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QCNA CONNECTOR www. qcna.org

The Official Publication of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association

June 2009

Oh What A Night!

Adam Franc Photo

The QCNA gang celebrated the best of the best at the 29th annual awards gala held on May 22, 2009 at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel. Congratulations to all the QCNA member newspaper winners. You did a magnificent job in reporting what was important in your

communities in 2008! We look forward to another amazing awards competition for 2009. See you next spring! Be sure to check out the list of winners, great photos, the awards book and lots more at: http://www.qcna.org/press/events.html

What’s Inside

The Duncan Report .................................................... Page 2 QCNA Happenings .................................................... Page 3 Industry Highlights .................................................... Page 4 Marnie Owston - Ad Tidbits....................................... Page 5 Fred Ryan - Going electronic or just going? ..............Page 6 Kevin Slimp - Get A Pen .......................................... Page 7 Kevin Slimp - Challenges ... with video files ............ Page 8

Peter Zollman - Craigslist at $100 million? ........................................ Page 9 John Foust - The power of first impressins ......................................... Page 10 Kevin Slimp - Kevin’s list of favorite products .................................. Page 11 Institute Of Newspaper Technology information ................................ Page 12 Ed Henninger - Smaller ... but smarter ................................................ Page 13 Henninger Consulting redesign wins first place .................................. Page 14


QCNA Connector

The Duncan Report

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Fail Often- Fail Fast- Fail Cheap

by Greg Duncan Executive Director

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June 2009

s we turn the page on yet another successful annual general meeting and better newspapers awards gala, our office is already thinking about next year in what will be our 30th anniversary. I want to thank you all for making this year’s event the success that it was, and continues to be. We can look forward to the next already, as we count down to our 30th anniversary. Start saving your best columns, news stories, photos and headlines now as you produce them, so as to make your job of selecting for next year’s competition easier during the next call for entries! For those of you that attended some of the excellent sessions during Ink and Beyond, you may have noticed some renewed optimism about our industry. I was inspired by many innovations in our evolving business, and feel that we are truly on the cusp of some great opportunities. These are exciting times for journalists, graphic artists, sales people and publishers to say the least. The platforms and the eyeballs are changing constantly. So what? Go out and grab the brass ring was the message all throughout the event. Fail often, fail fast, and fail cheap was another resounding message from Theo Blanco, Senior Sales and Marketing Director for Sweden’s UNT Media group and session leader. For more on the concept visit http://www.scrappybusiness.com/failoften-fail-fast-fail-cheap.htm. Some highlights from Theo Blanco’s session can be found at: http://www. inkandbeyond.ca/881/theo-blancooffers-an-international-perspective/en/ As summer approaches (will it ever arrive?) your association continues to work behind the scenes on issues that are important to you. We have a newly elected board of directors who will

now govern for a period of two years minimum, instead of the previous one year as adopted at the AGM. We have a full slate of directors comprising strong and balanced representation, and the team welcomes new directors Marc Lalonde (The Chronicle West Island), Nikki Mantell (Low Down to Hull and Back News) and Michael Sochaczevski (The Suburban). A full list of the 20092011 board of directors is at www.qcna.org. In the coming months, this group of volunteers and staff will embark on some long overdue strategic planning and attempt to revise the association bylaws during which time you will be asked to participate. Realistically, these efforts will begin in late summer with staff laying the groundwork in the meantime. I know…. and I can see the eyes roll at the mere mention of “strat” planning or bylaws, but your association must continue to align its priorities and adjust its constitution to stay current and relevant, and to anticipate the needs and challenges of membership for the future. A “living” plan will do just that. You can be sure that we will continue to work on evolving publications assistance program changes that will arrive by next March, and we’ll continue to make our point clear that there should be no negative impact on official language newspapers throughout any changes to the program. As of this writing, we have formally asked for a specific envelope of funds dedicated to OL newspapers from within the fund that would substantially improve access and flexibility for our member publications. One of our priority requests is the inclusion of controlled circulation newspapers. Another is that approved recipients be assigned funds at the outset of the program year to avoid cash flow problems as they transition from a straight distribution

“subsidy off the top” method as we know it currently, to a program that will allow for more flexible use of funds including support for editorial creation and digital publishing efforts. Throughout, we are recommending that the program recognize audited circulation and minimum editorial to advertising ratios recognized by industry associations for baseline criteria for eligibility to the program. We continue to work with the Association de la Presse Francophone (Official language community newspapers outside of Quebec) tirelessly on these issues, and have met frequently with government leaders and program managers recently. On the advertising front, we continue to fight for every federal ad we can that somehow does not make it into a member newspaper. Not an easy process, nor an easy government to navigate as we all have learned. Recently one such effort saw us launching another official language inquiry that resulted in the eventual placement of the ad into 18 of the member papers who had not received it previously. We are confident that we have made sure that all members are well represented where it counts, whether at industry, government or community tables or at buying or planning agencies of record. You can consult a QCNA membership benefit document at http://qcna.org/press/member.html for more information as to what we do. I wish you all continued success at work and in your communities for the coming year and I also wish you a great summer. As QCNA president Heather Dickson toasted during the awards gala, “to freedom of the press, to excellence in journalism, and to healthy bottoms. (Bottom lines that is …) forever!”


QCNA Connector

June 2009

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QCNA happenings

Adam Franc Photo

The new QCNA Board of Directors for 2009 – 2011 was introduced at QCNA’s awards gala held at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel on Friday, May 22, 2009. Seen above from left to right: Director, Michael Socheczevski (The Suburban); Vice President, Louis Mercier (Transcontinental); Secretary-Treasurer, George Bakoyannis (The Laval News); Director, Will Nicholls (The Nation); Affiliate Member Observer, Louise Wolman (The Canadian Jewish News); President, Heather Dickson (The Equity); Director, Nikki Mantell (The Low Down To Hull & Back News); Director, Marc Lalonde (The Chronicle West Island); Director, Fred Ryan (The West Quebec Post). Jen Young Joins The Townships Outlet Townships Outlet’s Publisher and Editor, Sharon McCully, recently announced that Jen Young, former editor of The Record, has joined the Townships Outlet team. Congrats to Townships Outlet Publisher Congratulations to Sharon McCully and her husband, Ralph, on becoming grandparents for the sixth time back in April! Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph

Celebrates 245th Anniversary

Publisher, Pierre Little, published a special anniversary edition of the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph on June 10, 2009, celebrating that paper’s 245th anniversary. This special section featured QCT’s history and showcased its recent successes. Congratulations to the oldest newspaper in North America!

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph Has New Editor Publisher, Pierre Little, announced that QCT now has a new editor, Ken Schankler. Schankler replaces Scott French who has left the paper for greener pastures in Montreal. As

well, QCT has a new reporter, Marika Wheeler. Welcome!

Laurentians Monthly Main Street Now Available Weekly Main Street’s Publisher, Jack Burger, announced that his monthly publication covering the Laurentian area was going weekly effective its April 17th edition … weekly, that is, with the birth of its brand new weekly online publication MAIN STREET WEEK. Check it out at www. laurentianlife.com. And, Main Street is celebrating its 100th edition with this month’s print edition. Congratulations Main Street!


QCNA Connector

June 2009

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Industry Highlights Ernie Lorne Mahoney Passes (March 29, 1931 – April 28, 2009)

Ernie Mahoney, well-known and respected journalist, and The West Quebec Post’s Managing Editor for Wakefield, passed away on April 28 following a severe lung infection. Mr. Mahoney was a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2003, and served as a president of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society; he was honored by the QCNA as well, having edited and managed the West Quebec Post’s 2008 tourism pull-out section, which took 3rd place in the Best Special Section awards category at this year’s awards ceremony. He became editor of the West Quebec Post in 1989 and reported from the Post’s Wakefield office for many years. He earlier began his Wakefield career in journalism with the Low Down To Hull & Back News.

Call for Submissions To The Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit The Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit was developed by ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation in 1993, in honour of the late broadcaster and writer Peter Gzowski, to acknowledge the great contribution made by a Canadian journalist, in any media, in raising awareness of the adult literacy issue in this country. Submission information for the Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit 2009 is now available at http://www. abc-canada.org/en/media/journalism_ award. The competition is open to all professional journalists working and residing in Canada. Journalists may submit their own work, or nominate the work of a fellow journalist. Entries may be of either a local or national interest, and may be based on reporting analysis, commentary,

Seen above are QCNA’s President, Heather Dickson; The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and QCNA Executive Director, Greg Duncan. Dickson and Duncan met with the Minister in Ottawa on April 23 to discuss the importance of placement of government advertising in accredited newspapers recognized by newspaper industry associations in meeting editorial standards and verified circulation criteria; and to recommend that the criteria for eligibility to the newly created Canada Periodical Fund be inclusive of both free and paid distribution minority official language community newspapers.

special section, feature or series. Entries will be accepted from the following categories: newspaper (daily, community, regional or national), magazine, television news, television feature (news magazine/talk show), radio interview and Internet. Entries for the 2009 competition must have been published, broadcast or posted online between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008. Deadline for submissions is Friday, June 26, 2009. The winner will be honoured at a special award presentation in Toronto on Wednesday, October 7, 2009. A $1,000 donation will be made, in the winning journalist’s name, to a literacy organization in their community. For application forms, and reference to

past winners, please go to: http://www.abc-canada.org/en/media/ journalism_award

Montreal Gazette Wins Big at INMA World Congress For the first time in 74 years, a Canadian newspaper, the Montreal Gazette, won INMA’s distinguished Best of Show Award for their “Words Matter – elections” campaign. The award honors the best marketing campaign in the newspaper industry worldwide. The “Elections” campaign covered the Canadian and US elections and as a result increased single-copy sales. Bernard Asselin, the Gazette’s vice-president of Marketing and Reader Sales and Service, and his Continued on Page 5


QCNA Connector

Advertising Tidbits by Marnie Owston Advertising Coordinator, QCNA

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n May this year, QCNA used the services of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL). The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) needed to advertise information concerning the H1N1 virus and how the everyday person can help prevent its spread. Instead of trying to reach out to all English Quebecers, the agency placed their ad in just one QCNA member newspaper. I contacted Charles Taker (you may remember meeting Charles at our annual conventions) who is the Liasion Officer for OCOL and had a file opened to begin the official complaint process. I was very impressed with the way Charles and his co-workers handled the QCNA file. In an effort to become more proactive in these matters, the OCOL ombudsman immediately intervened

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OCOL Helps QCNA Get An Important Health Message To English Quebecers with the agency on our behalf to bring them our concerns and to ask them how they intended to reach the minority communities in Quebec. Within a week a conference call was set up the OCOL, PHAC and Public Works during which the PHAC stated it was in the process of placing advertising concerning H1N1 into most of the QCNA member papers. It is still not known which came first

– the investigation or the advertising planning! However, I was very impressed with the ease and speed in which Charles Taker, Patrick Desrocher and their co-workers have now made the process to open a file for complaint and begin the facilitative investigation. As our concern was addressed quickly

by the government, QCNA did not have to file a formal complaint. Our request stays in the system with OCOL and, if future complaints have to be filed, shows a precedent. For a complaint to be valid, there has to be evidence that the Government of Canada advertisement in question has not been published in both official languages and/or is not reaching the intended community. For more info on communications with and services to the public visit the Department of Justice Canada website. For more info on filing an OL complaint visit the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages website at: http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca./ html/complaint_plainte_e.php. Please feel free to contact me at marnie@ qcna.qc.ca if you think you may have a legitimate complaint that QCNA should be looking into or if you enter into a complaint on behalf of your newspaper.

Industry Highlights - continued from Page 4 creative agency, bleublancrouge, were on hand in Miami to accept the honor. New Website for CCNA’s Better Newspapers Competition The Canadian Community Newspapers Association recently announced the new online home of the Better Newspapers Competition: BetterNewspapers.ca Visit the site for photos from the 2009 gala dinner, an online version of the Winners Book and scores. And be sure to watch the site for upcoming announcements regarding the 2010 competition. Photos, Video & News From Ink & Beyond 2009 Now Available Online Over 200 people gathered at Le Centre Sheraton in Montreal on May 22, 2009 to plan for the future of the industry. For those who couldn’t attend, the CNA/

CCNA has posted news, videos, photo galleries and other conference coverage at www.inkandbeyond.ca. QCGN Establishes Distinguished Community Service Award On June 2, 2009, the QCGN launched the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award which will recognize individuals who have contributed to strengthening the English-speaking community and to building bridges of understanding between Quebecers of different backgrounds. Candidates for The Distinguished Community Service Award should have demonstrated leadership and commitment as a volunteer or as a professional in their chosen field of endeavor. Their contributions can be in

any and all regions of Quebec and in any field from business to academia; from youth to seniors; from health and social services to arts and culture; and any other area such as heritage, the environment and sports. “ The guiding principle is that these individuals have provided strong and effective leadership and succeeded in improving the quality of life of English-speaking Quebecers and the broader society,” said QCGN President, Robert Donnelly. Deadline for nominations is July 15. More details on the award and how to nominate candidates can be found at www.qcgn.ca. For more information contact Rita Legault, Director of Communications and Public Relations, 514-868-9044 ext. 223, mobile 514-912-6555, or rita.legault@qcgn.ca.


QCNA Connector

June 2009

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------ Going electronic, or just going? by Fred Ryan

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odern technological advances are the constant talk in the newspaper industry, if “industry” is still the right word. We are using a couple of devices at our papers in West Quebec, and they are phenomenally useful. For example, of course we all use e-mail and it is wonderful. But it is getting dated, with so many neospammers using it to sell, not to mention the e-pandemic of viruses and worms which is slopping around the world. A world-wide network collapse could come at any time. Obama says so. However, in our papers we use a similar tool which lets the user contact a person, anywhere in the world (pretty well anywhere), merely with the time it takes to punch in a code of about ten numbers. That’s quick, but best of all, the contact is direct; we actually speak directly to the person we want. We ask questions, respond with new questions, make asides, tell jokes, and ramble, all in real time. Yes, wow! The telephone takes the shine off email, although email will continue being useful for a long time yet. A second sensational product we use is the display device we sell or give our subscribers. It carries our entire product – all the stories, the research, the photos and graphs, interviews, portraits, analysis, and sports play-byplay, plus all the advertising, including classifieds and public notices. Not only does this display device have great capacity, it is exceptionally clear and easy to read, not back-lit or too bright. It can be marked on with a pen to register questions or interests. And it is incredibly portable; it can be folded or rolled up, stuffed

inside a shoe, even, or used to clean windows. Being non electrical it can be used outside – or in the bath. And it’s cheap. Paper is recyclable, nonpolluting, and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Quite the product. Yes, the telephone and paper have yet to be exceeded by modern technology, although they are certainly being added-to. They’re no longer the only game in the industry. Which is true for the newspaper industry itself. No new media has co-opted all of newspapers’ benefits, but they have certainly added to our industry’s reach and services. However, new media have also made our share of the pie smaller. Our classifieds have been hammered by free web sites. But there is room for us to push out and take back more of the old slice, and it’s being done. Newspapers’ websites and push services are rapidly expanding, although revenues can’t quite match paper. The final advantage newspapers have is our industry’s enormous depth. Newspapers have been around for a long time; they have magnificent archives and valuable information reservoirs. These strengthen our services and they can be marketed directly, by selling access. This final advantage, depth, gives us our final tactic: to make the pie as a whole richer. Our share may be smaller but our profit will not decrease proportionally. If we maximize the benefits of our depth, we outstrip the competition, all of them, because they can’t or won’t spend enough to set up a news gathering, verifying, and editing network, worthy of competing with

newspapers. Blogs have become white noise, not a news media. Commercial blogs and websites often have false names and pretenses, and their number is growing. Our credibility comes with our depth. --- Real newspapers have no competition

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ou’ve heard this before. Write better news; dig up the real news, not giantcheque photo stories. Controversy, curiosity, concern . . . and doubt, plenty of doubt. There is a newspaper recognized for these qualities, with absolutely stunning writers at work, nothing that we community papers can afford, but definitely what we community papers can aim towards. That paper sells around the world and has 155,000 subscribers who pay about $200 per year. That’s right, the Guardian chain in Britain puts out a weekly with the best of its members, plus Le Monde and the Washington Post. I have no idea of their advertising revenues, but they have constant promotions about education, language training, NGOs, etc. But with a subscription income of $31 million in personal cheques per year, it’s hard to say that good journalism, editing, and design don’t pay off. People obviously will pay for real journalism, real newspapers. Are we offering them the real thing, or just more of what they don’t want, but electronically? Fred Ryan is the publisher of the Pontiac Journal, the West Quebec Post, and the Bulletin d’Aylmer, and editor of the last two. He is a member of the QCNA board of directors.


QCNA Connector

June 2009

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Get a pen. I’m going to show you how to make money on your Website Kevin Slimp Institute of Newspaper Technology kevin@kevinslimp.com I’ll never forget my first business. It was a publishing company. I came up with the idea and shared it with a friend during a water skiing outing on Thanksgiving Day 1988. Yes, I lived in Florida back then. We were soon in business and looking for a way to make a profit. Somewhere, we’d both heard the adage, “You have to spend money to make money.” Spend money we did. And we made a tidy profit in return. One of the questions I get asked the most when I’m speaking to groups of publishers is, “How can I make money on my newspaper Web site without spending a fortune?” I’m going to tell you how. Get a pen. I’ll wait. Robert Zimmerman, president of Metro Creative Graphics, has been pestering me for months to look at a product they’ve been working on. Boy, am I glad he did. Here’s the idea: Metro has created special sections - much like the special sections in your print edition - for newspaper Web sites. Not one or two page sections. Full

blown special sections. You find an advertiser or two to sponsor one of these “Microsites” and voila, you’re in the money. These Web sites are a snap to configure and they end up right on your Web site, not on some obscure URL out in the Netherlands. People go to your Web site, click on a link to your special section and they are taken directly to it. Here’s how it works. For around $200 per month, a newspaper can subscribe to the “Timely Features Microsites” service. For this, you receive three special section templates per month. There are special sections related to autos, homes, holidays and more. In a year, you’d receive 36 special section templates to choose from. You can create as few or as many special sections for your newspaper Web site as you’d like. There’s even a handy calculator at timelyfeatures.com to help you calculate just how much money you can make on this service. For example, let’s say you thought you could sell ads for one special section each month for twelve months. Let’s assume you sell three box ads and skyscrapers for $300 apiece in each Microsite. That’s $21,600 in a year. Obviously, if you run a special section related to travel and highways, you should be able to sell a lot more than six ads. But I don’t want

Institute of Newspaper Technology Announces October Lineup Many of you know that Kevin directs a training program for newspaper designers, publishers and I.T. related staff called the Institute of Newspaper Technology. The schedule for the October 15-17, 2009 session is complete and includes classes in InDesign, scripting, photo editing, video production for Web sites, Flash, Illustrator, InCopy, Adobe Bridge, digital photography, audio slideshow creation, fonts, editing photos in camera raw, Photoshop, font management and more. Basic and advanced classes are offered. Instructors include Lisa Griffin, Russell Viers, Jay Nelson, Rob Heller and Kevin Slimp. Guest speakers will also be on hand. For more information, visit newspaperinstitute.com.

Kevin created this “Microsite” in a matter of minutes using Metro’s new product for creating online special sections.

you to get too excited. You can also sell site sponsorships, directory listings and more. According to my calculations, even a small weekly newspaper could make a lot more than $20,000 per year using this service. Here’s the catch. There’s not one. No catch. It works as advertised. I went up to Metro’s Microsites area and created a couple of special sections in about an hour. My favorite is a spring travel section. All the stories and layouts were done for me. I simply uploaded the ads, along with link information, and uploaded the site. Oh, speaking of uploading the site, you don’t even have to do that if you don’t want to. You can hit a “publish” button and the site will be uploaded to your Web site for you. As my friends in New England say, “I kid you not.” If you want to see for yourself, just look at the Microsite I uploaded a few minutes ago. You can find it at KevinSlimp.com. Just click on the “Spring Travel” link on the right side of the home page. A little more detail, to whet your appetite. You can upload JPEG files or animated GIF files in the ad areas. You can also create your own stories and pictures to add to those already available. If you visit the Microsite I created, you’ll notice two stories on the front page that

were placed there just to show you it can be done. As you move between stories, you might also notice that the ads rotate. I created a couple of “skyscraper” and “box” ads for my Microsite. While reading one story, you might see a skyscraper ad for Braincast webinars. When you move to another article, you might seen a different ad in the same place. OK. That’s it. No one is allowed to tell me they can’t make money on their newspaper Web site. For more information, visit timelyfeatures.com.

Where’s Kevin? March 25: Columbus, Ohio March 30-31: Syracuse, New York April 3-4: Saratoga Springs, New York April 17-18: Des Moines, Iowa April 23: Frankfort, Kentucky April 25: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Want to bring Kevin to your office or training event? It’s easy. Email him at:

kevin@kevinslimp.com Catch Kevin’s live webinar training. Get more info at braincast.biz .


QCNA Connector

June 2009

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Challenges when dealing with high def video les Kevin Slimp Institute of Newspaper Technology kevin@kevinslimp.com

Charles,

a community newspaper designer in Kentucky, just sent a question via Facebook asking how to convert files from his Sony camcorder to a format he could use in Adobe Premier CS3, an application used to edit videos on both Macs and PCs. It was a good time for Charles to ask that question because I recently faced a similar challenge after purchasing a Hitachi high definition (HD) Blu-ray camcorder. Let me tell you about my problem, Charles. The Hitachi would record in several formats, depending on the type of disk being recorded on. For instance, when using a DVD, the camcorder would record a Quicktime file. Fortunately these files are compatible with just about every video editing application. However, the resolution (or definition, as it is referred to in the video world) isn’t nearly as sharp as the high definition I get when recording on a BluRay disk. Plus, because the capacity of a Blu-ray

disk is so high, I could record for much longer periods of time without having to change disks. OK. Back to Charles’ question. Sony camcorders generally use the AVCHD format for recording HD videos. If that’s not confusing enough, the file extension (the letters at the end of the file name) is generally m2ts after the files are copied to a computer. The first obstacle I faced was copying the video files to my computer from the camcorder. After using my Hitachi the first time, I was able to simply download the files from the camcorder Blu-ray disk to my Macbook Pro’s hard drive. However, when I tried to do this on my iMac, I received an error message. Eventually it dawned on me that my Macbook was loaded with the 10.5 (Leopard) operating system, while the iMac was loaded with 10.4 (Tiger). Fortunately, I purchased the Leopard upgrade several months ago and never took the time to install it. After upgrading the iMac to Leopard, I was able to download the m2ts files. After downloading the files, I quickly learned that iMovie 08 wouldn’t import m2ts files. You might be surprised to learn that I don’t keep every version of every application on my computer. A quick trip to

Space still remains for Institute of Newspaper Technology Event Many of you know that Kevin directs a training program for newspaper designers, publishers and I.T. related staff called the Institute of Newspaper Technology. Registrations for the October 15-17, 2009 session have been arriving from all over North America. Classes topics include InDesign, scripting, photo editing, video production for Web sites, Flash, Illustrator, InCopy, Adobe Bridge, digital photography, audio slideshow creation, fonts, editing photos in camera raw, Photoshop, font management and more. Basic and advanced classes are offered. Instructors include Lisa Griffin, Russell Viers, Lesa Snider, Jay Nelson, Rob Heller and Kevin Slimp. Guest speakers will also be on hand. For more information, visit newspaperinstitute.com.

Handbrake is an open source (free) utility that converts video les from one format to another.

Google and I learned that these files were compatible with iMovie 09, but not iMovie 08. At this point, I was ready to purchase an AVCHD converter I found online for $39. Then it dawned on me, “I wonder if Adobe Premier Pro will import these files?” Sure enough, using the latest version of Premier Pro (CS4), I was able to import the freshly downloaded m2ts files. Now for a side note: I have most of the professional video editing applications installed on my computer. Premier Pro and Final Cut are both in my Applications folder. However, for most videos I find it’s a lot faster to edit and export movies from iMovie (or Sony Vegas, if I’m working on a PC). To complicate matters even more, I prefer to work in iMovie 06. In later versions of iMovie, many of the tools I like to use were removed to make it more user-friendly to amateur video editors. I was just about ready to throw in the towel and spend $39 for the converter when I decided to do one last search online for alternatives. Sure enough, I found several folks around the world facing the same dilemma. A recent post indicated that the latest (9.3) version of Handbrake would convert m2ts files to AVI. AVI is a file format commonly used on PCs. If you use a Flip camcorder, you’re probably familiar with AVI files. A little about Handbrake. Hand-

brake is an open source (translated “free”) application used to convert files from one format to another. It’s often used to convert files from DVDs into formats that can be used on an iPod or MP3 player. Fortunately for me, Handbrake 9.3 converts m2ts files to AVI. I faced one last obstacle. Quicktime doesn’t play AVI video without a little help. Basically this means iMovie wouldn’t play the AVI videos. There are several free utilities which can be installed to give Quicktime AVI compatibility. I’ve found Perian to be dependable in the past, so I downloaded the install file from perian.org and within a couple of minutes was able to import and view the AVI files in iMovie. Once that was done, I could use the videos like I would any other Quicktime video in iMovie. Apparently, Charles and I aren’t the only newspaper techies who have faced this dilemma. And like so many times before, I learned that my problem could be solved without spending a dime. It just took a little (OK, maybe a lot) of investigation. You may be asking yourself, “Why did Kevin buy a Blu-ray camcorder instead of a HD camcorder with a hard drive?” I’ll answer that in a future column titled, “Paying more attention to the fine print when purchasing a camcorder.” For more information on Handbrake, visit handbrake.fr. Perian can be downloaded from perian.org.


QCNA Connector

June 2009

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Craigslist at $100 million? What to do about it By Peter M. Zollman

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to deliver effective results, no one every way you can. But impose a n all of the massive media coverage will return to your Web site or your surcharge on advertisers unless they of our recent report about Craigslist newspaper / publication. So if you don’t place the ad through your Web site. – it’s generating an estimated $100 compete with free, you’ll soon be out of Mail? Phone? Fax? That’s $10, please. million in revenue in 2009, which is business. The airlines do it; why shouldn’t you? not half-bad for a “free classifieds” site How? --- Require a lot of information. – there was one question that reporters Start with these four simple There’s no reason you can’t offer free asked me over and over again: ads as long as the advertiser posts three “How much of that revenue did recommendations: --- Offer free ads. That doesn’t photos of that car or boat. You can make Craigslist take away from newspapers?” mean all ads have to be free. But you advertisers write more than a handful of We’re not going to play need enough to build interest. Lots of words, as a newspaper ad would have. that game. While it’s true revenue at newspapers still offer free ads as long Make them fill out fields that go into a Craigslist is up – 23 percent over 2008, as the item for sale is priced at less database, with details like VIN, color, according to our calculations – and than $50, or perhaps $100. Ridiculous. make, mileage, price, etc. for a car. Or newspapers are down, waaaaaay down, Insulting. Nonsensical. Drop the number of bedrooms / baths / other Craigslist hasn’t “taken” anything away wimpy limit and make free classifieds features for a house. “Free text” doesn’t from newspapers. First of all, the shift work as well in online classifieds from print to online is as it does in print. Your goal is inexorable. It started to increase searchability. Fielded “Make it easy for people to before Craigslist and data does that. includes thousands of open their wallets and purses to buy If you publish a print classified Web sites, something from you, even if they want classified product, free-ad users not just Craigslist. should be required to give you a free ad.” Second, if users are their phone numbers. Then you shifting to Craigslist can call them or e-mail them because it provides a meaningful. How about a $500 limit and offer a print upsell, or other upsell. better experience for whatever reason now? And maybe you should raise it Even if they’re on a do-not-call list. – it’s cheaper, it’s more effective (or Because (at least in most countries), if almost as effective), it creates a sense of steadily to a $1,000 or even $3,000 limit? you have a prior business relationship community, it provides free personals, --How can you make up for with someone, you can call despite the whatever – then Craigslist isn’t “taking” revenue losses with a higher limit? no-call list. And the free ad establishes anything from newspapers; users are Make sure your ad placement tools that relationship. migrating because they want to. encourage people to spend money. (And while your sales rep is As we all know, “It’s hard to Offer attention-getters. Add highlights on the phone with advertisers, why not compete with free.” and “featured listings.” Provide “top” ask them if they’d like a subscription, But it’s not impossible. And if listings. Make it easy for people to too? They must have been interested in you’re a classified advertising publisher open their wallets and purses to buy your publication for some reason, if they of any stripe, the fact is that Craigslist something from you, even if they want thought it was worth posting an ad to and EBay (Kijiji, Gumtree, Loquo et a free ad. And give them reason to do your Web site.) al); Backpage.com, TV / radio stations, so. Why should someone pay for an and even lots of recruitment / auto / real upgrade on your site? Because “Ads estate sites offering free classifieds. So Peter M. Zollman is founder of the with at least three pictures generate 47 you’ve got to compete with free. AIM Group, which offers publishers “paypercent more page-views.” Or whatever. You’ve also got to compete for-performance” consulting that increases (Hey: I made that statistic up. Do not with free because offering “critical revenue. The AIM Group publishes Classified mass” or “maintaining the marketplace” use it. I’m illustrating a point, not telling Intelligence Report. To buy its recent report are absolute musts for your classifieds to you about results on your site.) about Craigslist, visit AIMGroup.com and click --- Don’t take free ads by on publications. Zollman can be reached at be effective. pzollman@aimgroup.com, 407-788-2780. phone. Or, more accurately, take them If you don’t have enough ads


QCNA Connector

June 2009

10

The power of first impressions By John Foust Raleigh, NC

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nglish literary and social critic William Hazlitt once wrote, “First impressions are often the truest.” In the world of selling, a first impression can make the difference between making a sale and losing a prospect forever. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples: Example 1: Karla is a real estate developer who has been on the receiving end of hundreds of advertising presentations. “I thought I’d seen it all,” she said, “until this one sales person walked into my office with a large, to-go coffee cup, and slurped it during the appointment. “That didn’t surprise me too much,” she admitted, “because I’ve seen that kind of sloppy behavior before. The thing that put him in the Sales Person’s Hall of Shame was when he turned around and poured what was left of the coffee on a potted plant beside the conference table. He laughed and said, ‘Coffee is good for a plant, don’t you know?’ Karla was angry that someone could

be so ill-mannered. “No, I didn’t know that coffee is good for a plant. And no, I never ran advertising in his paper. If he was that careless when he was supposedly trying to make a good impression, how would he act after making a sale? His behavior created a negative image for his employer. “Of course, this is an extreme example,” Karla explained, “but I’ve told my employees this story to illustrate that we should be particularly mindful of our manners when we’re with our customers. There’s nothing complicated about it. When clients come to our office, we should be gracious hosts. And when we go to their offices, we should be gracious guests.” Example 2: My wife and I met with the representative of a roofing company to talk about replacing our roof. On the day of our first appointment, our assigned sales person walked in, took off his shoes, and said, “Since a lot of my work is outside, there may be some dirt on my shoes. I don’t want to track dirt on your clean floors.” Suellen and I instinctively

glanced down, noticed that he was wearing clean socks (without holes!), and welcomed him into our home. Obviously, the roof sales person had a different approach from Karla’s coffee slob. By showing genuine respect for our home, he created a positive first impression for himself and his company. That wasn’t the only reason Suellen and I chose them to do the work, but it did make a difference in our comparisons. We felt confident that his roof installers would show similar respect for our house and yard, and pay close attention to detail. It has been said that first impressions are lasting impressions. In the case of the roof company, our first impression will last for 30-plus years – the length of time the roof is guaranteed to last. In the case of the coffee-in-the-plant guy, the first impression resulted in a determination to never advertise in his paper. (c) Copyright 2009 by John Foust. All rights reserved. E-mail John Foust for information about his training videos for ad departments: jfoust@mindspring.com

LOI - (Links Of Interest) A CBC network map of media ownership in Canada http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ story/2009/06/05/f-canada-mediaownership-network-map.html Le Conseil de Presse du Quebec in Crisis? http://www.ledevoir. com/2009/06/01/252969.html News? Not in our backyard...

http://jsource.ca/english_new/detail. php?id=3932 Inside the government’s messagemaking machine http://jsource.ca/english_new/detail. php?id=3834 How Green Are Newspapers? http://www.cna-acj.ca/en/system/files/ green_news_en_1.pdf

Why advertise (in newspapers) in a recession? http://www.cna-acj.ca/en/system/files/ Why%20advertise%20%28in%20new spapers%29%20in%20a%20recession. pdf Craigslist to make 100 million in revenue this year http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_ content_id=1003981850


QCNA Connector

June 2009

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Get your scissors and tape ready: Here’s Kevin’s list of favorite products Kevin Slimp Institute of Newspaper Technology kevin@kevinslimp.com Each year, I release a list of hardware and software recommendations for newspapers. With newspapers spending less this year, I’ve trimmed this list to items which tend to be of most interest. So get your scissors and tape ready. Here’s my 2009 list of recommended hardware and software for newspapers: Mid-Priced Cameras It’s a great time to purchase a new camera. The mix of quality and prices has never been better. Here are a couple of my favorites: Canon 450D (Rebel XSi): Even though it’s been on the market for over a year, the 450D still packs a lot of punch for the money. With a resolution of over 12 Mb, the Rebel XSi boasts LiveView, which allows you to see the image you’re shooting through the screen on the back of the camera,

as well as the ability to shoot up to 53 continuous pictures at 3.5 frames per second. And it’s hard to beat the ever-decreasing price, which is getting closer to $500 with each passing day. Nikon D5000: Just released in April, the D5000 is built upon the small chassis of the D60 but adds many attributes of the D90. A notable feature borrowed from the D90 is high-definition video capability. The D5000 can record video at 720p (1280720 pixels at 24 frames per second), and video can be captured using a Nikkor lens. With a resolution of 12.3 Mb and a speed of 4 frames per second, the $729 price tag seems almost too good to be true. Scanner Epson 4490: Epson continues to offer the best scanners for the money. The 4490 has been around for over a year, but it still offers the most bang for the buck. At a minimum, scanners should be replaced every two years. The quality of the scans depreciates significantly after a b o u t 18 months. If it’s price that’s holding you back, Epson has

Institute of Newspaper Technology Announces October Lineup Many of you know that Kevin directs a training program for newspaper designers, publishers and I.T. related staff called the Institute of Newspaper Technology. The schedule for the October 15-17, 2009 session is complete and includes classes in InDesign, scripting, photo editing, video production for Web sites, Flash, Illustrator, InCopy, Adobe Bridge, digital photography, audio slideshow creation, fonts, editing photos in camera raw, Photoshop, font management and more. Basic and advanced classes are offered. Instructors include Lisa Griffin, Russell Viers, Lesa Snider, Jay Nelson, Rob Heller and Kevin Slimp. Guest speakers will also be on hand. For more information, visit newspaperinstitute.com.

The Sony Webbie comes in three colors and two styles. Use it to shoot high denition video or 5 megapixel photos.

models starting at $49 and, if you want to spend a little more, the Epson V500 offers twice the resolution for $199. For value and quality, it’s hard to beat the 4490. Desktop Computer iMac: For page layout and design, you can’t beat the iMac. Well, you can beat it (Mac Pro), but you’d spend about $1,500 more (with the monitor) and rarely notice the difference in speed. For $1,499, you get 4 Gb RAM and a built-in 24 inch monitor. Software Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.0: The latest rendition of Acrobat includes two features that make it well worth the $150 upgrade price. The first is Acrobat’s ability to convert fonts to curves, relieving users of all the printing errors that can occur when CID fonts make their way into PDF files. The second is the Color Conversion tool that actually works the way you hoped it would. With a couple of clicks of your mouse, all colors are converted to grayscale, CMYK or whatever. GIMP: A free application offering many of Photoshop’s features. Available on both Mac and PC platforms, GIMP lacks the ability to work with RAW format images but includes most other features used by newspapers when editing photos. It’s very handy for folks who normally wouldn’t have Photoshop available, yet need an option for quickly changing the wrong color format or resolution. Free downloads are avail-

able at gimp.org. Backup Drive LaCie Big Disk Quadra: LaCie has built my favorite backup disks for a long time and they continue to bring home the awards to prove their merit. The Big Disk Quadra offers four interfaces - eSATA, USB, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 to satisfy just about any computer specifications. Available in several sizes, the 2 Tb version lists for $399. Online Tools Publish2.com: Create your own Web page - increasing traffic to your site - using links to content that’s already been created on other sites. It couldn’t be easier. Plus it’s free. Ning.com: Don’t go to the trouble of programming your own social networking site when Ning does it for you for free. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a site up and running. To see an example of a site created by a newspaper, visit gosmokies.ning.com. Video Camera Sony Webbie: There are two versions of this handy camcorder. Both offer high definition video and 5 MP still photos. The audio is excellent for the price, and the camcorders are small enough to fit in your jacket pocket. Choose from two styles and several colors. $169-$189. OK. Go ahead and tape this to your wall or, better yet, your boss’s wall. There’s a good chance it will still be there in 20 years.


QCNA Connector

June 2009

12

The Biggest Names in Newspaper Technology in one place over three incredible days in October

Kevin Slimp

Lisa Griffin

Jay Nelson

Lesa Snider King

Russell Viers

Rob Heller

Once a year, the top names in newspaper training gather in one place for an incredible learning experience. Held on campus at The University of Tennessee (Knoxville), the Institute of Newspaper Technology offers three days of training in the areas most needed by newspaper designers and Internet specialists. Classes in Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Video Production, Illustrator, New Technologies, Color Correction, Web Slideshows, PDF Troubleshooting and much more are offered during this unparalleled event. For more information, visit:

Oct. 15-17, 2009 University of Tennessee

version

X II .


QCNA Connector

June 2009

13

Smaller … but smarter

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o, the boss just made some cuts Tomorrow, two of your friends will be looking for jobs. And one of them was an editor who did some of the page design for your weekly. It’s now down to you and the sports editor to crank out pages every week—at least until the economy gets better.

like the calendar or the church listings. And maybe they’d welcome the opportunity to help with an illustration when you don’t have time to run out for that feature photo. The folks in accounting might be able to give you that chart you need to go with the city tax story. JAZZFEST: Get on down and get the blues—this weekend. Page 13

Journal THE MIDBURY

Stuff happens. We can’t wish it away. So now we have to show that we can work smaller…but smarter. We have to find some way to stretch our already-tight time so we can get everything done. Here are some suggestions: PLAN: Set out your schedule to give yourself plenty of time to design. If it used to take you half a day, start by allowing yourself a full day to get all those pages done. You can always shorten that time as you gain confidence and experience at doing more pages. WORK AHEAD: You don’t have to do all those pages on deadline, do ya? Surely there are some—perhaps the community calendar page or Lifestyles—that you can be working on days ahead of time. Certainly, there’s no reason to hold onto the Opinion page until deadline day. GET HELP: There’s no sacrilege in asking the ad design staff for a little bit of help now and then. Perhaps they’ll agree to clear away some of the pages that don’t require much time,

Wednesday, Sept.8—Saturday, Sept. 11, 2006 | midburyjournal.com | 50 Cents

NOTABLE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW

AGENDA WHAT YOUR OFFICIALS ARE UP TO

DEATHS

ON THE POLL RESULTS FROM OUR LATEST WEB SITE POLL

INSIDE

JAZZFEST: Get on down and get the blues—this weekend. Page 13

Journal THE MIDBURY

Wednesday, Sept.8—Saturday, Sept. 11, 2006 | midburyjournal.com | 50 Cents

NOTABLE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW

AGENDA WHAT YOUR OFFICIALS ARE UP TO

If you’re interested in seeing ideas for page 1 models, contact me and I’ll be happy to send some your way! STICK WITH IT: This is not the time to search for new reporting methods and new design approaches. This is more like “hunker-down-inthe-trenches” time. Stick with what you know, but do it faster and better. No one—including readers—ever expects miracles from you. But they do have a right to expect quality, professional work, even if times are tough

DEATHS

ON THE POLL RESULTS FROM OUR LATEST WEB SITE POLL

INSIDE

Page models can save you valuable time now that you have more time now that you have more pages to clear.

GIVE HELP: Look for ways you can help out, too: As long as you’re out on that photo shoot, you might just be able to get a quick shot of that new business for the new ads the advertising department is planning on. MODELS: For most small newspapers, there are only about a half-dozen different approaches to page 1. Create some models so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel with every issue. Your page doesn’t have to be designed exactly to the model, though. The idea is to give yourself a place to start—and models do just that.

BE CONSISTENT: Give your readers the same newspaper from issue to issue. Readers want a paper that’s readable, reliable and credible. And they depend on you to be a stable source of community news. Even if you have fewer pages with tighter space, they still want to find pages and content elements in predictable places. Even in tough times—and even with a smaller staff—you can still do professional work. Yes, you’re going to work harder, but the key is to also work smarter. FREE DESIGN EVALUATION: Ed Henninger offers design evaluations—at no charge and with no obligation—to readers of this column. For more information, check the FREEBIE page on Ed’s webs site: www.henningerconsulting.com ED HENNINGER is an independent newspaper consultant and the Director of Henninger Consulting. Offering comprehensive newspaper design services including redesigns, workshops, staff training and evaluations. E-mail: edh@henningerconsulting.com. On the web: www. henningerconsulting.com. Phone: 803-327-3322.


QCNA Connector

June 2009

14veryone

Henninger Consulting redesign wins first place

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he Western Catholic Reporter, a tabloid format weekly recently redesigned by Ed Henninger, has been named the best designed church paper in Canada. Henninger writes the monthly newspaper design column for Publishers’ Auxiliary. The Canadian Church Press (CCP) awarded The Western Catholic Reporter its top prize at its annual awards banquet May 15. The judge, Gordon Preece, art director for the Winnipeg Free Press, said The Western Catholic Reporter had “a sophisticated presentation of news through images, design and typography. “Every page is a surprise, interesting in its treatment, complex in

design, yet easy to read.” The Western Catholic Reporter is “a paper to be proud of,” he said. Henninger spent a week in Edmonton redesigning The Western Catholic Reporter last October. During his time there, he worked closely with Editor Glen Argan and News Editor Lasha Morningstar, focusing on design and training. The Western Catholic Reporter is one of three Catholic newspaper Henninger has redesigned in recent months. The Compass, in Green Bay, WI, and The Long Island Catholic in Rockville Centre, NY, also recently introduced their redesigns. Henninger is Director of Henninger Consulting in Rock Hill, SC, and has designed newspapers in

the U.S., Canada and Eastern Europe. Henninger’s “101 Henninger Helpful Hints” is available now at the introductory sale price of only $15 in pdf format and $20 for the CD. And, to celebrate the launch of 101 Henninger Helpful Hints, Ed has placed his first design book, Henninger on Design, on sale, too. Details on Ed’s books are available on his web site: www. henningerconsulting.com. Check them out now! He can be reached at edh@ henningerconsulting.com or 803-3273322.

QCNA STAFF GREG DUNCAN, Executive Director CAROLYN KITZANUK, Administrative Assistant MARNIE OWSTON, Advertising Coordinator & Bookkeeper

Mission Statement The Quebec Community Newspapers Association is dedicated to the professional and economic development of English community newspapers and their enterprises serving minority communities in Quebec. Quebec Community Newspapers Association 400 Grand Boulevard, Suite 5 Ile Perrot, QC J7V 4X2 Tel. 514-453-6300 Fax 514-453-6330 Email: info@qcna.qc.ca Website: www.qcna.org

QCNA acknowledges the support of The Department of Canadian Heritabge and Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture, Communications et Condition féminine.

Newsletter June 2009  

Newsletter June 2009

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