Know your goals (and your pipeline) like the back of your hand. Rules were made to be broken, and ‘the way things have always been done’ doesn’t mean it’s the way things should be done today. Believe in your product, and collaborate with your team to create innovative products you can believe in. Get involved and find ways to give back to the community. Stay humble and honest. It is OK to admit lack of understanding when it comes to digital, but do ask for help.” Highfill’s profile appears in the April issue of Editor & Publisher. When asked how she gets a client to say yes, her answer

Stephanie Highfill

was this, according to the magazine: “It’s not something that happens overnight. I take an interest in each individual client’s business, learning as much as I can so I can make well-informed suggestions. This may include creative, ad copy, placement, etc. I pay attention to the details, and provide total transparency in the dealmaking process. I build the relationship on professionalism, trust and integrity, and maintain it after the ‘yes.’ The effort is

Highfill’s win in the 2018 APA contest was referenced in the Editor & Publisher report. She won “Best of Show” for the ad, “Life without Limits,” that features a runner wearing a prosthetic leg against a backdrop of a lake surrounded by mountains. The ad was for Felix Brace and Limb. Highfill started working for the Voice in October 2015. A graduate of Cabot High School, she attended Arkansas State University at Beebe. She and her husband, David, and family live in Lonsdale.

Researcher seeks APA Better Newspaper Editorial survey data Contest deadline approaches A media researcher looking into the methods and strategies used by newspapers in the emerging digital age is asking newspaper industry professionals to answer a short survey.

Journalists, photographers, copy editors and newspaper page designers have just two weeks to submit their best work from 2018 in the Arkansas Press Association Better Newspaper Editorial Contest.

Dr. Jason Steele has requested that Arkansas Press Association members answer a brief, four-minute survey about digital transformations. For example, one of the questions relates to the creation of a mobile app.

The contest entry deadline is April 19.

Steele works for the Cayman Compass in the Cayman Islands and is seeking an MBA. His master’s dissertation will be titled “Strategies for North American and Caribbean Small- to Medium-Sized Newspapers.” To complete the survey, visit https://www. surveymonkey.com/r/9LV9SZT Participants will receive survey data and will be eligible for a $100 Amazon gift card. Arkansas Publisher Weekly

The annual competition gives the APA an opportunity to highlight the best work of its member newspapers and offers bragging rights to winners in categories including news stories, sports, humor, general interest, photography, layout and design and community coverage. For a full list of categories and to enter the contest, visit www. newspapercontest.com/Contests/ ArkansasPressAssociation.aspx. 2

The Better Newspaper Editorial Contest is open to employees of APA member newspapers. Work published in an APA member newspaper from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2018 may be submitted. Entries will be judged by a panel of out-of-state journalists. Winners will be announced at an awards luncheon June 29 during the APA Annual Convention at the Hotel Hot Springs in Hot Springs. Entries will be accepted in five divisions: smaller weeklies, medium weeklies, larger weeklies, smaller dailies and larger dailies. Visit the website for more information, or contact Terri Cobb at (501) 374-1500 or terri@ arkansaspress.org. April 4, 2019

Industrial Quote of the Week “I was brought up in a publishing home, a newspaper man’s home, and was excited by that, I suppose. I saw that life at close range and, after the age of ten or twelve, never really considered any other.”

- Rupert Murdoch

Let’s Get Social Follow Us on Facebook & Twitter

@ArkansasPressAssociation @ARPressAssoc

Reminder: Arkansas Newspaper Foundation internships offered Arkansas Press Association member newspapers are encouraged to apply to host an intern through the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation’s 2019 summer internship program. The deadline for newspapers interested in participating in the program is April 19. The ANF funds half the cost of the paid internship for a student journalist at an Arkansas college or university, with the host newspaper providing a match. The program benefits both newspapers and participating students, giving the interns real-world experience. The $1,500 grant from the foundation and the match from the newspaper should provide for an internship of between six and 10 weeks. The intern’s schedule should fit the newspaper’s temporary employment criteria. Eligibility for interns includes recent high school graduates who provide proof of

college admission with their internship application.

About two dozen student journalists have been placed at APA newspapers in the last seven years. Host newspapers have included the Times Dispatch in Walnut Ridge, the Northwest Arkansas DemocratGazette, the Daily Record, Carroll County News, Nashville News-Leader, Harrison Daily Times, South Arkansas Sun, Sheridan Headlight, Russellville Courier, Texarkana Gazette, Pine Bluff Commercial and Yell County Record. Potential interns will submit an application that is forwarded to prospective newspaper employers for review and acceptance. Newspapers must complete applications to participate in the matching grant program by April 19. Contact the APA’s Terri Cobb at (501) 374-1500 or email terri@ arkansaspress.org for more information.

Mark Your Calendar 2019 APA Convention June 26-29, Hotel Hot Springs

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


April 4, 2019

Guest Column:

Stop fake news by paying for the real thing By David Chavern Facebook and Google have been brutal to the news business. But this primarily reflects a failure of imagination. The tech giants are the world’s best distribution platforms and could be an answer for journalism instead of a grave threat. As readers have shifted to digital sources, the two companies have taken a large majority of online advertising revenue. More important, the platforms now act as “regulators” of the news business — determining what information gets delivered to whom, and when. With the flick of an algorithmic finger, those two companies decide what news you see and whether a publisher lives or dies. The impact on journalism has been clear. We have seen over 1,000 planned layoffs at Gannett, BuzzFeed and HuffPost, and no one thinks we are anywhere near the end. Facebook and Google’s answer so far has been to pledge to spend $300 million each over the next three years to help journalism. But that money will be dribbled across a huge news landscape, and much of it will undoubtedly be used to encourage further use of Facebook and Google products. But such investments amount to charity, and charity will never be the answer. What news publishers really need are active partners who are willing to embrace the idea that quality journalism sustains our civic society and that the answer to bad information is more good information. We can start with the fact that “free” isn’t a good business model for quality journalism. Facebook and Google flatly refuse to pay for news even though they license many other types of content. Both companies have deals to pay music publishers when copyrighted songs play on their platforms. And the companies also aggressively bid to stream live sports and entertainment content to run on Facebook Watch and YouTube. These deals are varied and often secret, but none of them are based on “free.” Why are the platforms so unwilling

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

to pay news publishers for access to the quality journalism that users need and value?

of Media and Journalism found that more than 1,300 American communities have completely lost sources of local news.

There’s no reason those who produce the news shouldn’t enjoy the same intellectual property protections as songwriters and producers (regulators in Europe are looking at replicating some of these safeguards for journalism).

David Simon, a former newspaper journalist who became a TV writer, lamented the loss of local coverage and said in an interview with The Guardian: “Oh, to be a state or local official in America over the next 10 to 15 years, before somebody figures out the business model. To gambol freely across the wastelands of an American city, as a local politician! It’s got to be one of the great dreams in the history of American corruption.”

The tech giants are also run as “walled gardens” that minimize brands and separate publishers from their readers — even while hoarding information about those same readers. Imagine trying to build a trusted relationship with an audience when you can’t even know who they are. Publishers need new economic terms that include more revenue and more information about our readers. Any minor costs to these companies would pay huge dividends not only for our society but also for their credibility with Congress and policymakers around the world. Facebook and Google also need to be willing to acknowledge investments in quality journalism through their algorithms. They are constantly on the defensive about spreading false and misleading “news” that hurts people. They could start to address the problem by simply recognizing that The Miami Herald is a much better news source than Russian bots or Macedonian teenagers — and highlighting original, quality content accordingly. Recognizing and promoting publishers that have consistently delivered quality news content can’t be that difficult for sophisticated tech companies. And there are a range of qualified independent ratings organizations, such as NewsGuard, that could help them separate the wheat from the chaff. Whether they like to admit it or not, Facebook and Google are at real risk when it comes to the news business. Under the adage “You break it, you buy it,” the platforms now own what happens when quality journalism goes away. A study by the University of North Carolina’s School


Facebook and Google could address these risks by embracing responsibilities and becoming partners, rather than minor benefactors, for journalism. They need to come to the table with a real deal on revenue, data and algorithms. Jonah Peretti of BuzzFeed has talked about digital publishers merging to gain more negotiating leverage over the tech platforms on these issues. Legislation sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, would allow news publishers to collectively negotiate with the two companies without violating antitrust rules. Facebook and Google talk incessantly about how they are improving the world. Why not do something genuinely good for all of us and support journalism instead of destroying it? And it wouldn’t even have to be that hard. There is plenty of money and quality content to go around. All it would take is a little enlightened self-interest and a real commitment to the continued existence of quality news.

David Chavern is president and CEO of the News Media Alliance, a trade association representing some 2,000 news publishers in the United States and Canada. This column first appeared in the New York Times. Follow him on Twitter: @NewsCEO.

April 4, 2019

92nd Arkansas General Assembly

Legislative Report

APA is monitoring the following filed bills of interest to our industry and the public: Bill No. / Author

Short Description

APA Position

Current Status

HB 1003 Rep. Gazaway

An act to add anti-bullying measures at schools, to allow school boards to meet in executive sessions for bullying investigations


Awaits initial hearing in House Education Committee

HB 1015 Rep. Mayberry

Requires journalism to be offered as an elective course in public high school


Failed in House Education Committee

HB 1041 Reps. Ladyman, Eads

Raises the threshold for municipalities to competitively bid projects from $20,000 to $50,000, thus abolishing public notice requirements for municipal expenses between $20,000 and $50,000


Passed the House; signed out of Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee; awaits Senate vote

HB 1382 Rep. Sorvillo

Exempts lottery winners’ identities from the Freedom of Information Act


Passed House; awaits hearing in Senate State Agencies Committee

HB 1404 Rep. Speaks

Allows for publication of a school district’s budget in a newspaper published in or with a bona fide circulation in the county or counties where the school district is located


Passed House and Senate Education Committee; advances to Senate

HB 1417 Rep. Gray

Establishes a Freedom of Information Act exemption for the identities of confidential informants


Passed House and Senate State Agencies Committee; advances to Senate

HB 1432 Rep. Mayberry

Protects rights of high school student journalists and adds protections for student media advisors


Passed House and Senate

HB 1440 Rep. Ferguson

Establishes the Maternal Mortality Review Committee and exempts the committee from the Freedom of Information Act


Passed House; advances to Senate

HB 1441 Rep. Bentley

Establishes the Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes Quality Review Committee and exempts the committee from the Freedom of Information Act


Passed House; advances to Senate

HB 1499 Rep. Maddox

Changes public notice requirements for statutory foreclosures


Placed on deferred list in Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee

HB 1500 Rep. Gazaway

Exempts cybersecurity threat assessments from disclosure under FOIA


Signed by governor as Act 599

HB 1551 Rep. Eubanks

Prohibits schools under the Freedom of Information Act from disclosing records of the arrest or detention of a student


Signed by governor as Act 647

HB 1557 Rep. House

Establishes a FOIA exemptions for security plans and assessments of medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities and labs


Passed House; awaits hearing in Senate Agriculture Forestry and Economic Development Committee

HB 1630 Rep. Lundstrum

Gives active and retired law enforcement officers the ability to keep personal contact information and tax records secret under FOIA


Passed House, awaits hearing in Senate State Agencies Committee

HB 1702 Rep. Speakes

Permits a school district to publish notice of bond sales in a newspaper published in or with a bona fide circulation in the county or counties where the school district is located


Passed House; awaits full Senate vote

HB 1766 Rep. Collins

Increases the threshold amount for municipal sewer commission requirements for bidding from $20,000 to $35000 (companion bill SB516 in Senate is sponsored by Sen. Bond)


Awaits initial hearing in House City, County and Local Affairs Committee

HB 1896 Rep. Mickey Gates

Changes public notice requirements for establishment of a municipal improvement district to require notice in a newspaper and on a website


Passed House; awaits full Senate vote

HB 1904 Rep. Della Rose

Calls for a study on the adequacy of public notice and public participation procedures for environmental permits


Passed House; awaits initial hearing in Senate Public Health Welfare and Labor Committee

HB 1928 Rep. V. Flowers

Amends FOIA to require that all public meetings be audio recorded


Passed House; awaits initial hearing in Senate State Agencies Committee

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


April 4, 2019

92nd Arkansas General Assembly

Legislative Report

APA is monitoring the following filed bills of interest to our industry and the public: Bill No. / Author

Short Description

APA Position

Current Status

SB 3 Sen. Garner

Requires reporting from physicians and healthcare facilities requiring detailed information about abortion procedure complications and exempts the required report from the Freedom of Information Act.


Signed by governor as Act 620

SB 230 Sen. Hammer

Creates a new civil action for invasion of privacy and allows a lawsuit against someone for intruding into private affairs or publicizing an individual in a false light


Failed to advance in Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 231 Sen. Hammer

Expands the definition of “public records” in the Freedom of Information Act to include records of a private entity that spends a minimum of 20% of its time, resources and efforts supporting a government function


Failed to advance in Senate State Agencies Committee

SB 277 Sen. Hill, Rep. Cameron Cooper

Removes public notice requirement for internet sale of certain surplus county property


Passed House and Senate

SB 306 Sen. Teague

Allows the winner of a Powerball or Mega Millions drawing to make his or her records with the Arkansas Lottery Commission confidential under the Freedom of Information Act


Passed Senate; awaits initial hearing in House Rules Committee

SB 409 Sen. Flippo

Allows public entities to publish notice to receive bids on a website rather than in a newspaper


Passed Senate State Agencies Committee; advances to Senate

SB 411 Sen. Stubblefield

Exempts from disclosure any investigations or reports related to whether a municipality is a sanctuary city; prohibits sanctuary city policies


Passed Senate City County and Local Affairs Committee; advances to full Senate

SB 441 Sen. Bledsoe

Requests certain medical marijuana advertising


Passed House and Senate

SB 464 Sen. Hester

Exempts from disclosure under FOIA almost all information regarding lethal injection procedures; makes “reckless” release of information a Class D felony


Passed Senate and House

SB 521 Sen. Hammer

Expands the definition of public records in the Freedom of Information Act; protects identity of donors to private foundations


Awaits initial hearing in Senate State Agencies Committee

SB 550 Sen. Stubblefield

Changes notice requirements for liquid livestock waste permits


Passed Senate; moved to interim study

SB 560 Sen. Blake Johnson

Creates a Tax Appeals Commission but allows the commission to meet in closed session in some circumstances


Passed Senate; awaits hearing in House Revenue and Tax Committee

SB 681 Sen. Elliott

Requires charter schools and private schools htat receive state funding to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act


Awaits initial hearing in Senate Education Committee

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


April 4, 2019

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: April 4, 2019  

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

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: April 4, 2019  

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