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Indiana public notice fight is a cautionary tale about customer service News Media Alliance urges support for EU Copyright Directive



Ark a nsa s

Publisher Weekly

Vol. 13 | No. 51 | Thursday, December 20, 2018


Serving Press and State Since 1873

Plopper turning over authorship of definitive book on Arkansas media law

Most Arkansas journalists over the last decade have learned media law from Bruce Plopper, whether they recognize it or not. Plopper, a retired University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) journalism professor, has authored or co-authored 10 editions of Mass Communication Law in Arkansas. The 10th edition — and final one for Plopper — will be printed in early 2019. Most of those editions have been required reading for aspiring journalists in Arkansas’s colleges and universities and a necessary reference tool for publishers, editors and media lawyers. Despite that, Plopper said he’s not been involved in the work for notoriety or acclaim.

media law,” he said. A counterpart at an Oklahoma university asked if Plopper would be willing to write an Arkansas version of the mass communications law book series printed in other states as part of the New Forums Media and Law series. Plopper agreed. A few years ago, he invited University of Central Arkansas (UCA) Professor Stephen Ralph to coauthor. Ralph was senior author of the ninth and 10th editions, and will be the sole author of the 11th edition, Plopper said.

“You know, a lot of students don’t thank their professors for what they do for them,” Plopper said. “It may be that over the years, 20 years down the line, they say ‘Gee, Professor Smith was good with this.’ Maybe someday we’ll hear that.” Before Plopper’s work, there was “a void for a thorough analysis of Arkansas

Plopper with the Royal manual typewriter on which he learned to type. The typewriter is now on display in the APA Newspaper Museum.

“I’m retired, and I think, basically after I’ve done this for as many years as I’ve done it, I think fresh eyes are good, a fresh look at the landscape,” he said. “I’m extracting myself from a number of activities I was involved in or started during my time as a professor.” Plopper, who was raised in upstate New York, moved to Arkansas in 1985 to teach at UCA. Five years later, he started work at UALR. In addition to authoring the definitive guide to mass media law, he has been an active member of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act coalition for 25 years. He was also one of the fathers of the Arkansas Student Publications Act. When that signed into law in 1995, Arkansas was one of only six states to have established protections for scholastic journalists. A graduate of Michigan State University, Plopper has a Ph.D. in journalism education from Southern Illinois University. He was a working journalist for two years before moving into the teaching field. All in all, Plopper has more than 58 years experience in media and journalism, starting from when he was a newspaper Continued on Page 2

APA members urged to call Boozman, Crawford for action on H-2A and H-2B notices The Department of Labor (DOL) on November 8 proposed regulatory revisions to its labor certification program that would change the way employers inform United States citizens about temporary employment opportunities before offering

those jobs to foreign workers who are looking for temporary jobs under the H2-A (agricultural) and H2-B (non-agricultural) visa programs. In conjunction with the National Newspaper Association(NNA) and the News Media Alliance (NMA),

Arkansas Press Association (APA) is urging members to contact Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford to submit comments to the Department of Labor by the deadline of Friday, Dec. 28.

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Plopper turning over authorship of definitive book on Arkansas media law Continued from Page 1

carrier for the Syracuse, New York, Herald Journal as a teenager. Plopper’s experience in communications has served him well in his drafting of Mass Communication Law in Arkansas, which he said is primarily intended to be an academic textbook. In the past, several Arkansas higher education professors used the book as curriculum, though Plopper acknowledged some instructors have turned recently to online course material. “It started as an educational endeavor, and that’s still the main value of the book,” he said. “People don’t use it day-to-day [outside of the classroom], but if they sit

down and look at the defamation chapter [for example], they would perhaps save themselves some anguish and possible lawsuits if they remember what not to do or say in news reporting.” Plopper said the 10th edition differs from the first in several areas, with most of the changes related to amendments or impacts on the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. There have also been some law changes related to commercial speech, religious expression and video voyeurism, he said.

“Steve was an obvious choice,” Plopper said. “He taught media law, attended law school while he was teaching at UCA and was a practicing attorney and public defender. He has years and years of background in law. He gets it.” Plopper expects the 10th edition of Mass Communication Law in Arkansas to be published soon. It will be available for purchase online and at the Arkansas Press Association office in Little Rock.

Upcoming versions of the book will be in capable hands, he added.

APA members urged to call Boozman, Crawford for action on H-2A and H-2B notices Continued from Page 1

The proposal would eliminate a requirement that employers notify U.S. citizens of available positions through an advertisement in Sunday newspapers of general circulation “in the area of intended employment.” If a rural area does not have a Sunday edition, currently the employer is required to place a print advertisement in a regularly published daily edition with the widest circulation or in a weekly newspaper if no such daily newspaper is available. Before hiring foreign laborers under the federal H-2A program, employers must demonstrate they have attempted to seek out domestic workers through notice in daily newspapers, including one Sunday edition. The Department of Labor now says newspapers are too expensive and it wants to allow employers to publish notice on “one widely used website.” It is the opinion of NNA, NMA and APA that despite a perception that the newspaper audience is declining, newspapers continue to be the best medium to reach the broadest possible pool of U.S. citizens that are willing and available for a position in a local market. Below are some talking points that members can use in their communication with Sen. Boozman and Rep. Crawford: • The Sunday edition of a print newspaper Arkansas Publisher Weekly

continues to have a large and engaged audience with more than 80 million adult readers in the United States every week. The print ad is also the conduit for wider distribution of a recruitment ad. For example, when an employer posts a recruitment ad in the Sunday newspaper, the newspaper also posts it on their own website, social media, job boards, and on recruitment websites such as Monster.com or CareerBuilder where the newspaper has a partnership. The newspaper, in effect, serves as a local agency to ensure the broadest possible delivery of recruitment ad and ensure that employers have done everything possible to reach U.S. citizens before offering employment to foreign workers. • Newspapers in rural areas have high readership. More than two-thirds of readers in small towns depend upon a combination of the printed newspaper and the newspaper website for local information, according to Susquehanna Polling and Research. Most small newspapers will accept these notices for about a third of the cost that DOL claims for existing recruitment notices. In addition, the newspaper industry’s state associations provide easy one-order placement services to aid employers at no cost to the employers. • Many unskilled U.S. workers looking for employment may not have access to the 2

Internet to actively search for job openings. Even if the worker has Internet access, she may not be naturally drawn to a website that has published the recruitment ad. This proposal will actually hurt U.S. workers by limiting the ways in which an available position is being promoted across all platforms – print and digital. • The Labor Department’s own data show that most farm workers find jobs within 25 miles of where they live. Advertising locally in newspapers closer to the workforce would reach American agricultural workers. • Newspapers not only reach local small town and rural audiences best, they are permanent records and demonstrate compliance without the expense of “screen shots” and federal audits. Newspapers produce publication affidavits to prove a notice ran in the paper. These are kept both by the publisher and the advertiser for reference in case of questions. • Newspapers play a vital role in fulfilling one of the missions of the labor certification program which is to inform U.S. workers of employment opportunities. With a digital only requirement, employers might game the system to bury a recruitment ad to limit response for a position that would be made available to foreign workers who might be willing to work at a much lower wage. Newspapers are trusted and verifiable third parties that can make sure employers do

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December 20, 2018

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Billy Ed Stilwell

Indiana public notice fight is a cautionary tale about customer service Arkansas newspapers are an essential partner with agencies, municipalities and law firms when it comes to effectively notifying the public of hearings, meetings and other legal issues. Arkansas newspapers remain the best method of providing timely, important information to a broad audience, especially since many rural areas have limited access to the internet.

Billy Ed Stilwell, the former publisher of the Malvern Daily Record, died last month in Benton. An Oklahoma native, he was a longtime resident of Malvern and a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War. He started work in the newspaper industry at the Durant Daily Democrat in Durant, Oklahoma, in 1958. He moved to Malvern in 1968 and later became owner and publisher. He retired in 1982. After retirement, he was director of the Malvern Chamber of Commerce for seven years and he worked part-time for Teeter Motors in Malvern prior to moving to Benton. He was a member of the Lions Club, served for 13 years on the board of the College of the Ouachitas and was a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Malvern. Survivors include his wife, Glenda Trantham Stilwell; a daughter, Jennifer Paul of Jacksonville; a son, Jim Ed Stilwell of Benton; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Donations in his memory may be made to Lions Club International, Calvary Baptist Church in Benton or the Malvern First Baptist Church Building Fund.

Happy Birthday to Charlotte Schnexnayder, who will be 95 on Christmas day.

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However, agencies in other states are unfortunately moving away from newspapers for public notice publication. And in one instance, at least, it seems that poor newspaper customer service is the reason. The Washington-based Public Notice Resource Center recently reported that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) was moving its public notices from newspapers to its own website. The agency’s reasoning seemed to be based on its experience with customer service at newspapers. The head of Indiana’s press association told the Public Notice Resource Center that the agency complained about:

• Newspapers not having a “readily available” phone number to address problems • What the agency deemed as “unreasonable deadlines,” including 14 days in advance for one publication • “Mistaken credit holds” • “Missed publication dates and failure to publish some notices.” Though more than 600 comments opposing the plan were submitted to the agency compared to the four in favor of it, the agency moved to publish its own notices. The agency even recognized its choice will mean fewer Indiana residents will receive the notice, the Public Notice Resource Center said. The center noted: “Most papers do public notices right. But clearly there are at least a few that treat it as an entitlement and fail to provide their public notice customers with the service they deserve. Those papers are a grave threat to the newspaper industry’s historical franchise.”

Frost returns to Mena Star in advertising director role Debbie Frost, who started her career at the Mena Star in 1976, has recently returned to that publication as its new advertising director. Frost is a Mena native with more than four decades of print advertising experience. She has received several

APA will be closed Tuesday, December 25 for Christmas Day.


awards from the Arkansas Press Association for her work and is highly regarded in the field, according to a Mena Star announcement regarding her hiring. After some time away, she returned to the publication in November. “Returning to the Mena Star feels like coming home to me. I am eager to provide our customers and community with the same high-level performance that I always have,” she told the newspaper.

Mark Your Calendar March 7 & 8 2019 APA Advertising Conference Embassy Suites Little Rock December 20, 2018

APA members urged to call Boozman, Crawford for action on H-2A and H-2B notices Continued from Page 2

what is necessary to promote available positions to U.S. workers in a local market. And, if the employer is audited, it is the “newspaper of record” in a local community that can provide proof that employers have fulfilled labor certification requirements. The DOL should modernize its rules to

reflect current recruitment methods and require both the print and digital distribution of recruitment ads. This is the best way to ensure the widest possible distribution of an ad to give U.S. citizens an opportunity to learn about and apply for employment opportunities.

Comments are to be filed at www. regulations.gov, citing RIN 1205-AB90 or mailed to Adele Gagliardi, Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research, US Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., Room N-5641, Washington DC 20210

News Media Alliance urges support for EU Copyright Directive The European Union parliament is likely to decide soon on a proposal, known as the “Publishers’ Right,” giving copyright protection to news publishers against commercial use. Among opponents of the Publishers’ Right is tech giant Google, which has advocated for changes to the right to make it less meaningful for news organizations.

The News Media Alliance (NMA) is opposed to Google’s approach, and is requesting that publishers and editors consider reprinting this column from NMA President and CEO David Chavern to help “set the record straight” regarding the issue. Here is that column:

the future of news. But they have some powerful opponents, including Google.

Google relies on news publishers for content for its Search pages and Google News product. It has argued that under the Directive it would be affirmatively forced to pay publishers for content, and has even threatened to shut down Google News in response. However, Article 11 would merely allow publishers to negotiate with news aggregators and search engines, and ask for some system of fair compensation

The European Union (EU) is currently considering a copyright law that would give news publishers the ability to protect their content online. This is part of a broader fight publishers are having around the world to establish the core legal rights needed to be compensated for their work. The online audience for reporting is huge and, in fact, people are consuming more hard news than ever. But outdated laws make it very hard for publishers to protect their work and the investments they make in great journalism. Information may “want to be free” but reporters want to be paid. Article 11 of the EU Copyright Directive, currently under consideration and set to be voted on soon, would provide news publishers the right to charge for commercial use of their content online—a true sign of Europe’s commitment to

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for their work. Nothing in the Directive mandates payment by Google. Other organizations claim that the whole internet would be destroyed by the Copyright Directive. That is ridiculous. The film and music industries hold rights similar to those being sought by the news industry and they have not destroyed the internet— far from it. Google has also argued that copyright protection for news content would create


a “link tax” and would prevent average citizens from sharing links to news stories on social media. The Directive actually explicitly allows sharing of links and articles by consumers. What would be prevented are the extensive “snippets” of information taken from the news articles that are also delivered in search results. According to a 2016 opinion poll, 47% of Europeans who access news through news aggregators, social media or search engines, just read the free “snippets” and never click on the links to access the full articles. In short, Google’s vast advertising machine relies on publishers giving away huge amounts of their content for free. This is obviously not sustainable. No business, including news publishing, can be based upon “free”. Instead of fighting against the Copyright Directive, Google and others should embrace the moment and work with publishers on new ways to ensure compensation for great journalism. Society relies on news publishers for quality information about the world. Users expect to get that kind of information through Google, and Google wants them to get it. But the current system for online distribution of journalism just isn’t sustainable. This is a chance for Europe to show true international leadership and, hopefully, propel improvements in copyrights laws in the United States and around the world. The Copyright Directive presents a real opportunity for all parties to build a new future for journalism. Let’s drop the threats and fear-mongering and get to that important work.

December 20, 2018

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus (Editor’s note: The staff of the Arkansas Press Association wishes Arkansas Publisher Weekly readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! To observe the occasion, we are reprinting one of the most widely reprinted editorials in history from the Sept. 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun.) We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun: Dear Editor— I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? Virginia O’Hanlon 115 West Ninety Fifth Street Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the

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whole of truth and knowledge. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world


are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

December 20, 2018

Profile for Arkansas Press Association

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: December 20, 2018  

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

Arkansas Publisher Weekly: December 20, 2018  

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