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National Newspaper Week is Oct. 6-12 Grant opportunities available for ArkLaMiss conference

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Publisher Weekly


Vol. 14 | No. 39 | Thursday, September 26, 2019

Serving Press and State Since 1873

New Helena World owners all-in for their newspaper, community

weekends are spent talking to local coaches about their Friday night football games. Davis, a retired businessman, handles the business and advertising side of the operation. The World is being printed in Monticello.

For the new owners/publishers/ editors/photographers/ advertising executives/ circulation managers/carriers of the Helena World, buying the venerable Phillips County newspaper was the easy part.

Less than a month after Chuck Davis and Andrew Bagley purchased the World from GateHouse Media, the two have yet to hire anyone at the newspaper, which GateHouse closed just days before the local men purchased it.

While they hope soon to hire full-time employees, Bagley said it was critical to the community that they publish a newspaper as soon as possible.

They published their second weekly print edition this week. Bagley said they are Crowds fill downtown Helena during the annual King Biscuit Blues Festival. continuing to search for an Chuck and I have done it ourselves with “Our philosophy was that, the longer we editor, ad salesperson and office manager outsourcing the pagination and printing.” are out of print, the harder it’s going to be that will comprise the staff. to get people to subscribe again,” Bagley Bagley, an instructor in political science said, describing Helena-West Helena as a “It has been, let’s just say, an exciting at the local community college, said he’s community with a history of being “jaded” experience,” Bagley said in an interview been working at the newspaper every and cynical about civic institutions. Tuesday. “We have no editor, we have afternoon. On Thursdays, he’s writing no ad staff and we have no clerical staff. editorials and opinion columns. The “We felt it was very important to get out Continued on Page 2

Deadline nears for Ownership Statement submissions Arkansas Press Association member newspapers who send Periodicals Class Mail must file an annual Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation (PS Form 3526) with the U.S. Postal Service by Tuesday, 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 three-times-per-week publications. • 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

New Helena World owners all-in for their newspaper, community Continued from Page 1

there, get back in print and show this community the paper was not dead, it was not going anywhere, and it was going to continue providing the information (subscribers) had come to depend upon,” he added. Bagley described community response to new, local ownership of the newspaper as “phenomenal.” They’ve had brisk newsstand sales, a growing number of subscriptions and even some unsolicited ad buys from local businesses. He said he believes the excitement is generated by enthusiastic residents glad to see the newspaper return to its roots after 38 years of chain ownership. The new owners are confident the newspaper can be profitable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have purchased it, Bagley said. The steps to profitability include building a business model relying more heavily on subscriber revenue than other

Industry Quote of the WeEk “The window to the world can be covered by a newspaper. ”

-Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

Let’s Get Social Follow us on Facebook & Twitter


Arkansas Publisher Weekly


newspapers may; and keeping a lean staff – which means Bagley and Davis will continue doing a lot of the day-to-day work, even after employees are hired.

downtown Helena-West Helena and is one of a growing number of developers and investors in the downtown district. Bagley commended Davis for his efforts to acquire the newspaper, citing his determination and successful negotiations in acquiring the product.

“We’re going to gradually restore faith in the product and get the advertisers back and get subscribers back,” he said. Bagley said he and Davis are both committed to improving their newspaper and Helena-West Helena. Bagley teaches political science and history at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, and he has been a freelance writer for a number of publications. Davis, a retired businessman, has been in the military and aviation industries. He owns Andrew Bagley two buildings in

“Helena is a wonderful place to live,” Bagley said. “We’re cheerleaders for this town, and we’re counting on people’s love of this town to be an asset in this endeavor. We all want to see Helena be a great community, and you can’t have a great community without a great community paper.”

Chuck Davis

National Newspaper Week is Oct. 6-12 Newspapers across the United States will observe National Newspaper Week from Oct. 6-12. The theme for this year’s observance, the 79th annual, is “Think F1rst: Know Your 5 Freedoms.” This year’s theme highlights the importance of the First Amendment and its role in shaping our democracy and growth of journalism and the newspaper industry. National Newspaper Week is sponsored annually by Newspaper Association Managers. “National Newspaper Week is a time set aside once a year when our Arkansas Press Association member newspapers may demonstrate just how important and meaningful a newspaper is to the communities we serve,” said Ashley Wimberley, APA executive director. “We at the APA encourage newspapers draw 2

special attention to this observance and to the positive impact made by newspapers year-round.” National Newspaper Week organizers invite newspapers to utilize the editorials, editorial cartoons, promotional ads and a variety of other resources available at www. nationalnewspaperweek. com. The website suggests newspapers celebrate the week by “devoting as many column inches as possible to reinforce the importance” of newspapers to communities. Also, newspapers are asked to generate local content by editorializing about the unique relevance a particular newspaper has in a community, whether by its role as a government watchdog, a community forum or repository of important information such as public notices. September 26, 2019


Through cooperation with our state’s press, we’re committed to telling the amazing story of The Natural State. To learn more about how we’re promoting tourism that’s energizing Arkansas’s economy, contact Leah DiPietro at 501-682-7606 or email leah.dipietro@arkansas.gov. Arkansas.com

The Times Dispatch Grant opportunities available for to be sold to Paxton ArkLaMiss conference Media Arkansas Press Association members ArkLaMiss conference is Gwen Vargo, The family-owned Times Dispatch in Walnut Ridge is being sold to Paducah, Kentucky-based Paxton Media, The Times Dispatch announced in its newspaper this week.

The Lawrence County newspaper had been owned by the Bland family since 1921. John Bland, the newspaper’s publisher, is the president of the Arkansas Press Association. Bland has been publisher since 1986. He and his wife, Renee, will leave the newspaper at the end of the month. John Bland is the third generation of his family to serve as publisher. Paxton owns more than 50 other daily and weekly newspapers, including several in Arkansas. Paxton’s daily newspapers in Arkansas are The Jonesboro Sun, Paragould Daily Press, Russellville Courier and Daily Citizen in Searcy. In recent months, Paxton has acquired the Batesville Guard, Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, Newport Independent, SunTimes in Heber Springs and Van Buren County Democrat. The announcement said the sale will be effective on Monday, Sept. 30.

White Hall Journal to be distributed with Pine Bluff newspaper Effective this week, the White Hall Journal will be distributed to subscribers along with the Wednesday edition of the Pine Bluff Commercial.

The change means that the Commercial will offer a Wednesday-only subscription which will be the same price as the current Journal subscription of $32 per year, according to the newspapers. For existing subscribers of both newspapers, any credit balance for the White Hall newspaper will be used to extend the subscriber’s Pine Bluff Commercial subscription. Arkansas Publisher Weekly

are eligible for one of four $200 grants to defray registration and hotel costs for this year’s ArkLaMiss Circulation, Marketing and Audience Development Conference.

The grants, sponsored by the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation, will be provided to APA members who apply, with preference going to first-time conference attendees. Only one sponsorship will be awarded per media organization. If fewer than four first-time attendees apply, grants will be awarded based on when applications are received by APA. The conference, at the Ameristar Hotel and Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi, will be Nov. 7-8. The popular annual event is designed to help newspaper circulation and marketing professionals from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi grow both revenue and readership at their newspapers. The headlining speaker for this year’s

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 includes a roundtable for newspaper publishers and the always-popular Hot Ideas Exchange moderated by Dennis Dunn, vice president of operations for the Anniston Star in Anniston, Alabama. Contact Ameristar by Oct. 24 to reserve a room at the conference rate of $74. Mention code “SPAPER9” when making the reservation at (601) 638-1000. Arkansas Press Association members may register for the conference by visiting https://www.arkansaspress.org/ events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1274648. Registration information also available starting on page 6 of this week’s Arkansas Publisher Weekly. To apply for a grant, email terri@arkansaspress.org.

Kroger removing free publications from stores Kroger Co., which operates supermarkets across the country, will no longer allow placement of free publications in its stores, Editor & Publisher reported. According to the E&P report, Kroger is ending its contract with Tulsa-based DistribuTech, which handled placement of free newspapers on racks at the stores of Kroger and its subsidiaries, effective Oct. 15.

launched a “Don’t Lose Local News” campaign in an effort to get Kroger to change course, according to E&P. Spearheaded by the Colorado Springs Independent, the campaign urges readers to contact their local stores through social media, via email, and through Kroger’s customer service number to ask the chain to keep distributing free publications.

Free magazines and newspapers are the Editor & Publisher only publications to printed a statement be affected by the from a Kroger change. In many official that read: areas, that means “We are removing local alternative the DistribuTech weekly newspapers will feel the most A rack of free publications at Kroger-owned King racks because more Soopers is scheduled to be removed. publications continue significant impact. to shift to digital formats, resulting in less Publishers of alternative weeklies in customers using the products.” Colorado Springs and elsewhere have 4

September 26, 2019

Guest Column:

Newspapers will survive and flourish long-term By Peter Wagner

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Any eighth-grader can launch an information and opinion website from a computer in the corner of his bedroom. But it takes financial backing, wise management, committed, professional writers and editors and a printing press to produce a credible newspaper. If the strength and holding-power stand out in the printed word – if their printed paper is what makes them unique in their market – why are so many publishers betting their future on their website? Sure, any wise publisher is going to have a website presence, but he’s going to stake his future on his printed publication. Family-owned neighborhood groceries, once a staple, were replaced by modern supermarkets the middle of the last century. But those neighborhood grocers were eventually replaced by today’s convenience stores. The same will be true of the hometown paper. The newspaper of today, attempting to be all things to all people, will eventually evolve into tomorrow’s most read, most trusted local news source. Newspapers will, more than ever, be the glue that holds thriving, changing communities together. But to do so, community newspapers must think local and be local. As recently as the mid-twentieth century, hometown papers were still reporting who visited who and what was going on at the school, all the local churches and the Odd Fellow’s hall. Community papers concentrated on local names and happenings never covered by outside media. They concentrated on the details of the American Legion Baseball game, who entered the hospital and the success of the summer rec program. Newspapers


Arkansas Publisher Weekly




much-appreciated local news to survive and eventually grow. Print can do local information better than the radio station. Local radio has neither the air time nor reporting staff to report much beyond the headline of any story. Local bloggers, independent websites and other digital formats never reach the broad audience of a subscription-based or free distribution newspaper. And independent websites are often not credible, choosing to share large doses of opinion with scraps of both worthy information and uninvestigated misinformation. Finally, a newspaper covers the entire life of the community and clearly reports all that is important to the local reader. The neatly edited and attractively presented material, all in one easy-to-hold publication, makes keeping informed simple. That same reader would have to check a dozen local, independent, websites to even begin to obtain such knowledge and wisdom. Content is everything. The number of editorial pages is not as important as the quality and originality of the stories printed on those pages. In order to survive today’s cultural change, newspapers have to deliver (get the double meaning of deliver?) news and information the reader wants and might share around the water cooler that day. But we have a difficult time ahead of us while waiting for others to recognize the need for, and importance of, the community paper. Newspaper circulation across the nation continues to decline. But many papers are doing so because the management is driving them in that direction, believing they can cut costs and increase reader numbers with a stronger on-line presence.


According to a recent Pew Research Center report, paid circulation was down 8 percent weekdays and 9 percent Sundays this past year. Due perhaps to most papers having increased subscription and single-copy pricing, circulation revenue has held steady this past year. But unfortunately, display advertising dollars were down 13 percent. Meanwhile, digital ad revenue has grown exponentially, but the majority of all profits have gone to Facebook and Google and not much to newspaper publishers, says the Pew report. What small increase there has been in local digital revenue has not been nearly enough to cover the loss of once empowered print display income. Most important, however, as we view the continued importance of the printing press, traffic to all websites has seemed to level off. Individual time spent on these websites has declined as well. The average number of minutes per visit to digital news sites is down 16 percent since 2016, says the Pew report. So, yes, current times are difficult. The culture is changing. But there is still a strong future for the printed word. Newspapers are not dead and need to be in communities where someone is championing their value and producing an interesting, informative and worthwhile publication. Peter W. Wagner is founder and publisher of the award winning N’West Iowa REVIEW and 13 additional publications. Wagner can be contacted by emailing pww@iowainformation.com or calling his cell at (712) 348-3550.

September 26, 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 26, 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 26, 2019  

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