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Tear gas discovered in safe in Fayetteville newspaper office

Guest Column:

A little more, a little less for sales meetings By John Foust

Ar k ansas



Publisher Weekly


Vol. 14 | No. 28 | Thursday, July 11, 2019

Serving Press and State Since 1873

New APA president seeks a more engaged membership The Bland family has been in the newspaper business in Lawrence County for nearly a century, and for just as long the family has contributed to the success of the Arkansas Press Association. Now, as John Bland assumes his role as president of the APA, the publisher of The Times Dispatch in Walnut Ridge wants to improve engagement and accessibility for

John Bland

the organization. Bland was installed as the 2019-2020 APA president at the association’s annual convention last month in Hot Springs. The third-generation newspaper publisher follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, James L. Bland Sr., who was APA president in 1938. In an interview this week, the new association president said it’s important for the APA to offer alternative ways for members to remain involved, especially as the newspaper industry is undergoing a period of rapid change. “I think my goals are a reflection of the APA board,” he said. “We’ve talked about how we have to get a higher percentage of our member newspapers involved in APA. We do realize a lot of newspapers either cannot afford to come to the convention, much less send their staff, and we’ve talked about hosting one-day seminars or video conferences. They’re something

that would fit in with the reality of our newspaper staffs, which are strained and strapped for time.” Bland and APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley said the association is planning to offer several workshops on pertinent reporting, advertising and circulation issues in the coming weeks. The events will be held at the newly renovated APA headquarters in Little Rock, but may also be live-streamed for participating members. More details are to come later this summer on these events, Wimberley said. Bland noted that one of the essential benefits of APA membership – one that’s often unsaid – is the opportunity for newspaper leaders to network with others from around the state. “I think we have an opportunity to grow if we band together and share our ideas, and together we can figure out ways to adapt to this digital age,” he said, emphasizing Continued on Page 2

West Memphis newspaper launches podcast

Readers of The Evening Times in West Memphis now have a supplemental way to learn about local news and goingson, all from their smartphones. The newspaper has launched a new podcast which highlights items of local interest and other topics.

said Ralph Hardin, editor of The Evening Times and one of the hosts of the podcast. “Newspapers are trying to adapt to the internet/smart phone/social media world and this was a low-cost, easy-to-produce product that we will hopefully use to grow interest in what we are doing.”

“It’s just something we felt like we could do to create another avenue for getting information to the local community, especially those who might not be interested in reading a regular newspaper,”

The podcast, called “Circling the Drain,” is named based on the fact that everyone, despite their age, race, political views or differences is “in this together, circling the drain on our way to the end,” Hardin said.

The hosts discuss current events, local community activities and some topics with a wider appeal. So far on the podcast, which started in the spring, guests have included the West Memphis Police Department spokesman and a local school district superintendent. The podcast is available online at theeveningtimes.com/podcasts and can also be accessed through Facebook, Google Play, and Apple Podcasts.

New APA president seeks a more engaged membership Continued from Page 1

the importance of APA events in making those connections.

Bland began working full-time at his

“It goes without saying, but this is our chance to network, to share ideas and ask questions as to what’s working in (each) market,” Bland added. “That’s probably one of the greatest benefits to membership, because if someone else has tried something, you can save some steps by listening to their experience rather than starting from scratch.”

His family has had an ownership stake in the newspaper since 1921. Bland credits the success of the newspaper to its special niche within the community. “We’ve always concentrated on putting out a quality product and to offer our readers something they can’t get anywhere else,” Bland said. “We put our focus on that over anything else and that’s helped us stay strong.”

Bland said he personally benefits from the networking opportunities and camaraderie at annual conventions, which he has been attending for most of his adult life. He joined the APA board because “it was my time to serve,” he said. The traditional passing-of-thegavel ceremony at the convention was a distinct moment. “It was special to be a part of the passing of the gavel, to see so John Bland with his wife Renee many past presidents who still come back for that and for the convention, many of whom are retired,” family’s newspaper after graduating he said. “We’ve known so many wonderful from the University of Arkansas with a people over the years.” journalism degree. He became editor of

—30— Melba Reed

Melba Jean McCormick Reed, of the Story community in Montgomery County, died Saturday, June 29. She was 86. Reed, known as Miss Melba to the staff of the Montgomery County News, was Arkansas Publisher Weekly

The Times Dispatch in 1986 and publisher a few years later.

a longtime contributor to the Mount Ida newspaper where she authored the “Story News” column. She was also a contributor to the Yell County Record in Danville. According to the Mount Ida newspaper, she submitted handwritten columns for publication. Her faith shone through her columns, and the newspaper said her weekly dispatches from Story included birthdays, anniversaries and “prayer requests which (were) so up to date that it often required last-minute updates on press day.” Reed is survived by two daughters, Glenda Rusert of Pearcy and Karen Reitmann of Bentonville; four grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, John Reed. Funeral services were July 2. The family requests that memorials be made to the Reed Cemetery Fund, in care of Johnny Smith, 125 Smith Creek Lane, Story, Arkansas, 71970. 2

He noted that The Times Dispatch, like other newspapers, must “look for ways to increase revenue and cut costs every day.” The newspaper recently started a quarterly magazine that has been popular in the community with both advertisers and subscribers. And, like many APA member newspapers, a talented and capable staff is the newspaper’s top asset. Bland and his wife, Renee, have one daughter, Anna. She is enrolled in a doctoral program in occupational therapy at Arkansas State University.

Industry Quote of the Week “The press is the living jury of the nation.” -James Gordon Bennett

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July 11, 2019


Longtime Harrison newspaper staffer Hazel Ashcraft Jump retires Hazel Irene Kingsbury Ashcraft Jump, 90, of Jonesboro, died Sunday, June 23.

A Vermont native, Mrs. Jump started her decades-long journalism career in Burlington, Vermont at the Burlington Daily News before later working for Arkansas Baptist magazine in Little Rock and the Martinsville Daily Times in Martinsville, Indiana. After moving with her family to Marked Tree, Arkansas, she was coowner of the Marked Tree Publishing Co., publishing the Marked Tree Tribune and the Lepanto News Record for 18 years. After relocation to Jonesboro, she joined the staff of the Jonesboro Sun, where she wrote many feature stories and articles, including a story on the Westside School Shootings that was entered for a Pulitzer prize award in journalism. After her retirement from The Sun, she wrote feature stories for the Jonesboro Occasions magazine.

She diligently typed dictated columns for former newspaper owner J.E. Dunlap, she said. His motto, according to Cone, was that “If you don’t do it right the first time, when are you going to find time to do it again?” As lifestyles editor, Cone published news, school menus, births, school events, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, community events, Newspapers in Education photos and correspondence. She wrote feature articles for the newspaper’s weekend People section.

Yvonne Cone

An employee of the Harrison Daily Times whose career spanned nearly four decades has retired from the newspaper. Yvonne Cone, the newspaper’s lifestyles editor, worked her last day on June 18. She started in 1973 as a proofreader and typist. According to the Times, Cone was one of three proofreaders at that time. As Cone describes it, the typists typed on a “compugraphic machine” that would print out a roll of computer tape that was then inserted into another computer to be read.

The Ozark Journal in Imboden shuts down

“When I joined the Harrison Daily Times in 2001, Yvonne was already an integral part of the newsroom. … She shined (as lifestyle editor) and we will miss her kind spirit and dedication to providing the best in community news to our readers,” said Times Managing Editor Lynn Blevins in the newspaper’s announcement of Cone’s retirement. Cone graduated from Jasper High School and is married to Wayne Cone. They have three children and nine grandchildren.

Buying or Selling?

The Ozark Journal, which had been published since 1915, printed its last edition recently. According to newspaper publisher Bob Glass, attempts to sell the newspaper over the past several years had been unsuccessful. The publisher said in an article in the newspaper’s final edition that “the owners have now found it to be no longer feasible to continue the newspaper due to increases associated with printing, mailing and other related expenses, along with declining advertising revenue.”

I can help you with a new purchase or the sale of your publication.

LEWIS FLOYD Senior Associate

The weekly newspaper from Imboden, in Lawrence County, had a circulation of about 900. Glass said he will continue to operate the business’s print shop, Ozark Printing.

(850) 532-9466 lfloyd@mediamergers.com

Subscribers will be mailed refund checks in the coming days, he said. In a statement in the paper, the owners, who have had the business since 1987, expressed their thanks to readers, correspondents and advertisers. “Many friendships have also been developed through the business over 32-and-a-half years, each one of which has been and will remain cherished.” Arkansas Publisher Weekly


July 11, 2019

Tear gas discovered in safe in Fayetteville newspaper office When a locksmith arrived earlier this week to reset the combination to a 200-year-old safe at the Northwest Arkansas DemocratGazette office in Fayetteville, what he found inside should have made him cry.

to do, too, in banks to keep a safe from being broken into.” Newspaper employees said the safe has never been moved from the room in which

it was located, which was constructed as a nuclear fallout shelter in the 1960s. The newspaper is converting the room into a storm shelter.

According to the newspaper, the locksmith discovered that the safe was boobytrapped with a metal tear gas container that was set to release the tear gas in the event someone ever broke the lock to the safe. Fortunately, the container was safely removed by local police and it will be destroyed, the newspaper reported. “It hadn’t been opened in years and the combination long forgotten,” said Rusty Turner, editor of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “It had just been sitting … for a long time. We don’t really know where it came from.” The newspaper’s report quoted the locksmith, Chris Upton of C&E Lock & Safe, as saying “back before booby trapping was illegal, that’s what they used

A canister of tear gas was discovered in a safe at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Fayetteville this week.

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July 11, 2019

Guest Column:

A little more, a little less for sales meetings By John Foust

Kristen told me how she handles one of the biggest challenges of managing her newspaper’s sales department. “Sales meetings – like a lot of other things – fall into predictable patterns,” she said. “The boss talks, the staff members listen, and more often than not, it’s just a transference of information. No one feels motivated to do anything different after the meeting is over.

gives us a specific focus, which is better than a vague statement like, ‘Increase sales’ or “Provide better customer service.” It allows us to concentrate our attention on that one thing, without running down rabbit trails. My job is to state the topic as clearly as possible and make sure everyone stays on track. I write the topic in big letters on a flip chart, tear off the sheet and post it on the wall.”

“I learned a technique a few years ago that gets everyone involved. First, I introduce a topic that calls for specific solutions, then the group answers a set of questions to generate ideas. My role is to be a facilitator and let them do most of the talking. Usually, everyone arrives at the right solutions, but since the ideas are theirs, not mine, there’s more buy-in.

Step 2: “After we agree on the statement of the topic – which is usually a problem that needs to be solved or a goal that needs to be reached – I write DO MORE on the next sheet of the flip chart and we list things we need to do more of, in order to make progress.

Although there are a lot of meeting formats, this has become one of Kristen’s favorites. Let’s take a look at how it works:

“We list all the ideas and check the ones that are most workable. That leads to a discussion of what is involved in implementing each one. Through it all, the group does most of the talking.”

Step 1: “First, I introduce a topic,” she explained. “It could be something like, ‘Increase digital sales in the holiday season by 10 percent over last year.’ That

Step 3: “Talking about ‘more’ isn’t enough. There are always some activities we can cut, so I write DO LESS on the flip chart and we follow the same procedure.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


Sometimes subtraction is just as important as addition.” Step 4: “With all the talk about more and less, we don’t want to lose track of the things that don’t need to be changed. The next sheet is labeled KEEP DOING, so we can examine – and evaluate the value of – activities that are doing what they are supposed to do.” Step 5: “After we go through this process, an action plan becomes obvious. That’s the last sheet. When the meeting is over, we look around the room and see the entire process posted on the wall, ending with a to-do list that we developed as a team. That’s a lot better than having everyone sit around the conference table and listen to a lecture.” 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

July 11, 2019

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: July 11, 2019  

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

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: July 11, 2019  

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