Deadline to submit photos for 2019 APA Media Directory one week away David Fisher recognized for two terms on NNA board
Vol. 13 | No. 43 | Thursday, October 25, 2018
Serving Press and State Since 1873
Elementary school newspapers inspiring next generation of journalists Editor’s note: As policymakers remove the requirement for schools to teach journalism, and amid recent news of newspaper closures in the state, it’s heartening to learn about elementary school students in Greenbrier and Jonesboro who are recognizing the importance of a good newspaper. Here are articles from the Jonesboro Sun’s Chris Wessel and Maggie McNeary from the Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists. The Greenbrier students recently won an Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) award for their efforts. By Chris Wessel Jonesboro Sun editor You may recall a column I wrote in September about visiting a sixth-grade
class at Nettleton STEAM to talk to a small group of 11-year-olds who supposedly wanted to start a school newspaper. Most youngsters these days have their eyeballs fixed to their cellphone screens, so I was skeptical children that young would be interested in journalism, much less starting their own newspaper. I was surprised, shocked really. They were more than interested; they seemed serious and determined. After rambling on for about 45 minutes, I took questions from the seven classmates, their inquiries showing me they had paid close attention, taken notes and even prepared before my wandering lecture. They wanted to know the who, what, when, where, why — and especially how
Continued on Page 2
Israel Bollinger, 10, holds a copy of the newspaper, “What’s Up Eastside,” he started at Greenbrier Eastside Elementary in January. Arkansas SPJ will present Bollinger with the first President’s Diamond in the Rough Award at the chapter’s Diamond Journalism Awards in Little Rock. Photo courtesy of Jason Bollinger.
Arkansas newspapers bring more than just journalistic value to communities During National Newspaper Week’s 78th annual observance earlier this month, publications across the country celebrated the value of good journalism. Community newspapers across Arkansas daily demonstrate their relevance and importance by providing quality journalism to their readers. But Arkansas Press Association (APA) member newspapers are also finding other, novel ways to engage with the public and demonstrate their value. “Over the last few months, we’ve seen
our members use several interesting and creative ways to market themselves to the communities they serve,” APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley said. “During a time of transition for our industry, it’s always good to think outside the box to generate revenue and connect with readers.” For example, in both Washington and Hot Spring counties, APA members newspapers are asking animal lovers to participate in a friendly competition to Continued on Page 3
Elementary school newspapers Continued from page 1
— of newspaper reporting. They were also courteous, with manners their parents would be proud of. I left feeling like the future of journalism had a good chance of survival, but I didn’t really think they’d start their own newspaper. I mean, c’mon, they’re sixthgraders.
more creative and exciting way to teach than how I learned business math.
since this is her 44th year,” the story read. Now that’s commitment.
There was a story on new books coming to the school’s library as well as a short feature story on Bobbie Pogue, the school’s janitor.
The newsletter ended with a schedule of events for Homecoming Week, which included a lot of dressing up in crazy outfits, including “Surfs Up! Day. (Note: No bathing suits; you must follow dress code.)”
I must reiterate how clean Nettleton
I figured they’d get a kick out of my column and the photo of us that one of their teachers took and that would be it.
All in all, I’d say the seven sixth-grade journalism students at Nettleton STEAM did a fantastic job on their first newspaper. I learned a lot about what was going on at the school and its heart — the teachers and staff who go the extra mile for their students year after year.
Boy, was I wrong. Last week I received an envelope. Inside were a card and a two-page legal size newsletter. “This is the first edition of The STEAM Report,” journalism teacher Susan Trent wrote in the card. “Using the information you shared, and my guidance, they did an awesome job!” I opened the front page.
The staff at Greenbrier Eastside Elementary’s school paper, “What’s Up Eastside,” are hard at work. The paper was started by Israel Bollinger, third from left, in January when he was a fourth grader. He will receive the President’s Diamond in the Rough Award from Arkansas SPJ. Photo courtesy of Mandi Dunlap.
“The STEAM Report” in bold black letters on a yellow background jumped off the top of the first page, with the date October 1, 2018.
That was less than three weeks after our visit. Intrigued, I unfolded the pages. Inside were seven short articles on what was going on at Nettleton STEAM, including a calendar of events through Oct. 18. The stories included photos and artwork to draw the reader’s eye. I was impressed. The lead story was about a student groundbreaking ceremony for an “Outdoor Classroom,” compliments of a grant two of the school’s teachers had applied for and received from Lowe’s Home Improvement. It will include picnic tables and flower gardens where teachers can conduct class outdoors. A photo showing four students with shovels in hand accompanied the article. Another story detailed a new project called Shark Tank, after the television show, where all fifth-grade students will design and create a product while learning financial literacy. Definitely a Arkansas Publisher Weekly
STEAM school is. You could literally eat off the floors. I’ve never been to a school that clean. It was new hospital clean, which makes sense, since Ms. Pogue came to STEAM from St. Bernard’s Medical Center. Asked if her job was hard, she replied, “No, it isn’t hard to clean the school.” If I cleaned that school, it would be the hardest job I’ve ever had, and the place would be filthy. Ms. Pogue said her favorite part about being janitor is getting to see all the teachers and students. I give a big thumbs up to Bobbie Pogue. She must be an amazing person, full of pride in her work, because it shows and the students are grateful. There was a “Teacher Spotlight” on Wendy Green, a third-grade math teacher, whose hobby is “chasing my two oldest boys because they keep me busy!” and a short write-up on Beverly Pierce, the instrumental music and vocal/choral music teacher. “Mrs. Pierce must like teaching music 2
Mostly I learned not to discount the tenacity of 11-year-olds when their minds are set on a goal. Kudos to reporters Keenan Bobo, Ayshia Braison, Taylor Harris, Brejanay Jones, Reagan Smith, Javier Suarez and Bianna Washington. You did it! Keep going. I have to give a big shout out to Ms. Trent. She may well have inspired the next generation of investigative reporters. If the politics of today is any indication of the craziness to come, this country will need a strong and determined press to help keep our nation free. By Maggie McNeary Arkansas Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ) presented this week its first President’s Diamond in the Rough Award to a Greenbrier Eastside Elementary student who started his own school newspaper at the chapter’s Diamond Journalism Awards. Israel Bollinger, who was a fourth grader when he helped create What’s Up Eastside, works with a staff of second through fifth graders to make the monthly publication, Eastside Elementary Principal Mandi Dunlap said. The 10-year-old, now a fifth grader, said he got the idea to start the paper while reading “The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz” by Alan Silberberg. The characters in Silberberg’s book had a school paper, which made Bollinger realize that his school lacked one – a problem that he soon solved. “I couldn’t help but be impressed by this kid’s gumption,” Arkansas SPJ President October 25, 2018
Lincoln, AR Circulation: 1865
Arkansas newspapers Continued from page 1
generate support for 2019 pet calendars. At the Malvern Daily Record, the 2019 calendar will feature the top 12 votegetters based on reader-submitted photos and descriptions of the pet. Entries cost $5 each and votes are 25 cents apiece, generating revenue for the paper’s Newspapers In Education project while also gaining attention for the contest. Similarly, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently asked readers to go online to vote for one of more than 70 pets entered in their 2019 Newspapers in Education pet calendar photo contest. Each vote was also 25 cents. Ahead of the election, the Saline Courier in Benton published a house advertisement reminding subscribers — and more importantly, advertisers — of statistics that demonstrate newspaper readers are some of the most engaged members of the electorate. A recent survey showed 92 percent of registered voters read a newspaper every week. “When it comes to reaching voters, newspapers still deliver,” the ad said. Keeping with the political season and in an excellent example of community service, the Pea Ridge Times recently hosted two candidate forums for municipal candidates in Pea Ridge and Garfield. Voters were invited to submit potential questions for the forums, organized and hosted by the
paper. In an article about the events, the paper noted they “provide residents of the communities an opportunity to see and hear first-hand from the candidates.” In Berryville, Carroll County News Publisher Bob Moore was the featured presenter at a chamber-of-commerce sponsored workshop on marketing. According to the paper, Moore “shared insights and knowhow from his four decades of experience in marketing, personal selling and business management.” It was the first-ofits-kind event for the chamber and organizers deemed it a success. Moore discussed the four essential elements or marketing. AR0014
Malvern Daily Record
Publication Date: 09/20/2018 Page Number: a8
124.77 column inches
Malvern, AR Circulation: 2191
Have other examples of how Arkansas Press Association members are effectively marketing themselves? We would love to share them in future issues of Arkansas Publisher Weekly. Email examples to ashley@ County: Washington arkansaspress.org. County: Hot Spring
Elementary school newspapers Continued from page 2 Jennifer Ellis accomplishment.
After a conversation with Principal Dunlap and the recruitment of about 16 elementary students, the publication started production in January. “Israel had asked me about it back in the first semester and I began to think about how to make this happen,” Dunlap said. Sherry Hogg, the school counselor, helps the students during their 30-minute daily production time. The students compose their stories in Google Docs, the principal said, and printed copies are distributed throughout the school. “This has been a great creative outlet for a lot of students,” she said. “They not only Arkansas Publisher Weekly
learn literacy skills of writing articles, but also the power of networking with a group to produce a product! The kids absolutely love this!” Students voted to name the paper What’s Up Eastside and decided on its topics together. Bollinger’s favorite part of the paper is the “Crackups” section, which features jokes from students. Bollinger plans to continue working on the publication for the rest of the school year. “I really like working on the paper,” he said. “It’s fun.” In the future, he said he might even start a middle school newspaper if next year’s campus doesn’t have one. And he’s looking even further than that. 3
“I think that when I grow up I want to be an entrepreneur and maybe own a newspaper,” he said. Bollinger said he had been surprised by the media attention to him and the paper, and that he was excited to receive the Diamond in the Rough award. “It’s going to be quite an honor,” he said. Bollinger’s parents, Kerrie and Jason, have also been surprised by all the interest. Jason Bollinger said that his son has many good ideas and that, just as importantly, he sees them through. “He sees a problem and he works to fix it,” he said.
October 25, 2018
Deadline to submit photos for 2019 APA Media Directory one week away Arkansas Press Association (APA) members and associate members face a Nov. 1 deadline for submitting entries in the APA’s annual photo contest. The winner of the contest receives a $100 prize and the winning photo will be featured on the cover of the 2019 Arkansas Media Directory. “We have some amazing scenery in Arkansas and some great photographers within our membership,” said APA Executive Director Ashley Wimberley. “This is the last call for those photographers to submit their work for consideration for a contest that’s become something we all look forward to every year.” Any photographer, whether professional or amateur, may participate. Entries will be judged upon the photographer’s ability to capture an iconic image representing the state’s people or its scenery and natural beauty. SAS 2018 ARKAN
Media Directory s Ass o c i a t i o n Arkansas Pres
The panel of judges will award $100 to the firstprize winner. Second place receives $50 and third place receives $25.
APA members and associate members may submit highresolution photos for consideration. To enter, submit photos to info@ arkansaspress.org.
Industry Quote of the Week
FOIA Task Force signs off on report to legislature
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Task Force authorized its report to the Arkansas Legislature ahead of the 2019 General Assembly during a conference call on Oct. 22. The group established during the 2017 legislative session made recommendations on seven potential changes to the Arkansas FOIA. Arkansas Press Association board member Ellen Kreth is chairwoman of the task force. She said the final report to legislators will be submitted by the group’s Nov. 1 deadline. The task force’s recommendations included: • Support for a proposal to repeal the FOIA exemption for hotel/motel and restaurant sales tax receipt data. Proponents said the exemption weakens the law. • Opposition to a proposal to exempt accident reports from FOIA for 30 days following the completion of a report. • Opposition to a proposal to exempt video recorded by a law enforcement officer’s body camera or dashboard camera if the recordings are connected to an ongoing investigation. The task force didn’t close the door on discussion of the bill, however, saying that bill was “imperfect” as written. It is intended to prevent footage from body cameras or dash cameras from hindering a prosecution. • Opposition to a proposal to establish a FOIA Review Panel, which would be a quasi-judicial body that would review FOIA requests that were denied prior to a lawsuit. Proponents argue that a panel would cut down on legal expenses of Arkansans attempting to seek records. The task force found that the bill was overly broad and possibly unconstitutional. • Opposition to a proposal to give public entities 15 days to produce records under FOIA if a request is too burdensome. The group said the bill would make a FOIA request “the lowest priority” of an agency. • Opposition to a proposal to exempt from FOIA any documents related to litigation or potential litigation. The task force heard testimony that the bill’s purpose was to shield private attorneys from gaining an unfair advantage by using FOIA as a litigation strategy tool. On the other hand, the task force found the bill to be too broad and said that it has not been necessary to have such an exemption in the 50 years of the act. • Opposition to a proposal that would permit state agencies to direct requestors to a website if the information requested under the FOIA is housed on the internet. The task force determined that some rural Arkansans may have difficulty accessing the internet and that information on websites is sometimes hard to locate. The task force made no recommendation on two other proposals, one of which would allow certain utility customer information for groups planning or construction public water systems. The second would require schools that receive state dollars to make public the details of admissions lotteries, demographics and budget figures. The task force took no action because no one spoke for or against either proposals, and the task force believed that more information was needed before it could make a recommendation. In addition to Kreth, FOIA Task Force members are: Robert Steinbuch, Marci Manley, Rob Moritz, Mary “Prissy” Hickerson, Jeff Hankins, Adam Fogleman and John Tull III.
““I’d love to rise from the grave every ten years or so and go buy a few newspapers.” – Luis Bunuel Arkansas Publisher Weekly
October 25, 2018
David Fisher recognized for two terms on NNA board
The National Newspaper Association (NNA) recently honored David Fisher of Danville for his two consecutive terms of service on the NNA board. Fisher, a former Arkansas Press Association (APA) president, owns three community newspapers in west central Arkansas with his wife, Mary, who is also a former APA president.
He said NNA was the leader in a recent fight to oppose the unfair and harmful tariffs placed on Canadian newsprint. NNA also takes key positions on behalf of newspapers involving issues related to the U.S. Postal Service. About
members of NNA.
Fisher has been asked to remain on the NNA board as an at-large member. Fisher Publishing publishes the Conway County Petit Jean Country Headlight, Dardanelle Post-Dispatch and the Yell County Record.
The Fishers were the only Arkansans in attendance at the NNA’s annual convention, held last month in Norfolk, Va. David Fisher served as flag-bearer for the Arkansas flag during the convention’s opening ceremony. Fisher served as the NNA board member for the four-state district that includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. During his eight years in that role, he traveled to all four states trying to encourage local newspapers to join the national association. “We are the only organization in the United States that looks out and works for the small, community newspapers,” he said. “That’s who our members are. We try to help them and hope they join so that we can stay active and stay involved in important federal issues.”
David Fisher carries the Arkansas flag during the National Newspaper Association annual conference opening ceremony.
David Fisher with his plaque from the National Newspaper Association Region 7 Director.
Arkansas Press Women
APA was proud to host the Arkansas Press Women (APW) organization last Saturday for its fall mini conference at the association headquarters. The group began planning for the National Federation of Press Women meeting, which will be held in Little Rock in 2020.
Ashley Wimberley, left, talks about the APA sign that was a landmark on Broadway for so many years. At right, Debbie Thompson Miller, a past APW president.
Arkansas Publisher Weekly
The group discusses future partnership opportunities and ways to increase membership.
October 25, 2018
CHECKING OUR PULSE What are newspapers saying about the state of things?
could guess, with relative success, the answers to the quiz. The News Guru For instance, while much of the general public might think most papers are part of large groups, the fact firstname.lastname@example.org stateofnewspapers.com that 51 percent of newspapers are independent and locally owned, doesn’t ver the past two weeks, I’ve travget past most quiz-takers, and the fact eled from coast to coast speaking that less than 20 percent of papers are at newspaper conferences and meetrelated to large regional or national ing with Canadian and American groups doesn’t surprise too many. journalists about what is happening At each recent conference, I’ve at their newspapers and, hopefully, taken time to visit with journalists offering a little good advice. about what is happening at their As I’ve met with papers. Just this week publishers, writers I recently heard in Bismarck, North Daand editors in places I met with publishers, a publisher say, kota, like Keene, New Hampeditors and reporters from shire, Phoenix, Ari- “Journalism is a more than 20 newspapers zona and Bismarck, thankless job.” in one-on-one meetings. North Dakota, I’ve beWhat did I learn? I come even more convinced that the re- learned there are quite a few younger sults of the Newspaper Institute spring editors and publishers moving up the publisher’s survey were right on target ranks at newspapers. I learned most when it comes to the state of newspa- newspapers are doing well, and are pers across the U.S. and Canada. continually looking for ways to imAt newspaper conferences, I often prove their products and serve their communities better. I met with college and high school newspaper staffs who are excited about their futures in journalism. I met with metro newspaper investigative reporters about how to dig deeper to get better stories. I met with several publishers who were concerned that their readership was rapidly shrinking due to centralized production, meaning their papers are filled with stories from other places that local readers have no interest in reading. I learned that reporters still struggle with boredom while covering school board, city commission and other meetings that must be attended. I learned there are still a lot of newspapers where one or two people do everything from reporting, designing, Dylan Kahl is editor of The Mystician, selling ads and running the paper. student newspaper at Bismarck State I learned that print is still king. College in Bismarck, North Dakota. I’ve learned that the further a newsgive a “pop quiz” to learn a little paper is from its corporate headabout what is going on at newspapers quarters, the more likely it is that its and what journalist think is going on readership is shrinking rapidly. at papers across the country. I used Meeting over dinner conversato be surprised that most attendees tion, I heard many times how hard it
Keith Gentili, publisher of The New Boston (N.H.) Beacon, discusses his one-year-old newspaper at a recent conference in Keene, New Hampshire.
is to be a journalist. Hard work and long hours, combined with the wrath of angry readers, requires a special breed. I also learned while many publishers and editors talk about someday moving off to the mountains or beach, in reality they can’t imagine doing anything else. Yes, journalism is unlike any other career, and newspapers require a special type of journalist. I suppose that’s why I fall in love with every place I go and feel close to so many people I meet. I recently heard one publisher say, “Journalism is a thankless job.” I turned to her and said, “Thank you.” Callings aren’t always easy. Usually, they’re not. But something within continues to drive us, and the world is a better place because of what we do. I still fall in love with every place I visit. I still meet close friends and make new friends at each conference. I suppose that’s because we’ve heard the same calling. Oh, by the way, thank you.
The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...
Published on Oct 26, 2018
The Arkansas Publisher Weekly is the only direct source for late breaking news regarding Arkansas' newspapers and related industries. Publis...