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Arkansas radio group purchases Stuttgart Daily Leader Reminder: Statement of Ownership due October 1


Ar k ansas

Publisher Weekly


Vol. 14 | No. 38 | Thursday, September 19, 2019

Serving Press and State Since 1873

Registration open for annual ArkLaMiss conference Registration for ArkLaMiss Circulation, Marketing and Audience Development Conference is now open. The annual conference, intended to help newspaper leaders grow readership and revenue, will be Nov. 7-8 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The featured speaker is Gwen Vargo, director of reader revenue for the American Press Institute. Vargo will present in two sessions about how to understand types of readers and how to encourage them to subscribe. The event also includes a roundtable for newspaper publishers as well as the always-popular Hot Ideas Exchange moderated by Dennis Dunn, vice president of operations for the Anniston Star in Anniston, Alabama. The conference is at the Ameristar Hotel and Casino in Vicksburg. To reserve a room at the ArkLaMiss’s special $74 room rate, call (601) 638-1000 and mention

code “SPAPER9.” The deadline to make a room reservation at the conference rate is Oct. 24. Arkansas Press Association members may register for the conference by visiting https:// www.arkansaspress.org/events/ EventDetails.aspx?id=1274648. Conference materials can be found starting on page seven of this publication. The Arkansas Newspaper Foundation will again offer four continuing education grants of $200 each for individuals from APA member newspapers to defray the costs of hotel and conference registration. Only one grant per media group will be awarded with priority going to first-time conference attendees. To apply for a grant, contact terri@arkansaspress.org.

FOIA training seminar held today at APA headquarters

John Tull of the Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull law firm in Little Rock, a two-time winner of the APA’s Freedom of Information Award and expert on Arkansas FOIA, offered seminar attendees practical tips and suggestions on access to public records and public meetings under FOIA.

(left to right) Debra Hale-Shelton, an award-winning reporter formerly with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Chris Wessel, editor of the Jonesboro Sun and APA FOIA Award recipient, and Sarah Perry, reporter for The Saline Courier in Benton and this year’s winner of the APA’s I.F. Stone Award for investigative journalism, shared how they use FOIA for investigative reporting and for holding public officials accountable.

Studies affirm strength of community newspapers A national reader survey and an analysis of local news across the United States both reflect the far-reaching impact of community newspapers and the benefit newspapers provide to readers.

Researchers with the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Public Policy at Duke University found that newspapers are far and away the primary source of original, local reporting. Meanwhile, an annual survey conducted by the National Newspaper Association found that nearly nine in 10 newspaper readers are likely voters. Those surveyed identified newspapers as the most trusted source for information about political candidates.

being produced for local communities. While radio stations were the most common type of local media outlet in the study, radio had the least original, local and critical reporting. Online-only news outlets successfully communicated critical information, according to researchers, but were not as significant a source of local information. The Duke researchers said no outlets “have yet to come close to matching local newspapers as significant sources of reporting that is original, local and addresses critical information needs.”

The findings come as no surprise to some observers in Arkansas, citing the community connections and common interests that many Arkansas Press Association member publishers have with their subscribers. “Speaking as an academic, and as someone who spent roughly 25 years at local newspapers, I know firsthand that people who produce local newspapers care passionately about their communities,” said Sonny Rhodes, a journalism professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “They know their Source NationalNewspaperWeek.com readers – they see them at church, school and other community gatherings The researchers continued, “These findings – and they know that a well-informed support the continued importance of public community is a better community. In short, policy and philanthropic efforts to support their hearts are in their communities, so it’s the viability of local newspapers.” no surprise they would want to serve their communities by providing news coverage John Bland, APA president and publisher of The Times Dispatch in Walnut Ridge said that is as comprehensive as possible.” local newspapers gain credibility through The Duke University study evaluated active involvement within the community, news content distributed in four mediums: and the research bears that out. He and newspapers, radio stations, television other publishers and editors are known in stations and online-only outlets. Among their communities, which fosters trust and more than 16,000 reports nationwide, reader loyalty. researchers determined whether the article was local news and whether it addressed a “I still think a lot of Arkansas community newspapers are still trusted, and that’s critical need. good news,” Bland said. “I get that kind Researchers determined that local of feedback from our readers. When you newspapers were responsible for about 50 interact with (the community), go to club percent of all original reporting identified meetings like Kiwanis or Rotary, you’re and newspapers generated about 60 involved. You hear what people say, and percent of all local news. Accordingly, about you know what’s going on by the fact that 60 percent of articles that were original, you’re a part of it.” local and addressed a critical information NNA survey, conducted by need came directly from local newspapers. The Susquehanna Polling and Research, The researchers observed: “Overall, these indicates that 85 percent of community findings suggest that newspapers are the newspaper readers say they are “very likely” most important producers of local news in to vote in the 2020 elections. Newspapers terms of the volume of journalistic output are trusted more than national news, social Arkansas Publisher Weekly


media and direct mail to convey trustworthy information about candidates running for public office. According to an article about the survey, the vice president of the NNA, Matt Adelman of Wyoming, noted that the survey shows “Facebook and even direct mail have far less impact and readership than the political consultants insist, especially on the trustworthy scale …” Community newspapers remain the “leading source for shopping decisions and advertising content,” according to the report. More than 79 percent of respondents said newspapers provide important information about local shopping. In addition, newspaper readers and nonreaders alike ranked highly the importance of public awareness about local government public notice information. On a 1-10 scale with 10 representing the most importance, newspaper readers ranked public notices as 8.23 and nonreaders were at 7.88. Citing the finding on public notices, Bland said Arkansas newspapers should focus on improving delivery of public notices. “These stories made note of the fact that (public notices) are newsworthy,” Bland said. “We need to make legal notices more reader-friendly.” APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley said the Arkansas Legislature has incrementally moved toward reducing or eliminating public notices in newspapers, so research like this and work by APA members to emphasize their importance to readers is extremely beneficial. Wimberley and the APA have established a working group to evaluate public notice delivery, and she encouraged members to contact her or Bland with any suggestions or recommendations. Meanwhile, Wells pointed out an omission in both recent studies – the “gorilla in the room” about how to continue to fund quality, critical journalism. Declining advertising and subscriber revenues are forcing dramatic changes in newspapers across the country, he said. “It seems like these studies don’t address the central question in the media universe: How are you going to pay for it,” Wells added.

September 19, 2019

Arkansas radio group purchases Stuttgart Daily Leader An Arkansas radio network announced earlier this week it has purchased the Stuttgart Daily Leader from GateHouse Media. GateHouse had previously published its final edition of the newspaper on Sept. 5 and closed both it and the Helena-West Helena World. The Helena newspaper was purchased from GateHouse by a Phillips County ownership group. The Stuttgart purchase was made by Arkansas County Broadcasters, Inc., which operates six radio stations in the

region. The group is a subsidiary of East Arkansas Broadcasters, a family-owned media company that is the largest radio group in the state.

The new owners have not yet announced whether or when they will resume a print edition of the Daily Leader, which was first published in Stuttgart in 1885. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“Our company is excited to purchase the Stuttgart Daily Leader,” said Scott Siler, EAB’s chief operating officer. “We feel like adding the Daily Leader to our group of six radio stations in South Central Arkansas will be a great outlet to help us continue to provide great local news and information to the area. We will be making plans over the next several weeks to bring the paper back in some fashion as soon as possible.”

Industry Quote of the Week

Buying or Selling?

“I read about eight newspapers in a day. When I’m in a town with only one newspaper, I read it eight times”

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

-Will Rogers

LEWIS FLOYD Senior Associate

Let’s Get Social

(850) 532-9466 lfloyd@mediamergers.com

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter


Arkansas Publisher Weekly



September 19, 2019

Some Paxton newspapers relocate offices

Offices for three newspapers recently acquired by Paxton Media Group, The Sun-Times in Heber Springs, the Van Buren County Democrat in Clinton and the Independent in Newport, have been relocated. The moves will not affect publishing cycles for any of the newspapers. According to an article in the Independent, all functions of that newspaper will now be handled by employees of the Independent’s sister newspaper, the Jonesboro Sun. All telephone calls, mail and email will be forwarded to The Sun. For Heber Springs, news, delivery or advertising questions should be directed to The Daily Citizen in Searcy. Emails with questions or submissions related to news should be sent to Bruce Guthrie, editor of the Batesville Daily Guard, at news@ guardonline.com and advertising emails should go to tharvey@thedailycitizen. com. Van Buren County Democrat classified and legal advertising will be handled by the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, while display advertising will be placed through the Russellville Courier. Calls made to the Clinton phone number will be forwarded to the offices of the Log Cabin Democrat,. Editor Alex Kienlen may be reached at editor@vanburencountydem.com.

mark your calendar March 12 & 13, 2020 APA Advertising Conference Winthrop Rockefeller Institute Petit Jean Mountain

Reminder: Statement of Ownership due October 1 Arkansas Press Association member newspapers who send Periodicals Class Mail are reminded the deadline to file a Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation (PS Form 3526) is Oct. 1. Upon filing the ownership statement with the local postmaster, publication owners are required to publish the statement according to the following timetable, depending on the frequency of publication: •Publications issued more frequently than weekly must publish no later than Oct. 10. This applies to dailies, semiweeklies, and

•Publications issued weekly or less frequently, but not less than monthly, must publish the statement by Oct. 31. This includes weekly newspapers. •All other publications such as quarterlies must publish in the first issue after Oct. 1. Owners may include paid digital subscriptions as circulation in postal statements. A paid subscriber, whether digital or print, may only be counted once. Form 3526 serves as the method for the U.S. Postal Service to establish whether a publication meets standards for the periodicals mailing rates. The form is available at https://about.usps.com/forms/ ps3526.pdf

Arkansas Press Women Mini Fall Conference set for October 12

Arkansas Press Women’s Mini Fall Conference is coming up on Saturday, Oct. 12. The conference will be at the Arkansas Press Association, 411 S. Victory St., in Little Rock The agenda includes a “crash course” in data journalism presented by Rob Wells, a journalism professor at the University of Arkansas.

The session also features Holly Fish, a marketing and business growth specialist

who specializes in networking and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Maggie McNeary, who will discuss SPJ’s mentoring program and support of young journalists. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is $20 for APW members and $25 for nonmembers. Lunch is included in the registration costs. To register, visit tinyurl.com/apwmini19.

Reporter joins Carroll County News Carroll County Newspapers has named Haley Schichtl as the newest reporter for the Carroll County News and its midweek edition. Schichtl is a recent journalism graduate of the University of Haley Schichtl Central Arkansas. She honed her reporting, writing, photography and editing skills while

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

three-times-per-week publications.


working for two years for the UCA yearbook, The Scroll. She previously served as an intern with The Idle Class, a Little Rock-based magazine about art, literature, music and theater. “We’re glad to have Haley on board,” said Scott Loftis, managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. “She impressed us during the hiring process and everyone we spoke to about her had wonderful things to say. I’m confident she will be a big asset for us.” Schichtl will focus on city government and education in Berryville and Green Forest as well as general assignment features. September 19, 2019

Guest Column:

Newspapers Get Serious By Kevin Slimp Kevin Slimp is chief executive officer of newspaperacademy.com and director of The Newspaper Institute. He is a favorite speaker and trainer in the publishing world, and can be reached at kevin@kevinslimp.com.

Like many of you reading this column, I’ve been in the newspaper business a long time. I began delivering daily papers for the Johnson City (Tennessee) PressChronicle when I was 8. It’s amazing my parents allowed me to deliver papers after my brother, who was twelve-year-old at the time, was killed while walking home from his paper route six years earlier. So, when I say newspapers are in my blood, I mean that literally. For more than 25 years, I’ve worked as a consultant with thousands of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. In that time, I’ve seen a lot of changes, and not just in the areas of technology and production. Some of the changes have been exciting. Working on the development of the PDF printing method in the ‘90s has been one of the highlights of my career thus far. Traveling to major universities and professional groups to discuss the upcoming digital revolution in the late ‘90s and early 2000s was another interesting time. Being invited to address groups including the National Economic Association, the National Press Club, and others about the effects of various elements on the newspaper industry, as well as the effects of the newspaper industry on society in general, has been a highlight of my career to date. An issue that has concerned me over the past ten or so years has been the lack of unbiased leadership in our industry to keep us on track in accomplishing our core duties, while steering us away from negative influences that could be detrimental to our industry’s future. Whether out of a fear of upsetting powerful players in the industry or just being too quick to take bad advice, we’ve taken more than a few wrong turns over the past ten or so years. That’s why I’m so excited about

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

some of the work I, as well as others, will be involved in over the coming months. My schedule this fall is probably the busiest of my career. A quick glance tells me I’ll be in just about every corner of the United States, as well as a lot of states in-between, to work with groups who are serious about helping newspapers take steps toward a brighter future. Let me share a little about a couple of these efforts. The North Dakota Newspaper Association Foundation is hosting a gathering in Bismarck in October to gain a better understanding of how newspapers can play a more vital role in the lives of potential readers in their mid 20s to late 30s. On the Foundation’s “dime,” dozens of millennials from throughout North Dakota will descend on Bismarck, spend an evening together, then spend the following day in focus groups, which I will lead, all in an effort to learn what we can do to better meet the needs and interests of persons in this age group. On Dec. 6, I will be in Fort Worth, Texas, at the invitation of the Texas Center for Community Journalism, to meet with publishers to discuss digital journalism. There is no ulterior motive. No one has anything to sell. The goal is simply to spend a day together studying what is working, what isn’t working, what should be left behind, and where community newspapers should be considering as we face the short- and long-term future. I’ve noted with great interest the work Al Cross is doing at The University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. The work being done by the Institute to deal with the issues of newspaper ownership and creation of new community newspapers could bear significant fruit. A very successful young business owner


stopped by to see me at my office last night around ten o’clock. Yes, it was a late day for both of us. He is the owner of a very successful company with several offices around the world. His company is a leader in its industry and I’ve been quite impressed as I’ve watched this group of young executives dominate their market so quickly. What the young owner said to me took me by surprise. “You know,” he began, “you’ve got what we all want.” I wasn’t quite sure where he was going, so I asked. He continued, “We have grown like crazy, we have employees around the world, and we’re making a lot of money.” I was still lost. It sounded to me like he had what most people want already. That’s when he landed the punch. “You do important work,” he told me, “and you love what you do.” After a pause, he continued, “I would trade with you in a heartbeat.” I could have shared some of the difficulties of my work with him, but instead let his words sink in. “Well,” I told him, I’d trade my age for yours, so how about we trade jobs and I get to be 28 and you be my age?” We both laughed. Let me leave you with this thought: We do important work...vital work. Don’t let anyone fool you or lead you to think we don’t. I’m busier than I’ve ever been. I often work 12 and 14 hour days. It’s 1 a.m. as I write this column. I don’t do it because I’m getting rich. Trust me, I’m not. I do what I do because our work is so important, so vital.

September 19, 2019

ArkLaMiss CIRCULATION & MARKETING CONFERENCE Circulation & Audience Growth

ArkLaMiss Circulation & Marketing Conference

2019 Conference Agenda Nov. 7-8, 2019 | Vicksburg, Mississippi

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


September 19, 2019

ArkLaMiss Circulation & Marketing Conference

ArkLaMiss CIRCULATION & MARKETING CONFERENCE Circulation & Audience Growth

2019 Conference Agenda Thursday, November 7, 2019 8:30 AM 9:00 AM

Registration opens Publishers Roundtable Discussions Tips on newspaper management, revenue, expense controls, marketing & more

NOON 1:00 PM 1:15 PM

Lunch available in Heritage Buffet Welcome & opening remarks General Session: How to understand reader types and drive each type to subscribe

2:30 PM 3:00 PM

Break with Schermerhorn Bros. Co. General Session cont’d.: How to understand reader types and drive each type to subscribe

4:30 PM 5:30 PM 6:30 PM

Presented by Gwen Vargo, Director of Reader Revenue, American Press Institute The path from a casual reader to a paying subscriber isn’t a short one, but by understanding how audiences get from one place to another, you can begin to devise strategies to get more readers to complete that journey.

Presented by Gwen Vargo, Director of Reader Revenue, American Press Institute

Break for hotel check-ins Hospitality Hour with vendors Dinner on your own

Friday, November 8, 2019 8:00 AM 8:30 AM

Buffet breakfast Hot Ideas Exchange

9:30 AM 10:00 AM

Break Panel Discussion

11:00 AM

Open Mic & Wrap-up

Arkansas Publisher Weekly

Share your best ideas for success on revenue generation, expense controls, promotions marketing & more.

Hear cutting edge advice from marketing circulation & audience development directors from newpapers in Arkansas & Mississippi.


September 19, 2019

ArkLaMiss Circulation & Marketing Conference

ArkLaMiss CIRCULATION & MARKETING CONFERENCE Circulation & Audience Growth

Guest Speakers Gwen Vargo Gwen Vargo is Director of Reader Revenue for American Press Institute (API), where she works to support and accelerate the growth of subscriptions and user revenue at U.S. news organizations. She works directly with API’s partner news organizations to understand the path audiences take to subscription; gathers and spreads best practices; leads research efforts; and helps API’s partners develop innovative approaches to generating subscriptions through understanding audience data, marketing, communication, and content. Gwen specializes in helping media companies develop new models for user revenue, drawing on lessons she has learned over more than 25 years in audience development and marketing. Prior to API, she was at The Chronicle of Higher Education where she led cross functional team that included marketing, sales, circulation and market research and worked to develop sustainable revenue models for an array of digital products, including webinars, customized data, and events. While at Atlantic Media Company, Gwen oversaw marketing, sales, and client services for National Journal Group, and played a key leadership role in the strategic relaunch of the National Journal Group’s products and website. Previously, she managed marketing and operations efforts at organizations such as Euromoney Institutional Investor, PRIMEDIA, and American Lawyer Media.

Dennis Dunn Dennis Dunn is vice president of operations at the Anniston (AL) Star. He has been at The Star since 1997. He is responsible for printing, packaging and circulation for the Star, the Talladega Daily Home, the Cleburne News, the St. Clair Times and the the News Journal. He is a past president of the Southern Circulation Managers Association (2005). He began his career in 1979 at the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer before moving to Anniston. Dennis has been involved in the Anniston Lions Clubs, the Anniston Runners Club, The Boys and Girls Clubs and the Opportunity Center. He is a graduate of Auburn University (1978). He is married to Debra and they have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Arkansas Publisher Weekly


September 19, 2019




Circulation & Marketing Conference

Circulation & Audience Growth


Newspaper/Company Name: Street Address: City, State, Zip: Phone:


Name: Check all that apply:

Email: [ ] Conference ($109)

[ ] Newspaper Management Roundtable (No Charge)

Name: Check all that apply:

Email: [ ] Conference ($109)

[ ] Newspaper Management Roundtable (No Charge)

Name: Check all that apply:

Email: [ ] Conference ($109)

[ ] Newspaper Management Roundtable (No Charge)

Sponsorship: $____________ Event: ___________________________________________ Total Registrants: __________ X $109 = $____________ Total Amount Due: $____________ Exhibit During the Conference?






Card #__________________________________________ Expiration Date ___________ VCN#___________ Signature ______________________________________

Deadline to Register: November 1, 2019 Return Form and Payment to: ArkLaMiss/APA, 411 S. Victory, Little Rock, AR 72201 or fax to (501) 374-7509 Questions? Call Terri Cobb at (501) 374-1500, 1-800-569-8762 or email to terri@arkansaspress.org

Ameristar Casion & Hotel, Vicksburg MS Call 601-638-1000 and Reference “SPAPER9” | Room Rate $74 Deadline: October 24, 2019

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: September 19, 2019  

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

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: September 19, 2019  

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