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Volume 23 – Number 5

An information publication of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, Brookings, SD

September/October 2009

First Amendment Committee tackles open government issues An update on a judicial task force looking at the probability of cameras in South Dakota courtrooms and a discussion about the state’s new open records law were among the items discussed when the SDNA First Amendment Committee met Oct. 8 in Vermillion. The meeting, held at USD’s Neuharth Center in conjunction with Al Neuharth Excellence in Media Award activities, also gave committee members an opportunity to discuss the 2010 legislative session and open government issues that could surface during the session. The Oct. 8 meeting was the first under new committee chairman Ross Ulrich, publisher of the Daily Republic at Mitchell. Ulrich took over as chairman for Freeman Courier Publisher Tim Waltner, who had served as chairman since 2001 when the committee was formed. Waltner remains on the committee (see page 2). Tena Haraldson, chief of bureau for the Associated Press in the Dakotas and Nebraska, updated committee members on the task force that has been meeting the past several months to consider the possibility of allowing cameras in circuit courtrooms in South Dakota. She, along with Watertown Public Opinion Publisher Mark Roby, serve on the task force appointed by Chief Justice David Gilbertson. Currently, cameras are allowed in state Supreme Court proceedings. One proposal receiving the most support among the cameras task force members would allow cameras in circuit court provided that all parties involved agree to it. It is a model similar to what Minnesota courts use now. Haraldson said the judicial task force will be meeting again before a recommendation is forwarded to the state Supreme Court for their consideration.

Members of the SDNA First Amendment Committee met Oct. 8 in Vermillion in conjunction with the Neuharth Excellence in Media Award Day activities. The committee discussed various issues, including the new open records law, proposals for allowing cameras in South Dakota courtrooms, and the 2010 legislative session. Members of the committee include, clockwise from left: SDNA President Hollie Stalder, Aberdeen American News Publisher David Leone, Sioux Falls Argus Leader Executive Editor Maricarrol Kueter, Committee Chair and Mitchell Daily Republic Publisher Ross Ulrich, Black Hills Pioneer Publisher Stewart Huntington, Vermillion Plain Talk Editor Dave Lias and Freeman Courier Publisher Tim Waltner.

The consensus among First Amendment Committee members was that all SDNA member newspapers need to be involved in the public discussion in the coming months as the Supreme Court nears a decision. Committee members discussed the new open records law and agreed that SDNA members should be queried to determine

their experiences under the new law, which went into effect July 1. Committee members plan to use the member responses to develop a list of proposals for possibly amending the new law in the 2010 legislative session and beyond. The effectiveness of the Open Meetings

Commission also was discussed by the committee. Members discussed the timeliness of decisions reached by the commission, as well as the penalty provisions. The First Amendment Committee plans to meet again Jan. 28, 2010, in Pierre in conjunction with Newspaper Day at the Legislature.

Anne Cassens: Eight years later, still learning This issue, we share five questions with Anne Cloyd Cassens, publisher of the Edgemont Herald-Tribune, located in the southwest corner of the state. The HeraldTribune has a circulation of 655. How did you get started in newspapering? I remember writing “stories” and keeping a journal from the earliest I could write, second grade if not before!! I was on the newspaper staff in eighth grade if you can count that. I loved it but never considered it as a career. I went on to high school, and college, majoring in physical therapy. I spent the next twenty years working in various aspects of health care as a physical therapist. I always wanted to write something that would inspire and inform other people. In 2001 the local paper was for sale or would be closed down. I was encouraged to buy it. Tired of the politics of health care, and tired of driving so many miles to work, I bought it.

Now eight years later I’m still learning. What gives you the most satisfaction from publishing a weekly newspaper? I think it’s the thought that we are preserving our little town’s history “one week at a time”. And when people thank me for some news or opinion column I’ve written I feel like I’ve shared a little of my world with others. What gives you the biggest headaches? Software that is constantly changing. Even though it may be improving, it is hard to keep up with. Computer hardware that some days seems to have its own personality problems: even though you do the same thing twice, different things result! Occasionally it is sending a page to print that you think is perfect, only to get it back and find out a photo is pixelated. Sometimes it is realizing that something I wrote has been misunderstood because my readers are looking at it from a different

perspective. Occasionally it is people who complain verbally and yet they won’t write their views and print them! When you are not working on the paper, what do you like to do? I love to hike in my beautiful Black Hills with a human friend and/or a dog: whether it’s in my backyard or up Harney Peak. I also enjoy spending time with family, reading, gardening, sewing, photography. Where do you see community newspapers in five years? Wow, I sure hope we are still here preserving history! I hope there are still some small towns LEFT in South Dakota. I think we will see much more integration between our print editions and our web editions and Web news sites. I think the news editions will continue weekly and the Web editions will be more frequent than that. I think we may see higher prices on our subscriptions both print and online to make up for some lost advertising revenues

Anne Cloyd Cassens

unless the business economy improves.


2 • September/October 2009

South Dakota Newspapers

Let’s give the press some good press Enough already. Enough with all the negative news about the demise of the newspaper industry. Stop it. Stop it, because it’s not true! News Bulletin: South Dakota newspapers are alive and kicking, thank you. And we will continue to do what we do best for many, many years to come. And that is to provide the communities we serve with local news, information and advertising. I encourage all members to run the promotion ads that SDNA is providing as a way to combat all the negativity and misconceptions about newspapers. Let’s tell our story. ■ A free site for any member We continue to work on our association plan to provide a free, basic Web site to any member newspaper that does not have a site or would like to take advantage of what the association is offering. For an example of a few weekly member newspapers that are doing well with the free site template offered by SDNA, go to www. or www.siouxvalleynews.

NEWSPAPERS (USPS Permit #003537) © Copyright 2009 By South Dakota Newspaper Association David C. Bordewyk ....... Publisher/Editor Sandy DeBeer .............. Pagination

Published bi-monthly by South Dakota Newspaper Association, 1125 32nd Ave., Brookings, SD 57006, and at additional office Telephone: 800-658-3697 Periodicals Class Postage paid at Brookings, SD 57006 Subscription price: $15 per year. SDNA Officers President Hollie Stalder / Lawrence County Journal, Deadwood First Vice President Doug Card / The Britton Journal Second Vice President Lucy Halverson / Lyman County Herald, Presho Third Vice President Charley Najacht / Custer County Chronicle Past President Mark Roby / Public Opinion, Watertown Board Members Paul Buum / The Alcester Union & Hudsonite David Leone / American News, Aberdeen

SDNA Staff David C. Bordewyk / General Manager Cherie Jensen / Assistant Manager John Brooks / Advertising Sales Manager Sandy DeBeer Advertising Assistant Cheryl Busch / Advertising Assistant Darla McCullough / Advertising Sales Assistant

SOUTH DAKOTA NEWSPAPERS is the official trade publication for the South Dakota Newspaper Association, representing daily and weekly newspapers in the state.

Postmaster: Send change of address to South Dakota Newspaper Association, 1125 32nd Ave., Brookings, SD 57006

Presidential Perspectives Hollie Stalder President / SDNA Lawrence County Journal, Deadwood Again, these are simple sites, but they do allow any member newspaper the opportunity to have an easy-to-use online presence for posting some news and information. Plus, there are great opportunities with these sites to make some money. The association has built in some advertising spots on each site. Also, think about the possibility of selling photo reprints online. Publish a photo or two from the Friday night game and then direct readers to your online site to view more photos from the game (and buy reprints). Many newspapers are having success realizing some good revenue from this. Our association is getting more and more inquiries from advertisers and agencies interested in advertising on newspapers’ Web sites. We need to be able to respond to those requests and turn them into revenue for you. If we don’t accommodate those requests, someone else will. If you are interested in learning more about how you can develop an easy-to-

use Web presence for your newspaper and community, please contact SDNA General Manager David Bordewyk, myself or any member of the SDNA Board. We would be happy to help. And did I mention the Web site is FREE! ■ ND & SD Boards to meet The SDNA Board will meet with members of the North Dakota Newspaper Association Board in November during the SDNA Board’s fall meeting in Pierre. The idea for the two state association boards getting together came from a brainstorming session at our summer board meeting. Our two associations are similar in terms of size and makeup of membership and the communities we serve. We both provide similar services and programs. Our board thought it would be worthwhile (and fun) to have a get-together and discuss our commonalities as well as those things that may differentiate us. I’m sure there will be much we can learn by getting together. Besides a few hours of discussion time, we will also treat our North Dakota neighbors to a tour of our state capitol. And we will reciprocate. Next year sometime we will travel north of the border to meet again with the NDNA board. The SDNA board will have a full agenda when it meets Nov. 11-12 in Pierre. Besides working on a budget plan for our

association for 2010 and discussing the 2010 legislative session, the board also will meet with new Attorney General Marty Jackley. The meeting with the new AG will be an opportunity to discuss a variety of open government topics and issues. ■ Countdown to legislature The 2010 legislative session will convene Jan. 12 in Pierre. Not surprisingly, a growing state government budget deficit will consume much of legislators’ time and energy in the coming weeks and months. Still, there will be many other issues that will confront legislators. Now is the time that all of us need to be visiting with our elected officials about the upcoming session and discuss the issues that we promote and track. I know some member newspapers are planning legislative gettogethers before the session and I encourage all of you to do the same. Our association general manager will be happy to attend any gatherings you plan between now and the start of the session. It’s a great opportunity to discuss important issues before the hectic pace of the legislative session begins. And, I urge you to mark Jan. 28, 2010, on your calendar. That will be Newspaper Day at the Legislature. We look forward to seeing you in Pierre on that day!

Waltner’s passion on open government fuels leadership for SDNA committee “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” If you have attended an SDNA convention in recent years, it’s likely you have heard Tim Waltner proclaim those words at our banquet. As chairman of the SDNA First Amendment Committee and the person responsible for presenting the association’s Eagle Award for Public’s Right to Know, Tim would begin the awarding with a recitation of the First Amendment. He did it with passion and conviction, capturing the attention of everyone in the room quickly. Tim had been chairman of the SDNA First Amendment Committee since it was first organized in 2001 by then-SDNA President Arnold Garson. Tim stepped down this fall as chairman of the committee. He has been trying to do so for the past few years, saying it was time for someone else to take the lead on the committee. Ross Ulrich, publisher of the Daily Republic at Mitchell, is the new committee chairman. The passion which Tim demonstrated each convention in reciting the First Amendment is indicative of the commitment he brought to the job on the First Amendment Committee. Committees within our association come and go as needs and other factors dictate, but the First Amendment Committee has been a steadying force ever since 2001. The committee has taken the lead on several open government and First Amendment fronts in our state. Just consider the benchmarks and achievements on these fronts in our state in recent years and you will find the footprint of the First Amendment Committee on it. Everything from the first open government task force formed by Attorney General Larry Long in 2002 to changes in our open

Manager’s Message David Bordewyk SDNA General Manager

meetings law and the old “gag law.” The landmark open records legislation this year was fueled in large part by that First Amendment Committee. The annual presentation of the SDNA Eagle Award at our convention has become a highlight, putting a spotlight on someone who has made a difference on open government issues in South Dakota. That award was a brainchild of the committee. Tim was recognized for his leadership

and service when the committee met a few weeks ago in Vermillion in conjunction with the Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media day. During a luncheon at the Neuharth Center on the USD campus, SDNA President Hollie Stalder thanked Tim for his work and dedication. This was not the first time Tim has contributed mightily to SDNA. He is the only member to have served two terms as SDNA president in the early 1990s. Tim remains a member of the First Amendment Committee. Like all members, his advice and ideas will continue to fuel the committee’s work on behalf of SDNA and open government in South Dakota. SDNA is better because of Tim’s work. And so is South Dakota.

Freeman Courier Publisher Tim Waltner, second from left, was honored Oct. 8 at the Neuharth Center in Vermillion for his years as chairman of the SDNA First Amendment Committee. The committee was meeting at the Neuharth Center in conjunction with Neuharth Excellence in Media Award Day activities. Also present were SDNA President Hollie Stalder, Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal Publisher Arnold Garson and Freedom Forum Neuharth Center Executive Director Jack Marsh. Garson was president of SDNA in 2001 when he appointed Waltner to head up the newly formed First Amendment Committee.

September/October 2009 • 3

South Dakota Newspapers

The future of newspapers?

Things are starting to get clearer Kevin Slimp Director, Institute of Newspaper Technology I’m seeing good things of late. People are starting to come out to conventions and training sessions again. Newspapers tell me they’re starting to refill positions that were cut last year. There’s an air of confidence in the industry, be it ever so slight, that gives me sincere hope for our future. One of the changes I’ve noticed most is the dissipation of gloom that seemed to pervade our industry just a few months ago. It’s like we woke from a bad dream to find that things aren’t really as bad as we thought they were. Sure there have been some scary months. And there will be more to come. But I think most of us have decided we’re going to be around for a while, so we might as well get things in order. The atmosphere at recent conferences in Saskatoon and Chicago was almost - dare I say - giddy. When newspaper people gather, they’re laughing again. Six months ago, I worried whether we’d be able to attract enough attendees to hold another session of the Institute of Newspaper Technology. But October came and the session filled to capacity. We’re starting to give serious thought to questions about the future of newspapers. Maybe news won’t be printed on paper in a few years, as my friend Ken Blum has stated. Then again, maybe it will. He and I can continue to fight that battle over lunch the next time we’re together. The fact remains that we as an industry are finally realizing we control our own fate to a large degree, and it looks like we’re ready to begin steering our own course once again. Admittedly, I’ve not been immune to the feelings of gloom. As newspapers worried, conference attendance declined. Three of my booked events at conferences were cancelled this year, a first for me. Less newspapers were calling for on-site consulting and training. But just as the mood seemed to change among our papers, the phone (well, e-mail) began to ring again. Over the past few days, several state, regional, national and even a couple of international associations have called to book sessions at conferences in 2010. Sure, we’re not out of the woods. But I see the clearing. And after the past couple of years, I’m going to allow myself to enjoy that for a while.

Weekly work pays dividends Editor’s note: Jay Wagner, a former Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter, died on June 15. Jay, 38, was the editorial director at Business Publications Corp. in Des Moines, a publishing company that produces an alternative newspaper, a business journal, websites, and magazines. While he was in Sheldon, Iowa, The Northwest Iowa REVIEW was named Iowa Newspaper of the Year four times. This year, he became the youngest recipient to ever receive the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Distinguished Service Award for career contributions to the industry. This article was submitted to the Iowa Newspaper Association in 2002, and ran in INA’s Bulletin in July 2009. I edited The Northwest Iowa REVIEW, a small town weekly in Sheldon, Iowa, for ten years and welcomed -- and then wished fond travels to -- dozens of journalists. We ran a good newspaper because we hired great reporters and writers. I tried to be straight with them from the start: • Your experience here will be a lot like the Army. You may, at times, hate it while you’re here but years from now you will tell people it was a great way to set your foundation for a strong career. • Do good work, and in a couple of years decide what you want to do with your life -- if you want to stay here, that’s great -- and I will help you take the next step. • We don’t sign employment contracts, but I would encourage you to spend three years here. The first year you will learn about our operation, about the community, and develop sources. The second year, you will begin to contribute, but you will probably still depend on us to lead you. The third year you will see what it’s like to be a newsroom leader. That’s a valuable experience to have and it also ensures that we get something out of the deal. (Some people lived up to their end of that, others didn’t. Most of those who didn’t are no longer in the business or are toiling away at another in a long string of weeklies.) • The great thing about small-town newspapers is that because we have a small staff, you can develop your skills in a lot of different ways. Think you want to be a columnist? We’ve got lots of space in the newspaper and we’ll let you write

a column. Want to be an investigative reporter? You’ll have to learn how to make the time to do the gumshoe thing, but we’ll find room to give your stories good display. Want to work on Jay Wagner your photography or page design skills? We print a new newspaper every week and, usually, the old ones go in the bird cage or line the dog’s box. Take chances and we’ll have a lot of fun breaking rules and putting out a bold newspaper. • It takes a special person to live in a small town, especially if you come from the city. There’s not a variety of ethnic restaurants here, so if you like French food you had better buy a good set of pans and learn to cook. The video store offers all the movies you could watch, but you might need to drive into the city (60 miles away) every month or so if you want to see first-run shows. The high school has something going on every night. Plays, athletics, lectures, adult education. Get to know some of the kids in the school -- and their teachers -- and then take advantage of what is offered. It’s cheap. It’s fun. • The library is the only place to get new releases. Learn how to put your name on the reserve list if you like Grisham and can’t wait to read his new book. • New teachers start in August. Remember that because you’ll want to volunteer to do the new teacher story for the newspaper. It’s the best way to meet young, dateable people in town. • You’ll never again have the experience of writing about inept city government on Wednesday and then sitting with the mayor in the bass section at church choir practice on Thursday night. It teaches you humility and adds a whole new dimension to the importance of accuracy and fairness. • If you want to write great stories, you’re going to have to look for great stories. We can fill the newspaper up with stories based on the calendar: budgets, planting and harvest season, first day of school, etc. But we don’t want to do that. So learn to

find great stories. Here are some places to look: - The classified ads in our newspaper. - The bulletin boards at the grocery story, the church, town hall, etc. - The student newspaper, church bulletins, employee newsletters, the Chamber of Commerce newsletter. • Also, don’t drive to work the same way every day. This isn’t the biggest town in Iowa, but there are 44 streets and 32 avenues. Get in the habit of driving all of them. • Have coffee with the guys who crowd into the booth at the drug store at 10 a.m. (and remember the new guy often has to pay). They know what’s going on before most of us. Listen to what they talk about. • Pay as much attention to the banter before or after the government board meetings as you do the meetings themselves. • Get in the habit of asking people: “What’s new?” People like to be drafted as deputy reporters and they get excited when they point you to a good story. • Be as nice to the secretaries as you are to the big shots. A ticked off secretary can be more valuable than five council members. Don’t be surprised when they ask a lot of personal questions. Call it nosiness if you want to, but often times its a case of them being interested in you. Share little secrets. Bring donuts to the clerk’s office on the morning you go through the dockets. It’ll pay off. • Read the morgue when you are waiting for telephone calls. Lots has happened here. You need to develop an institutional memory and reading old papers is the best way to do that. • Don’t go away every weekend, no matter how lonely you are. We have fun here, too. Try out the festivals. Go to the parks. Get drunk at the Uptown Lounge at least once while you are here (and the sooner the better). It’ll open up new worlds to you, even if it’s the tiny world of Sheldon, Iowa. I eventually landed at The Des Moines Register, where my city editor once told me that “You can find stories in your sleep. You go to church and you come back with a page one story.” That’s the kind of training I got when I started at a weekly and it still pays dividends today.

4 • September/October 2009

South Dakota Newspapers

Overcoming the challenges of reporting on school referendums By Jim Pumarlo

How many editors have been challenged to present balanced reporting of labor disputes? It’s often a predicament, as usually one side – the union – does all the talking, and the other side – the management – largely remains mum. The dynamics make it terribly difficult to give fair, ongoing coverage in what can be a weeks-long confrontation. The circumstances are strikingly similar in what is an increasingly common story in communities of all sizes: referendums seeking additional taxes for school operations and/or buildings. Coverage of what occurs inside and outside classrooms is a priority at most community newspapers. So, when school boards and citizen groups seek additional funds on the theory that more money delivers a better education, they simply expect newspaper support, too. And newspapers may well deliver that support – on the opinion page. But readers must be aware of the distinctive roles between an editorial endorsement and balanced news coverage of the arguments for and against higher taxes for schools. Most newsrooms have probably witnessed this scenario: The “Vote Yes” committee has the formal support of the school board. Lining up right behind are the teachers, the support staff, the parent-teacher organizations, the student council, organized labor and the chamber of commerce. These groups may go toe-totoe on some issues – for example, teacher wage negotiations. But when it comes to school referendums, they become one happy family. The broad representation usually results in a well-financed campaign, too, including substantial advertising, numerous mailings

to households, community forums and maybe even yard signs. And it all is guided by a paid consultant. Any referendum opponents are usually dwarfed in their efforts due to a lack of resources. If they do have the ability to organize, they often are reluctant to be too visible for fear that they will be branded as anti-kids. The circumstances notwithstanding, editors and reporters m u s t go the extra mile to thoroughly examine the issues. That means questioning all the facts advanced by the “pro” campaign and presenting the other side of the argument whenever possible. In that regard, newsrooms do have many resources at their disposal. Education data is sliced and diced numerous ways, and much of it is accessible through state and federal education department Web sites. Name an education statistic, and it’s a good bet someone or some organization has analyzed it. A quick search on the Internet will likely yield a wealth of data. If groups have hired consultants to steer their campaigns, see where else they have been hired and determine how the campaigns were run. Find out if the efforts were successful. Your peers are another valuable resource. Check with other communities where schools have sought referendums, and ask those editors how they coordinated coverage. Press them as to what they would

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have done differently, if anything. Editors face the same decisions as they do with any political campaign. What meetings should be covered? Which press releases should be published, and which warrant a response in the same story? How will orchestrated letter campaigns be handled? The biggest challenges are likely separating the wheat from the chaff in material advanced by the respective campaigns. Editors m u s t review a n d question t h e arguments and materials advanced by both the “Vote Yes” and “Vote No” campaigns, whether they are finely tuned or loosely organized. Most importantly, news coverage should explore what the community will receive in exchange for the increased funding. Advocates routinely solicit support on the basis that more money will enhance the learning experience and thus improve students’ education and their ability to contribute to society. Reporters should challenge the advocates to delineate their

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goals in the area of student achievement, for example, and ask them to provide a schedule for delivering those results. Press them to be clear in how and when they will report progress toward these goals. The extra scrutiny of these campaigns will certainly draw the wrath of individuals on both sides of the issue, especially among school officials and other referendum proponents, who will likely charge the newspaper as being anti-education – even if the newspaper recommends passage on its editorial page. The truth is that the community will be stronger by a thorough examination of the issues. The referendum should pass or fail on the strength of its merits, not just on the strength of one group of supporters or the other. There is no right or wrong way to present continuing coverage of school referendums. The bottom line is that newsrooms must be prepared for the special dynamics inherent in covering these campaigns.

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September/October 2009 • 5

South Dakota Newspapers

Looking for great ideas for your newspaper web site? Wendy MacDonald, with Family Features, has been after me for years to take a look at their products for newspapers. I’ve seen their booth at dozens of newspaper conferences over the past three or four years, and I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of free content for papers. However, it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly appreciated the value of their offerings. For those unfamiliar with Family Features, they provide free editorial content spanning a variety of themes. Materials are developed in conjunction with nationally recognized sponsors and can be used as provided or customized to meet your needs. Basically, they provide stories and other material related to food, lifestyle, gardening and other topics. How do they make their money, you ask? They include names and products by sponsors including American Heart Association, Nestlé and General Mills, among others. Imagine product placement, like they have in movies, in papers and you

Newspaper Technology Kevin Slimp Director, Institute of Newspaper Technology have the idea. Yesterday, I spent part of the afternoon on the phone discussing products being developed by Family Features. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a look at online content already available from this group and, boy, I am glad I did. Here are just a few: • Automatically Updated HTML Feed • Imagine content that automatically updates itself on your Web site. You designate the area and page(s). This means you can create pages for this content with room for ads that you sell. You select content from three areas: Food & Recipes (my favorite), Home & Lifestyles and Lawn & Garden. After the initial setup, which takes just a few minutes,

the only time you’ll spend on these pages will be to get new recipes and upload your own ads. And, for those savvy designers, there is an XML version that gives you even great flexibility. • HTML Pages • Family Features offers HTML versions of their content and recipes, which you can place on your own site. By having the material already saved in HTML format, you can create pages on your own Web site without spending hours on layout and design. • Niche Newspaper Sites • These are “camera ready” pages ready to place on your Web site. With your banner in its normal position at the top of the screen, it looks like your staff has spent days creating these attractive and informative sites. Related to the areas mentioned earlier (Food & Recipes, Home & Lifestyles and Lawn & Garden), you choose the sites you want to use and place the material directly on your pages. • Videos • Videos are available that

can be embedded directly onto your Web pages. They are hosted on servers at Family Features, so they don’t take up valuable space on your server. By simply placing scripts on your pages (Don’t worry. Your Web guru will know how to do this), you will have recipes and regular feature videos (The Blue Bunny Kitchen is a lot of fun) to use on your site. As an added bonus, most videos have print content that go with them. This means you can include a food column in your paper and point readers to your Web site to see a video related to a recipe in the column. As I mentioned, there is no cost for any of this. After a quick online registration, you’ll be downloading and using Family Feature’s content in your newspaper and on your Web site. Honestly, I think you’ll have to see this to believe it for yourself. For more information, or to see samples for yourself, visit and click on the link for “Web Solutions” on the left sidebar.

South Dakota newspapers are here to stay... kota newspapers

Realities and myths about South Da

Paul Niemann stars as Ladybird Johnson in this Red, White & True Mystery.

Red, White & True Mysteries video series I ran into Paul Niemann at a newspaper conference in Missouri a few months ago. It seems that Paul has made a living writing a series called “Red, White & True Mysteries” for newspapers in the Midwest region of the United States since 2003. Primarily used in N.I.E. (Newspapers in Education) programs, these mysteries are based on famous Americans. The idea is that children can read the information about a famous historical figure, then try to guess who it is. Earlier this year, Paul began creating high-quality videos for newspaper, television and radio Web sites. Based on the materials from his printed mysteries, Paul dresses as a historical figure while the viewer tries to guess who he is. They are a lot of fun and very well done. I especially get a chuckle when he dresses up as Betsy Ross, Annie Oakley or some other famous American woman. Paul has been selling these printed and video mysteries to newspapers through a revenue sharing model by helping newspapers in the Midwest find advertisers for his material. I convinced Paul he should offer his videos to newspapers outside that area and he agreed it was a good idea. If you’re interested in “Red, White & True Mysteries,” either in print, video or both, they are now available with a monthly subscription fee or through a revenue-share. To see a sample of one of Paul’s videos, visit and play the video in the right sidebar. To get more information about these products, visit At my suggestion, Paul has created a new price structure for smaller papers. Contact Paul directly at for more information concerning pricing for small newspapers.

straight ota newspapers, we want to set the record As the trade association for 130 South Dak about our industry: experts the long run. Some pundits and so-called • Your local newspaper is here for spapers spaper industry. We say: not so fast. New are already writing the obituary for the new ities mun com the vators, but as stalwart businesses in march on not only as news leaders and inno -being of Main Street and South Dakota. they serve, contributing to the economic well spapers media source in South Dakota. New • Newspapers remain a dominant audine onli of more than 707,000, plus a growing in this state have an estimated readership than 104 their local newspaper. Nationwide, more ence. 9 out of 10 South Dakotans read s to 115 except on Sunday, when readership grow million adults read a newspaper every day, (23 milIdol n Super Bowl (94 million), America million. That’s more people than watch the lion), or the evening news (65 million). sread is because you rely on your new • The biggest reason newspapers are high s, ding in your community. Obituaries, wed paper to know what’s happening , comsales, church meetings, little league baseball school sports, city hall, babies, arrests, yard the list , government public notices, grocery ads … munity events, engagements, town business you with your community. goes on and on. Your newspaper connects South other sources will provide news if • It is a myth that the Internet and make a ers spap new do the job. The reality is that Dakota newspapers aren’t here to get you s other medium. In fact, most of the new larger investment in newsgathering than any g done by newspapers. from other media originated with reportin forward. ming. The industry is adapting and moving This is a time when newspapers are transfor rtising ard to providing news, information and adve We look forward to the future! We look forw we serve. that help connect and build the communities tion Board of Directors: South Dakota Newspaper Associa e Co. Times, Lawrence Co. Journal President Hollie Stalder, Butte Co. Post, Mead al, Langford Bugle First Vice President Doug Card, Britton Journ County Herald, Chamberlain/Oacoma Sun n Second Vice President Lucy Halverson, Lyma , Winner Advocate r County Chronicle, Hill City Prevailer News Third Vice President Charley Najacht, Custe n & Hudsonite At-large Director Paul Buum, Alcester Unio ican News Amer deen At-large Director David Leone, Aber Public Opinion rtown Wate , Immediate Past President Mark Roby A SDN , General Manager David Bordewyk

South Dakota Newspaper Association Representing South Dakota’s daily and weekly newspapers

6 • September/October 2009

South Dakota Newspapers

Watch that clock By John Foust Raleigh, NC

I was talking to James about his role as advertising manager. “There’s a lot of truth in the old saying, ‘Time is of the essence,’” he said. “I’ve read a lot about time management, but I learned more from the ad manager in my first sales job than I’ve learned from books and articles. To be honest, I learned what not to do.” James explained that his old manager had little regard for time. “He routinely accompanied new sales people on their appointments, at least for their first few weeks on the job. I remember once when we had a morning appointment at a prospective advertiser’s office, which was a thirty minute drive from our office. I was ready to go forty minutes before the appointment, figuring that would allow time to talk strategy on the way, plus get there a little early. The manager said he would be ready ‘in a minute,’ but we ended up leaving just ten minutes before the appointment. He drove like a maniac all the way, and, halfway there, told me to call the prospect’s receptionist on my cell phone to say we were going to be a little late. He was too focused on weaving in and out of traffic to have any kind of pre-meeting strategy. We walked in cold. “When we sat down with the prospect, I thought the manager would apologize for being late. But he launched right into a sales pitch without a word about our late arrival. Even though I was new in the business, it was no surprise to me that the meeting didn’t result in a sale. “It was ironic that later that day, we had

a staff meeting which the manager had put on the calendar a few days earlier. A couple of people were a few minutes late, and the manager made a sarcastic remark about wasting time waiting for them. Every day was like that. His message was, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’” James explained that he learned two lessons from his old manager: 1. Being late shows a selfish lack of respect for the other person. “Time is a precious commodity,” James said. “What’s more important in the long run: Taking one more phone call before leaving for an appointment, or showing other people that you value their time?” 2. Time management is about managing other people’s time, as well as your own. “When we were late for that appointment, it threw our prospect’s day out of whack. About halfway through the meeting, our prospect had to step out of the room to tell her next appointment that she was delayed. There’s no telling what kind of domino effect that had on that other person’s schedule. And all that could have been prevented if we had been on time.” Woody Allen once said, “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” James might add a couple of words: “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up on time.” (c) Copyright 2009 by John Foust. All rights reserved. E-mail John Foust for information about his training videos for ad departments:

Clarity in advertising By John Foust Raleigh, NC

Some years ago, I heard a speech by John O’Toole, president of the famous Foote, Cone & Belding advertising agency. After his talk, I made my way to the dais and chatted with him for minute or two. During that brief conversation, I asked what he thought was the most important principle of advertising communication. Without hesitation, he said, “Clarity.” I remember being impressed by the unwavering certainty of his answer. He knew that there is no substitute for clarity. Big budgets, fancy flow charts and dazzling special effects aren’t worth a nickel unless consumers receive a clearly expressed message. Fast forward to a recent business conference which featured speakers on a variety of topics. Although the “sales and marketing” speaker did a good job of covering the statistical side of lead generation, she had some misconceptions about advertising creativity. When she put two ads on the screen and said, “These are outstanding print ads,” I couldn’t help but think of Mr. O’Toole’s succinct statement. Clarity was nowhere to be found. The first ad featured a headline which boldly stated, “The essence of luxury.” It was surrounded by four stock photographs: a smiling man holding a golf club, a smiling woman holding a cup of coffee, a smiling couple walking on the beach, and a smiling kid playing with a smiling puppy. How’s that for generic? The ad could have been promoting golf. Or family vacations. Or coffee. Or cosmetic dentistry. The second ad had a photo of a hot dog, with a headline that read, “Frankly

speaking.” The speaker explained, “With a picture of a hot dog and a headline that plays on the word ‘frank,’ most people would think this is an ad for food. But the body copy shows that it is an ad for an open house. They were serving hot dogs.” I’m glad she told us the ads were promoting real estate developments, because no one in the audience could tell from looking at the screen. Ironically, we were in the same position as someone turning the pages of a newspaper; we were relying on headlines and visuals to let us know what the ads were promoting. The speaker had good intentions, of course. But unfortunately, she was interpreting clever copy and artsy photography as effective communication. She was confusing style with substance. If clarity had been the guideline for those two ads, the headlines and photographs would have worked together to create messages that communicated with laserbeam accuracy. According to an oft-quoted statistic, only two out of ten people read further than a headline. It is human nature to glance at headlines and pictures, then turn the page. The only ads that are read in their entirely are those which promise “more information about this specific subject in which you are interested.” If a merchant relies too heavily on the body copy to communicate what is being sold, the result may be advertising that is mentioned in speeches, but ignored by consumers. (c) Copyright 2009 by John Foust. All rights reserved. E-mail John Foust for information about his training videos for ad departments:

Publisher 9-25-09

South Dakota Newspapers

September/October 2009 • 7

Six readings for a new age of journalism By Doug Fisher

With the holidays upon us, there’s time reect and maybe catch up on some reading. It’s also a time to look back and take stock of things. So this month I’d like to offer a halfdozen readings helpful to understanding journalism in the digital age – and to remind us that many things touted as “newâ€? have been around for a while in Internet time. Start with David Gelernter’s “The Next Great American Newspaperâ€? from the June 23, 2003, issue of The Weekly Standard. The Yale computer science professor, already known for his 1991 book “Mirror Worlds,â€? which in many ways predicted social networking before we knew the term, suggested that online, story becomes a slice in time, not a silo of text. Understand that concept, and you’ve moved a long way toward recognizing the Web as a living, dynamic space that needs tending. It is not a turnkey system. The “storyâ€? is of that moment, in whatever form. Put another way, how many of us are willing to blow up the front page of the newspaper Web site on July Fourth and replace it with an interactive map so readers can ďŹ nd details of an area’s celebrations? But isn’t that the “storyâ€? in those few hours for most of our readers? If we get Gelernter’s concepts, we’re beginning to get the Web. The term of art these days is that journalists need to be “curatorsâ€? of the

Doug Fisher Professor, University of South Carolina Web. John Newhagen and Mark Levy wrote “The Future of Journalism in A Distributed Communication Architectureâ€? with the same insight – in 1996. “Journalists increasingly reassure themselves that even cyber-journalism on the Net will still need editors to tell ‘audiences’ what is important,â€? they wrote. But Newhagen and Levy said “information compressionâ€? was changing so that the relationship between producer and consumer was becoming more egalitarian and the editor more like a “pathďŹ nder.â€? “Pathfinderâ€? sounds amazingly like “curatorâ€? to me. In 2003, Rich Gordon wrote “The Meanings and Implications of Convergence.â€? The Northwestern University professor and founder of the Miami Herald’s new media operation looked at the term eight key ways: technological convergence in content creation, distribution and consumption and organizational convergence in ownership, tactics, structure, information gathering and presentation. It’s a Rubik’s Cube of possibilities. No

wonder we have such a hard time getting all the sides aligned. Three recent entries complete the list. First is Clay Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable� – a world without newspapers. Others have written similarly, but Shirky makes us remember that the last time we had such a tectonic shift – the age of Gutenberg – it took decades to reach a new equilibrium. That’s probably not solace for your accountant, but it should remind you society has been through this before and the world did not end. It also is a reminder that those who say they “get it� might be just as wrong as the rest of us by the time everything works out. The fifth reading is John Temple’s “Lessons from the Rocky Mountain News,� his speech to the UC Berkeley Media Technology Summit earlier this year. The former editor of the Rocky delves into two decades of decisions and assumptions that eventually went horribly wrong. Read this to understand that newspapers were not necessarily laggards as sometimes portrayed, but that they suffered from a fatal blind spot. As Temple relates in a quote from a Scripps marketing executive: “We were not used to the market telling us how things should be. We were used to telling people what we thought they needed and how they needed it.� Finally is Paul Bradshaw’s 2007 think piece “The News Diamond� spread across several posts on his blog.

Bradshaw proposes a model of how journalism might function in the social media age. Of all the suggestions I’ve read and considered, his has the most clarity and potential. You’ll probably want to read it a couple of times to get its full import. Here are the URLs: Gelernter: http://www. Articles/000/000/002/797bppbw.asp?pg=1 Newhagen and Levy: http://jnews.umd. edu/johnen/research/grape.html G o r d o n : h t t p : / / w w w. o j r. o rg / o j r / business/1068686368.php S h i r k y : h t t p : / / w w w. s h i r k y. c o m / weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinkingthe-unthinkable/ Temple: http://www.johntemple. net/2009/09/lessons-from-rocky-mountainnews-text.html Bradshaw: http://onlinejournalismblog. com/2007/09/17/a-model-for-the21st-century-newsroom-pt1-the-newsdiamond/ Doug Fisher, a former AP news editor, teaches journalism at the University of South Carolina and can be reached at or 803-777-3315. Past issues of Common Sense Journalism can be found at csj/index.html.

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Chuck Nau: In tough economy, ‘act, rather than react’ Publishing consultant Chuck Nau of Murray & Nau, Inc., spoke at the 2009 Fillbrandt Forum at SDSU in October. He has more than 25 years of experience with the Seattle Times, Knight-Ridder Newspapers and the Chicago Tribune Company. Nau has worked with clients as a management consultant, sales trainer, facilitator and mentor in advertising, circulation and marketing areas. In addition to his consulting practice, He has conducted workshops for national publishing groups, state associations and newspaper organizations throughout North America. We talked to Chuck Nau following his presentation at SDSU. SD Newspapers: Chuck, you’ve been in the newspaper ad business for more than 25 years, how do you assess today’s challenging market and economic environment? Nau: Business as we once knew it has changed dramatically, both with the growth of the Internet and the challenging economic environment. As I mentioned at the Fillbrandt Forum, consumers are still buying, business is not bad, business is tough to get. In that regard, newspapers need to consistently assess their community, both today and tomorrow with a focus on designing the future. Likewise, newspapers need to assess their resources, both online and in print, acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses. Next, in this challenging economic environment, newspapers need to create an action plan, focusing on both their paper and community assessment. The plan helps them put their resources and strategies to work to benefit their newspaper and their community. They commit to themselves and to their paper to DO SOMETHING. Act, rather than react! Last but not least, when business gets tough, newspapers and their staffs should look to raise their standards, sharpen their pencils, further enhancing their strengths and competitive advantages, working smarter (not necessarily harder) to do whatever they do in the best possible way. SD Newspapers: If you could give newspapers publishers and ad directors only one piece of advice for dealing with today’s challenges what would it be? Nau: Consistently work to enhance, demonstrate and teach the value your newspaper and your newspaper Web site brings to your community, your readers and your advertisers. Whether it’s the old media or the new media, newspapers are the one readers and viewers turn to yesterday, today and tomorrow. Newspapers and newspaper Web sites – your newspaper and its Web site are the “value collection.” A content combination of local news and advertising, interacting with the community in a timely and up-todate manner, with a unique, trusted and well established brand that delivers simple, identifiable and measurable response and results day after day or week after week. SD Newspapers: South Dakota has many smaller newspapers serving rural, agricultural-based communities. Often times, radio is a chief competitor for ad dollars. A suggest on how community newspapers can beat the competition? Nau: First and foremost, whenever you are up against the competition, understand why your advertiser or potential advertiser is using that media (“Strategically, what do you hope to accomplish by using ... ?”). Once you understand your advertiser’s strategy or business goals, reinforce

(introduce?) the value of your newspaper and your newspaper’s Web site. Talk value, not price. Do not put down the competition. Rather, raise some questions in the advertiser’s mind regarding the value of the competition. SD Newspapers: How can weekly community newspapers realize revenue from online? Nau: Much like a community newspaper, sell the value of your newspaper’s Web site. Why advertise on a newspaper’s Web site? It is about the quality of the audience. Your audience, in print, online or both, are highly engaged and influential. When it comes to your newspaper Web site, remind your advertisers that your Web site visitors are paying attention, are engaged and interactive, spending more and more time on your newspaper web site rather than as eyeballs darting around the Internet! A National Newspaper Association survey just being released found that “When Searching for Local News Online,” 63 percent found it on the local newspaper’s Web site, compared to 17 percent for sites such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN and only 12 percent searched a local TV station Web site. Target non-print advertisers for your Web site. Radio, out of market print advertisers, shoppers, yellow pages, small (home-based) businesses. S D N e w s p a p e r s : F i n a l l y, y o u r impressions on your trip to Brookings, South Dakota, and your time spent with SDNA members and SDSU journalism students during the Fillbrandt Forum? Nau: It was FUN! Both the folks at SDSU and SDNA were very hospitable. Based on the questions, and subsequent feedback, I think many, if not all, attendees walk away with some different perspectives and a series of retail and online strategies they could put in place the next day to generate new and additional revenue! Everyone was open to new ideas and perspectives. A hard-working group. Thanks for asking for my input and insight. All the best!

Publishing consultant Chuck Nau gestures while speaking to those who attended the 2009 Fillbrandt Forum at SDSU in October. SDSU journalism students as well as various SDNA members attended the day-long training event.

South Dakota Newspaper  

September-October 2009 Issue

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