AP Day at the Capital
Politics, the budget… and Trump
We need judges!
Page 3 Help with another state’s contest and you could win $100
Ideas from roundtable Don’t fear the quirky
Virginia Press Association 11529 Nuckols Road Glen Allen, VA 23059
Volume 102 • Number 4
‘Keep It In Print’ resonates with Virginians The Virginia Press Association’s “Keep It In Print” campaign is resonating with readers across the state. The effort is designed to engage the public in persuading Virginia lawmakers to keep the long-standing requirement to publish public notices in newspapers. In the last month VPA has received more than 100 calls and emails from readers imploring the General Assembly to use newspapers as the primary vehicle to inform the public of developments involving public money. Nancy Parr of Roanoke wrote: “I watch television news, but they are inadequate, biased, and repetitive. My local paper is much more diverse and I learn a great deal by reading it...” Here’s what Eastville Town Council member Eleanor Gordon had to say: “I have many elderly or poor friends without Internet access who would no longer see important governmental business.
Bo and Sandy Rose of Rockingham County added, “Public notices must be made easily available to the public. There is no better way than having them published in our local newspapers. Distrust of our government, both locally and nationally, is very high. Making public notices less available would only increase this distrust.” In one case, spotting a public notice in print led one man to successfully challenge a zoning request. Tom Schmutz of Concord read a public notice in his local newspaper and realized local government was being asked to improperly abandon a road. “If I had not seen this notice in the paper it is highly probable the road would have been closed to the public,” Schmutz wrote. In recent years legislators have submitted bills that would allow local governments to publish those notices on their websites. New bills are expected prior to the start of the 2016 session in January. Thankfully, previous bills have failed.
Many of the readers responding to the Keep It In Print ad noted that older readers don’t use, or have access to, a computer or the Internet. Ellen Fitzwater, also of Rockingham, demonstrated how much older Virginians rely on older technology in everyday life. In writing to support the Keep It In Print campaign, she noted that in organizing her 50th high school reunion, barely one-third of her classmates could receive invitations by email. “The balance,” she wrote, “we had to send by U.S. Mail because they did not have computer access.” VPA is reminding newspapers that the ads, available in quarter- and full-page versions, can be run at any time. If you need PDF versions of either ad, contact Rusty Carter by email at email@example.com or 804521-7584.
Keep public notices within reach by kee ping them in pri nt in the pages of your dependable local newspa per.
Provide your name and loc We’ll tell Virgin ality. ia legislators you want it in Call 804-521 print. -7581or ema
Success in Fairfax with cameras in court
While nearly every courthouse in Virginia goes to great lengths to prohibit the 21st century tools journalists use to do their jobs, Fairfax County Circuit Court has taken a remarkably progressive stance, allowing cell phones and even laptops inside the courthouse. That’s considerably further than most Virginia courthouses will allow. Most forbid cell phones and computers from the building, though in some cases attorneys and court employees may bring them in. Fairfax’s policy bans the equipment from its courtrooms, but does allow portable electronics – laptops, tablets, cell phones, electronic calendars and e-book readers – inside common areas. But for a recent high-profile murder case, reporters were allowed to have their electronics inside the courtroom during the trial. That surprised Associated Press photographer Steve Helber, who helped coordinate photo coverage during the September trial of accused triple murderer Charles Severance. Given the attention the case had received – Severance once ran for mayor of Alexandria – print, broadcast and radio outlets were all clamoring for an exception to the courtroom ban on electronics. Circuit Judge Randy Bellows weighed multiple requests for media coverage, issuing an 8-page ruling that granted
Judge Randy Bellows (seated) established a dozen ground rules before allowing a still photographer to shoot photos during a recent murder trial.
permission for a single still camera to be used during the trial. When Helber saw reporters in court texting in updates with cell phones and writing stories on laptops, he was stunned. He asked the bailiff about the policy. “He said it wasn’t much of an issue,” Helber said in an interview. “They allow the attorneys to carry their cell phones inside, which allows them to coordinate witnesses, make arrangements. Seeing it there is fairly common.” Mark Miller, Photo Assignment Editor for The Washington Post, applauded the court system for its willingness to accommodate the press. The area has had its share of high-profile cases. D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad was tried in Maryland
for six shootings, and cameras were allowed in some preliminary hearings in Prince William County. That trial, however, was moved to Virginia Beach. Another Fairfax case, the 2013 murder trial of Julio Blanco Garcia, allowed the press to work closely with Judge Jane Marem Roush. “We went in and met with her, then walked through the courtroom to determine shooting locations and demonstrate how loud the camera would be,” Miller recalled. “Afterward she said ‘It didn’t go as badly as we expected.’” There was a faux pas by a television crew during that case, Miller noted. While panning the courtroom the camera captured the faces of the jury. That bought a stern rebuke from the judge. “That may be why, since then, only still cameras have been permitted,” Miller added. While Fairfax normally limits electronics to the entry area of the courthouse, judges can – as Bellows did – waive the normal rules. Bellows explained his reason for denying video and audio coverage, listing two points argued by both the prosecution and the defense: Broadcast/video coverage could have a chilling effect on witnesses, distracting them from their obligation as witnesses, and impact their testimony. With the trial anticipated to last six weeks, broadcast/video coverage may permit witnesses to her testimony of witnesses who previously testified, and “undermine the purposes served
Continued on page 6
VPA Board of Directors Officers
Marisa Porto Daily Press, Newport News
Anne Adams The Recorder, Monterey
Vice President Cindy Morgan Martinsville Bulletin Secretary
Steve Weddle The Central Virginian, Louisa
Steve Kaylor Danville Register & Bee
Past President Jay Bondurant Bedford Bulletin Asst. Secretary/ Treasurer
Ginger Stanley VPA
Stefan Babich, The Roanoke Times Daniel Finnegan, Richmond Times-Dispatch Chad Harrison, The Star-Tribune, Chatham G.L. “Lynn” Hurst, Salem Times-Register Jay Kennedy, The Washington Post Maria Montgomery, The Winchester Star Jeff Poole, Orange County Review Bruce Potter, Leesburg Today Steve Stewart, The Farmville Herald, Franklin Jenay Tate, The Coalfield Progress, Norton Kelly Till, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk Roger Watson, The News Leader, Staunton
Ginger Stanley, Executive Director Kim Woodward, Assistant Director Diana Shaban, Advertising Director Rusty Carter, Digital Content/Communications Specialist Ron Clark, Accounting Manager Janet Madison, Member Services Manager Adriane Long, Advertising/Network Coordinator How to reach us: Phone: (804) 521-7570 Fax: (804) 521-7590 or (800) 849-8717 Website: www.vpa.net VOLUME 102, Number 4 (USPS 621-640) VIRGINIA’S PRESS (ISSN 0887-5227), the official publication of the Virginia Press Association, is published four times a year. Subscriptions are $15 per year in Virginia, $20 per year out-of-state, by Virginia Press Association / Virginia Press Services Inc., 11529 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059 (804) 521-7570. Periodicals class postage paid at Glen Allen, VA, and additional post offices. POSTMASTER, please send change of address to: Virginia Press Association 11529 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059 Copyright 2015, Virginia Press Association
Panelists Del. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and senators Ryan McDougle (R-4th) and Donald McEachin (D-9th) previewed he 2016 General Assembly.
AP Day: Politics, the budget... and Trump Nearly 70 people, most of them journalists and newspaper executives, turned out Dec. 3 at the Richmond Times-Dispatch to hear legislators, political strategists and Gov. Terry McAuliffe talk government, politics and the 2016-18 state budget. Along with a sizable crowd, the event made an impact on social media. For about 3 hours AP Day’s hashtag - #APDay15 was trending on Twitter alongside Ash Carter, Dick Cheney, Coldplay, San Bernardino, Super Bowl 50, and George Zimmerman. Leading off the morning was a panel that included Del. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and senators Ryan McDougle (R4th) and Donald McEachin (D-9th). “The Senate will function, and function well,” McEachin predicted. Added Cox: “You won’t see a big change on working together on the budget. (We) did a great job of working together and finished early.” Moderator and Times-Dispatch political reporter Michael Martz chimed in, “Enough peace and love. Let’s put in some tension. Medicaid. What is the House GOP position on expansion?” “I hope the governor does put Medicaid expansion into the budget,” McEachin said. “We’re not making false promises.” “I don’t think a budget will pass out of the legislature that has Medicaid embedded,” McDougle countered. Yet in early November McAuliffe said expanding Medicaid was key, and could be done at no cost to the state. “I do believe we will be able to present this in a fashion with zero obligation to the state,” he told the Washington Post without going into specifics. Martz also raised the issue of mass shoot-
ings, most recently one in San Bernandino, Calif. where 14 people were killed by a coworker and his wife. Both, it was later discovered, had been radicalized. McEachin suggested universal background checks “to ensure people who shouldn’t have guns can’t get them.” McDougle wanted a more measured response. “(We) should look at what the reasons are and make decisions. We did that after the Virginia Tech shooting. It’s a challenge when we reflexively react to incidents.”
Cox reaffirmed the GOP’s long defense of the right to bear arms: “As Republicans we have pretty strong views about the 2nd Amendment.” University of Mary Washington professor Steven Farnsworth moderated an entertaining session featuring Tucker Martin, who served in Bob McDonnell’s administration and is currently working on Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. Opposing him was Ellen Qualls, who was part of Tim Kaine’s administration as Virginia governor. It didn’t take long for the conversation to focus on Donald Trump. “People are just angry,” Martin said of the attraction to Trump. Within days of Martin’s
comments Trump would call for a temporary ban on allowing any Muslims to enter the United States. “That anger is in places where you wouldn’t expect it. Nationally, if people are not happy, will they vote for the status quo?” Asked about social media in campaigns, Martin’s advice was to the point: “Use everything. Facebook is the most effective. It’s your neighbors. It’s a validator. Quall noted the quick fall of Jim Webb’s campaign: Had he done something in the debate except complain about his minutes...” McAuliffe, arriving late after meeting with the commonwealth’s newly elected sheriffs, dove into his budget priorities. “The top priority in the budget is K-12 education,” he said. “Second priority? Funding for veterans.” McAuliffe also hopes to stimulate business investment by reducing the corporate tax rate from 6% to 5.75%. He also plans to remove half of businesses from those facing an accelerated sales tax. Asked how he would pay for those revenue reductions, McAuliffe didn’t hesitate. “We have a surplus.” He also talked about his cyber security agenda, noting that the starting annual salary in the field is $88,000. “And my daughter is in Africa saving elephants,” he quipped. On Dec. 8 McAuliffe took a step toward that goal, announcing a new public-private partnership with General Dynamics Mission Systems. Its spinoff will serve as a sponsor of the MACH37 Cyber Accelerator. Asked for other budget details, McAuliffe balked. “I’m holding some things back because I want you to show up on the 17th (when the budget is unveiled).”
Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Senator Donald McEachin.
Political strategist Tucker Martin.
The top priority in the budget is K-12 education. Second priority? Funding for veterans.”
- Governor Terry McAuliffe
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
The mission of the Virginia Press Association is to support our membership through responsive services and resources. We champion the common interests of Virginia newspapers and the ideals of a free press in a democratic society.
We connect our members through valuable business services, effective representation, practical communication and information, and relevant education and recognition.
The values important to the work of the VPA are fairness, dedication, integrity and honesty.
Local governments mostly passed FOIA test; Schools and law enforcement more resistant
The recent experiment by 13 Virginia newspapers to test how well government agencies adhered to the Freedom of Information Act produced mostly positive results. It also revealed that law enforcement and school divisions were typically less forthcoming in producing public documents. Newspapers participating included 12 dailies: The Daily Press, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Lynchburg News & Advance, Charlottesville Daily Progress, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Suffolk News-Herald, Staunton News Leader, Northern Virginia, Roanoke Times, Culpeper Star-Exponent, The Virginian Pilot and The Winchester Star. The lone nondaily was The Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg. The participating papers sent reporters to local government offices, law enforcement and schools to ask for specific information. The reporters who typically covered those beats did not participate to avoid favoritism and asked as a member of the public. Here’s what they asked for: • Salary and allowances for county administrators/ city managers • Felony police reports for a specific time period • Salary and allowances for high school principals • Annual financial disclosure statements for mayors, county administrators, city managers and board of supervisors chairs.
School divisions repeatedly asked for the requester to provide his or her name, which is not required under the act. In some cases reporters were asked their reason for requesting the documents - also not required by FOIA law. The individual responding to the FOIA can ask whether the requester is a Virginia resident. State law does not require public bodies to fulfill out of state FOIA requests. Reporters also found that front-line government workers – generally secretaries and receptionists - often didn’t know the law. When the request was forwarded to government spokesperson or official, the response came more quickly. Reporters from Lynchburg and Richmond encountered the most resistance. When the News & Advance contacted Amherst County, it failed to provide police reports and school administrators didn’t respond to the request for principals’ salaries. Appomattox County refused to provide police reports to The News & Advance, citing the fact that none were felonies. Other information from Appomattox was provided in the allotted five-day time frame. Times-Dispatch reporters also faced obstacles. The City of Richmond refused to provide a copy of the contract of the chief administrative office, even though an official acknowledged that it was likely a public document. When asked for principals’ salaries, Richmond Public Schools only provided
a basic pay scale that didn’t include the requested information. Overall, law enforcement was the least responsive in the FOIA test. The Daily Press noted that “more than half of the more than three dozen police or sheriff ’s departments... refused to release any information about felony incidents.” Similarly, about 25% of school divisions and local governments refused to provide salaries and allowances for administrators and principals. Radford Schools served as the poster child for dragging its feet. It charged a $12 fee and took five days to provide the salary of its lone principal. “The statewide FOIA compliance test conducted by newspaper staff members had mixed results. I was pleased to see all but two public bodies released the statement of economic interest, but disappointed that 13 out of 40 law enforcement personnel refused to produce incident report information,” said Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association. “The most surprising and concerning statistic came from the fact that 15 out of 40 public bodies would not release principals’ salaries and allowances. These audit numbers suggest that much education still remains to be done to protect the citizens’ right to know what their government is doing on their behalf.”
Virginian-Pilot wins lawsuit over law enforcement training vide the information The Attorney General’s Office, which represented the Department of Criminal Justice Services, had argued that the information amounted to personnel records and was exempt from FOIA. Harki said in an October story in the Pilot that he wanted the information about the state’s more than 40,000 people with police powers. That spans some 22,000 officers who work for agencies like a police department or sheriff ’s office. Harki first asked for the information in June 2015, according to the suit. State officials refused, saying they were worried about exposing undercover officers. Over the ensuing months Harki worked
with several officials, among them John Colligan, the department’s director of finance and administration. The Pilot reported that an accord was reached in which the newspaper agreed not to publish the list or sue the department in return for officials providing the information. Pilot Editor Steve Gunn signed the agreement July 25. Colligan signed it Aug. 6. Three weeks later Colligan changed his mind and refused to release the information. Linda Bryant, a lawyer with the Attorney General’s Office, wrote Harki on Sept. 23 and said state officials weren’t releasing the database because, as personnel information, it was shielded from public records laws. The Pilot’s attorney, Conrad Shumadine,
2016 VPA Preliminary Conference Program with SPJ Here’s a glimpse of the agenda for the 2016 Conference in Richmond, set for April 8-9, 2016 at the Hilton in Short Pump. This is a preliminary agenda, so visit www.vpa.net regularly for updated information. Friday, April 8 • 10 a.m. - Registration for VPA and SPJ • 10 a.m. - VPA Contest display room opens. • 1-4 p.m. - Bonus Session: VCU Photo Shooting & Editing Held at VCU Campus ($30 fee, separate registration required) • 2-5 p.m. - VPA/VPS Board Meeting • 2-4:30 p.m. - Job Fair/Clip-Resume Critiques • 5:30 p.m. - VPA Reception • 6:30 p.m. - VPA Virginian of the Year/AP Banquet • 7-11 p.m. - Possible SPJ Reception/Film Screening Saturday, April 9 • 9 a.m. - Registration for VPA and SPJ • 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. SPJ Silent Auction & Resume Critiques • 9 a.m. - VPA Contest Display • 9:30-11 a.m. - FOIA Session • 11 a.m.-noon -Reporter Safety: Tips for Doing Your Job Without Compromising Your Safety • 11 a.m. -noon - So You Want to be An International Reporter: Hear From Those Who Have Done it and How You Can Do the Same
• 12-1:45 p.m. - VPA/AP Annual Meeting/Business Meeting and Awards Luncheon • 12-1:45 p.m. - SPJ Annual Mark of Excellence Awards/ Keynote Luncheon • 2-3 p.m. - Small Unmanned Aerial Systems • 2-3 p.m. - The State of the News Media:Discussion of a Pew Report about the Climate of Today’s News Outlets • 2-3 p.m. - Sharpen Your Social Media Skills: How to Use It to Expand Your Reach and Attract More Readers • 2-3 p.m. - New Products and Existing Products: “Steal Our Ideas” • 3-4 p.m. -Stop Errors in Their Tracks: Copy Editing for Everyone • 3-4 p.m. - Ethics Advice: How to Act When You Find Yourself in Questionable Situations • 5-6 p.m. - SPJ Reception & Wrap Up • 5-6 p.m. - VPA Reception & Cash Bar - Foyer • 6 p.m. - VPA Ad/News/Editorial Awards Banquet • 8:45 p.m. - 1 a.m. - Possible member-generated After Banquet Party. Anyone interested in coordinating the event should contact Kim Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-521-7574.
said in the suit that Bryant is wrong and the information is not covered under the personnel exemption of FOIA. Shumadine also said Bryant cited the reason too late, after Colligan had previously agreed with Gunn to give the newspaper the information. Over the next month, Harki made several attempts to get the promised information. He told Colligan he’d reached out to Alan Gernhardt, a lawyer with the Virginia FOIA Council, who agreed the records were public. The information is basic, and the public has a right to know it, Gunn said, adding that he’s not sure why department officials are blocking the request. “Clearly, we’re not going to do something to endanger officers’ safety,” Gunn said.
Need to fill a position? Job Fair added to VPA Conference The Virginia Press Association and Region 2 of the Society for Professional Journalists will host a job fair during the annual conference, set for April 2016 in Richmond. Region 2 of SPJ spans four states (Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware) and the District of Columbia. The Virginian-Pilot, The Roanoke Times and the Richmond Times-Dispatch have each secured a table, so only seven remain. The tables will be available during a 2 1/2-hour slot beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday. Members can rent a table for $25. Contact Kim Woodward at email@example.com to reserve a table. The conference takes place April 8-9 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa in Short Pump. Also during the fair, Region 2 of SPJ is offering free resume, clip and broadcast critiques to help applicants provide employers with the best fit for available journalism positions. In addition, SPJ offers online tutorials to help create strong re3 sumes and job boards listing open positions.
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
The Virginian-Pilot won its lawsuit to get employment records about law enforcement officers across the state. In mid-November the newspaper reported that Norfolk Circuit Judge Joseph Migliozzi ruled that the records of 125,000 current and former police officers, sheriff ’s deputies and other law enforcement personnel from some 500 agencies are subject to the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Migliozzi ordered officials with the Department of Criminal Justice Services to give the newspaper the names of officers, the agencies they work for, and when they started and stopped working for those agencies. The Pilot and reporter Gary A. Harki filed suit in October after the Department of Criminal Justice reneged on an agreement to pro-
For the Record
Minutes, VPA Board of Directors
The Virginia Press Association Board of Directors met at the Daily Press in Newport News on Oct. 30, 2015.
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
Board members in attendance: Marisa Porto, Jay Bondurant, Ginger Stanley, Stefan Babich, Lynn Hurst, Steve Weddle, Jay Kennedy, Maria Montgomery, Jeff Poole, Bruce Potter, Kelly Till, Roger Watson. Anne Adams Steve Kaylor and Cindy Morgan joined by phone. Absent were Danny Finnegan, Steve Stewart and Jenay Tate. Minutes: Minutes of the July 10, 2015 board meeting at The Hilton Garden Inn in Virginia Beach were presented by Secretary Steve Weddle. A motion was made to approve the minutes with the following amendment: Correct “Treasurer Ron Clark” in paragraph five to “Accounting Manager Ron Clark.” The board approved the minutes as amended. Financial Report: Steve Kaylor, treasurer, presented the financial reports, noting that July and August were strong months, but September was not. Year-to-Date figures were off to a good first quarter. “We are hitting most of the benchmarks that we placed for ourselves in the budget,” he reported. Accounting Manager Ron Clark added that investments were “right at a million” dollars. Steve Kaylor added that VPA took in $28,000 in October classified sales, compared to less than half just a few months prior. One segment of increase has been a jump in truck driver ads. Financial were approved by the board. Quarterly Investment Report: Executive Director Ginger Stanley presented the quarterly investment report for Alpha Omega Wealth Management. According to the update, Alpha Omega anticipated “that the market will begin to look for better earnings comparisons late this year and early next.” As of October 19, 2015, the asset breakdown for the VPA account is as follows: 54% Short-Term Fixed Income and 46% All Cap Dividend Value. The board was presented with Form 990, the annual reporting report that must be filed with the IRS. The board approved authorization for Ginger Stanley to execute the form on behalf of the VPA. Following an explanation on the matter from Accounting Manager Ron Clark, the capitalization policy was modified, moving the threshold from $1,000 to $5,000. President’s Report: Marisa Porto brought to the board’s attention recent developments involving FOIA, including Virginia Supreme Court rulings and the need for newspaper representatives to attend and speak at legislative committee meetings in Richmond. “The recent Supreme Court decision in a death penalty records case has made the push for FOIA reform
even more important,” she said in her report. “In that decision, a majority of justices said that Virginia’s FOIA law doesn’t require government agencies to redact sensitive information – it can just decline to release anything.” Executive Director Stanley added that one problem at the state and local level is that VPA member newspapers are not enforcing FOIA as they did in years past. Stanley also said that another aspect of FOIA to monitor going forward is working with lawmakers towards a better understanding of “proprietary” vs. “trade secret” language in FOIA wording. President Porto brought the full board up to speed on the recent meeting of the Futures Committee, which gathered to discuss VPA’s long-term plans and the transition following Executive Director Stanley’s departure in October 2016. Topics at the Futures included considering contracting with a lobbyist for legislative matters, the VPA building as a resource, network advertising, and the annual conference. The second Futures Committee meeting is scheduled for January 2016. By phone, Anne Adams suggested the board and the Futures Committee pay attention to the proposed timeline, including considering changing the timing of the annual conference to a different month. Executive Director Stanley suggested that a fall conference would allow for judging of the contests in the summer. President Porto proposed polling members for particular preferences. Executive Director’s Report: Executive Director Stanley announced that Rusty Carter, former editor of The Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg, has replaced Jeremy Slayton as publications director. One of Carter’s first assignments has been to contact VPA members to ascertain what the VPA could be doing to help members. Legislative Report: President Porto praised the work of Executive Director Stanley. Stanley reported attending 10 meetings recently, noting that VPA has been making some progress to improve FOIA in the face of the advisory council’s three-year study, which is nearing the end of its second year. Closed meeting procedures and confidential private business information have been two areas of focus for VPA this quarter, Stanley said in her report. According to Stanley, the Public Notice Task Force was scheduled to meet December 11 to plan a lobbying strategy for the upcoming year. She added that Rusty Carter is collecting local government information for use in VPA’s position papers.
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM WORKSHOP: JUNE 16-17, 2016 @VPA
It’s been described as a “boot camp” for new reporters. It’s launched numerous newsroom careers. It’s an effective skills refresher for mid-career reporters.
Calendar of Events: The upcoming calendar of events was presented. The News Contest deadline is set for January 15. March 18 is the hotel reservation deadline for the April 8-9 annual conference. Bruce Potter asked about the summer meeting for VPA, which had traditionally been held in Virginia Beach. Executive Director Stanley informed the board that the meeting will be held at VPA headquarters in Richmond. Stanley also noted that the VPA is helping again this year with AP Day, but was reluctant to do so in the future. After a lengthy discussion on the matter, Stanley agreed to look at doing a “VPA Day at the Capital” in the future. Committee Reports: Latino News (Richmond) and Middleburg Life (Leesburg) were approved for membership. Bruce Potter abstained from the approval vote on Middleburg Life. Cindy Morgan reminded board members that the deadline for Virginian of the Year nominations is December 14. Treasurer Steve Kaylor presented the report for the Audit Committee, which met October 8 at VPA headquarters in Richmond. Kaylor reported that Scott Leath, chairman of the audit committee, acknowledged a “clean audit.” Accounting Manager Ron Clark detailed hardware backups, adding that it would cost approximately $10,000 to upgrade the accounting software, a move Clark said was not immediately needed. President Porto directed Clark to research
upgrade options for the long-term. The Audit Committee report was approved as presented. Executive Director Stanley presented the Conference Program report, noting that the September meeting was the first joint committee meeting with VPA and SPJ Virginia/Region 2. Stanley also presented the report for the Professional Development Committee, which met in July. The committee discussed partnerships, Facebook, and storytelling, among other topics. Advertising Report: Executive Director Stanley presented the report on behalf of Diana Shaban, VPA advertising director. According to the report, VPS’s gross ad sales for July to September were $869,000. Publications: Stanley presented the publications report for new hire Rusty Carter, which noted that VPA will have a stronger social media presence, including Facebook and Twitter. In old business, Stanley presented a “Thank You” letter from Megan Rhyne of VCOG regarding VPA’s renewed membership in the organization. In new business, Stanley called for Virginia Communications Hall of Fame nominations. Anne Adams, by phone, suggested that the board “give thought” to the daily/non-daily splits on the board. The board decided to move this discussion to the Futures Committee. The meeting adjourned, followed by a tour of the Daily Press offices.
Richmond Times-Dispatch Publisher Tom Silvestri moderated the roundtable.
Ideas abound from Publishers’ Roundtable
A group of publishers and newspaper officers came away with concepts for new products - and revenue - through a roundtable discussion held Nov. 13 at the Virginia Press Association. Leading the group was Richmond TimesDispatch Publisher Tom Silvestri, who illustrated the idea concept by bringing an oversized, but functional, light bulb to the discussion. The quick takeaways: Don’t fear the quirky - The Falls Church News Press struck a chord with readers through its weekly “Critter Corner” feature. Advertising Director Melissa Morse noted, “It you want a reader revolt, try taking out the Critter Corner.” The next step? Pet obitu-
aries. Beyond news - C-Ville Weekly found great success with stand-alone glossy magazines that highlighted cuisine in the Charlottesville area. Advertising Director Gabe Rodriguez said “Knife and Fork” was easily its most sought-after print product. Look inward - Silvestri talked about a recent section put out by the Times-Dispatch to mark its 165 years in publication. While celebrating the paper’s longevity, it also served as a how-to guide for readers, providing information on circulation, contacting staff, the paper’s various projects and other information that we often assume readers already know. “I recommend doing this kind of piece at least once a year,” Silvestri added.
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Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
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Daily Press’ Dave Ress wins VCOG Open Government Award The Virginia Coalition for Open Government honored three people during its annual conference in November. The awards go to representatives of the public, government and media. Meet VCOG’s newest winners. Dave Ress, a veteran reporter at the Daily Press in Newport News, pressed the Office of Executive Secretary for more than a year to gain access to a database of court case records that would shed light on the way cases are concluded. It’s a database OES used to distribute and supports the office’s online case-by-case search. In 2014, however, the office refused, claiming it was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. It also insisted the data belonged to the clerks of court. Ress and the Daily Press filed a lawsuit to gain access. The case is pending. Ben Schoenfeld, a “civic hacker” with Code for New River Valley, wrote source code
to have a computer “scrape” case data from the OES website. He was unable to retrieve all of the database’s data, but he got enough for Ress to analyze it. Ress discovered troubling trends in the way race influenced how a case was handled. Schoenfeld, the Laurence E. Richardson citizen award winner, has also worked with reporters at The Roanoke Times to develop vacircuitcourtsearch.com, a site that searches all localities for cases pending against an individual. Jack Kennedy, Clerk of Court for Wise County and the City of Norton, was one of only a handful of court clerks to freely give Ress the data his locality sent to the OES for inclusion in the state database. Kennedy urged his fellow clerks to release the data because “the insights to be learned from the analytical measurements will benefit all parties wittingly or unwittingly.”
Jack Kennedy (left) and Dave Ress (center) receive VCOG’s Open Government Award.
Nominations open for VPA awards, honors Nominations are open for the following VPA awards and honors, to be presented at the Virginia Press Association Annual Conference on Saturday April 9, 2016 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump. Criteria and nomination forms for all awards are available online at www.vpa.net/awards. All nominations should be sent to Janet Madison by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to (804) 726-1571. The deadline to submit nominations is January 29, 2016. Outstanding Young Sales Professional of the Year Nominees for this award must be 30 years of age or younger as of January 1, 2016. A manager may be eligible only if he/she spends 50 percent or more of his/her time actively selling local accounts during the normal sales cycle through the year. Candidates will demonstrate leadership and tenacity that have engineered growth in linage and revenues, developed and grown new accounts. Additional skill sets should include: excellent time management, organized approach to
sales presentations, detail-oriented, accurate paperwork, excellent copy and layout skills, excellent communication skills and extraordinary customer service for clients. The nominee will have an ongoing positive attitude to change within and outside the industry. The nominee will demonstrate that he/ she is reliable and responsible in the relationship between the customer and their employer with regards to credit, collections and profit. He/she will have a professional appearance and demeanor at all times. Outstanding Sales Professional of the Year This award allows you to celebrate the qualities, traits and skills that are a part of your best sales professional team member. Nominees must be 31 years of age or older as of January 1, 2016. The winners will be considered role models whose qualities have led to great success in the newspaper/online advertising profession. A manager may be eligible only if he/she spends 50 percent or more of his/her time ac-
tively selling local accounts during the normal sales cycle through the year. Candidates will demonstrate leadership and tenacity that have engineered growth in linage and revenues, developed and grown new accounts. Additional skill sets should include: excellent time management, organized approach to sales presentations, detail-oriented, accurate paperwork, excellent copy and layout skills, excellent communication skills and extraordinary customer service for clients. The nominee will have an ongoing positive attitude to change within and outside the industry; will be competitive, knowledgeable of the benefits as they pertain to our industry. The nominee will demonstrate that he/she is reliable and responsible in the relationship between the customer and their employer with regards to credit, collections and profit. He/ she will have a professional appearance and demeanor at all times. Outstanding Young Journalist Award Winners of this award will have demonstrated excellence in the field of journalism
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
Success in Fairfax with cameras in court Continued from page 1 by the court’s order excluding witnesses from trial proceedings until they have testified and been excused. Bellows also issued a dozen ground rules, including the ability to “terminate electronic media and photography coverage” of the trial. He also forbade photos of police informants, minors and undercover agents. Both the prosecution and the defense could request certain witnesses not be photographed. By limiting media coverage to still photographs, Bellows inadvertently helped open the path to strong cooperation between the various forms of press.
“The television stations were dying for images,” Helber recalled. “The Washington Post was the lead on photography, but like most of us, their staffs had shrunk and they needed help. I served as a general coordinator, and we worked together (with the TV stations) to hire freelance photographers that freed up our staffs to do other work. The TV stations got 10-15 images a day, and everybody was happy.” The Severance trial raises the issue of why courthouses continue to prohibit electronics. The U.S. Supreme Court held in 1981 – nearly 35 years ago - that states may adopt rules allowing cameras and recording equipment in courtrooms, implementation has been slow. All 50 states eventually created a policy of some kind,
though rules vary by state as to when and what type of cameras are allowed. Data compiled by the Radio Television Digital News Association in 2012 reveals that 22 states routinely allow video and/or audio webcasts during trials. Virginia is not one of them. Like many states, Virginia requires the permission of the trial judge to allow cameras and/or video equipment. Oklahoma has no specific rules for cameras in courtrooms. While the Severance case wasn’t necessarily groundbreaking – Fairfax allowed video and still cameras in the 1994 trial of Ralph Shambaugh, and again in 2013 in the Garcia case – it did serve as a successful litmus test for future use of cameras in the courtroom.
We need more judges! And you could win $100
Just as the Virginia Press Association relies on other states to judge our annual news and advertising contests, our colleagues in other states rely on contemporaries to do the same. South Carolina has asked Virginia journalists for help in judging its annual news contest. 6 Beyond the bounty of story and design
ideas judges can glean from entries, the VPA wants to put money in one lucky judge’s pocket. Anyone who volunteers to judge will be entered to win a $100 cash prize. We’ll pay out after the winner completes his or her judging assignment. Money aside, we need more judges to handle entries in all categories – writing,
photography, design, art and body of work. Judging takes place in early to mid-January over a three-week span, and is done digitally. The South Carolina Press Association anticipates needing a minimum of 50 judges for the work. The deadline to sign up is Jan. 5. To volunteer, contact Janet Madison at email@example.com
and maintained high standards of quality and ethics. The award aims to reinforce the importance of a journalist’s role by recognizing and nurturing talent to promote quality journalism. Nominees must be 30 years of age or younger as of January 1, 2016 and must be an employee or regular contributor to a VPA member newspaper in good standing. Entries will be judged on the quality and variety of work samples, and the impact of the nominee’s work in the community. Outstanding Journalist Award Winners of this award will have demonstrated excellence in the field of journalism and maintained high standards of quality and ethics. The award aims to reinforce the importance of a journalist’s role by recognizing and nurturing talent to promote quality journalism. Nominees must be 31 years of age or older as of January 1, 2016 and must be an employee or regular contributor to a VPA member newspaper in good standing. Entries will be judged on the quality and variety of work samples, and the impact of the nominee’s work in the community. Golden 50 Club This is an “honor roll” of individuals who have spent a minimum of 50 years in the newspaper industry. The first inductions were held in 2006, coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the Virginia Press Association. Lifetime Achievement Award This award recognizes exceptional individual contributions to the newspaper industry. Nominees are evaluated on service to the Virginia Press Association; years of employment and service in the newspaper industry; the type of work nominees have done; any special projects in which they have participated; and community service and other personal achievements. First Amendment Award This award, first presented in 2007, is given to journalists, newspapers or citizens who, in an extraordinary way, seek to advance, defend or preserve the First Amendment. Nominations may be made by individual citizens, newspapers, educators or professional organizations. Nominations must include information on what the nominee has done to be considered for the award. Supplemental information, such as news stories or other documents, must be included with the nomination.
Government erodes FOIA: Custodians vs. owners
In October attorney Craig Merritt gave a somber update on subtle changes that threaten to erode Virginia’s already weak Freedom of Information Act. During a seminar at VPA, Merritt noted that government bodies have begun a shift toward claiming “ownership” of documents, a stark change from the custodial role specifically spelled out in Virginia’s FOIA law. He pointed to a recent lawsuit filed by the Daily Press against the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court.
The office had built a database of court cases from across the Commonwealth, culling the information from clerks in Virginia’s courts. The database would include every case, along with its outcome. As part of a broader investigation into racial disparity in punishments for probation violations, Daily Press reporter Dave Ress filed a FOIA request for the database, but was denied access. The day after the suit was filed the Office of the OES removed a paragraph from its website noting the database informa-
tion “is compiled and made available for public use...” Merritt noted that the action prompting the suit filed by the Daily Press is the latest in a progression of concealing once public documents from the public. Last March Ress reviewed 110,000 cases in reporting that blacks who violate probation are less likely to have their cases dismissed than their white counterparts, and more likely to be sentenced to jail time for violations or sentenced to serve a full sentence.
William Lane Newspaper photographer William Conn Lane Jr. learned his trade on cameras that produced 4-by-5-inch negatives. “He always liked that (format),” said Bob Brown, senior photographer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “He was definitely old school.” Mr. Lane came to Richmond Newspapers Inc. on Jan. 1, 1967. Mr. Lane, who won awards for his work from the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia News Photographers Association, died November (2, 9, 16, 23, 30) at the Chesterfield Heights retirement community. He was 82. During Lane’s news career, he shot photos of the famous, including actors Elizabeth Taylor
and John Wayne and presidents of the United States, as well as the not-so-famous. One of his most memorable photographs was of a flooded Main Street after Hurricane Agnes in 1972, colleagues said. He captured everything from civil rights riots to automobile crashes.
staff, alumni, and students within the College of Engineering. She started working with Virginia Tech’s news bureau in December 1977, covering stories for the university. Nystrom joined the College of Engineering two years later under then-dean Paul E. Torgersen as its first dedicated news director. Prior to her career at Virginia Tech, she was editor of the Blacksburg Sun, a weekly newspaper. She was a member of the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia Professional Communicators (formerly called Virginia Press Women), the latter from which she won a Distinguished Service Award.
Obituaries Deborah Rose Deborah Sherley Rose, 66, passed away at her home in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 1, 2015. Her husband, Benjamin Rose, was at her side as he had been over the final months of her struggle with lung cancer. Her studies in English prepared her for an outstanding career in journalism at newspapers across the country including the Bakersfield Californian, the Coalfield Progress in Norton, Virginia and more recently the Daily Progress in Charlottesville. She won numerous awards throughout her career, including several from the Virginia Press Association. She was subsequently an editor of law books at LexisNexis.
Lynn Nystrom Lynn A. Nystrom, longtime director of news and external relations for the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, died Dec. 3 after a battle with cancer. She was 63. Nystrom, who lived in Christiansburg, wrote thousands of stories promoting the research, discoveries, breakthroughs, and personalities of faculty,
April 4-6, 2016
The Hershey Lodge and Convention Center Hershey, Pa.
Enter your news website or digital platform into the 2016 AE Digital Media Contest by Feb. 12.
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
Join us at the most valuable conference for the news media industry on the East Coast.
Va. Supreme Court ruling deeply undermines FOIA Discussion during November’s meeting of the Virginia FOIA Council focused on the implications of a recent Virginia Supreme Court ruling that permitted public bodies to withhold entire documents simply because a portion of the document was exempt from the state’s Freedom Of Information Act. That runs sharply afoul of FOIA language that emphasizes only exempt information be redacted while the remainder is made public. The ruling generated a wave of backlash from legislators and open government ad-
vocates. Delegate and now senator-elect Scott Surovell also spoke, recounting the steps that led to the Supreme Court’s evisceration of Virginia FOIA. Surovell sought to access records regarding executions in Virginia, including manuals that contained detailed information on protocols, drugs used in executions and information on the electric chair. The Virginia Department of Corrections fought Surovell’s FOIA request, arguing that the documents contained proprietary information and gave
Judge: Denying access to database is ‘nonsensical’ A judge in Newport News has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Daily Press and reporter Dave Ress that seeks access to a statewide database of circuit court records. In a story reported in early November by Ryan Murphy of the Daily Press, Circuit Court Judge David Pugh called objections to releas-
ing the database “nonsensical.” Pugh added that the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia - the defendant in the lawsuit - appears to be responsible for making the database available. Pugh scheduled a trial for Feb. 16, 2016.
It’s never too early to start planning for the 2016 annual conference and awards banquet at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump on April 8-9, 2015. Programming is still being finalized, but VPA is partnering with the Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter to conduct workshops of interest to journalists at newspapers large and small. Want to register? Complete the form on page 12 of Virginia’s Press or visit www.vpa.net/conferences for more information.
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
details about floor plans and procedures, which it claimed posed a danger to public safety. Surovell sued in Fairfax Circuit Court, where Judge Jane Roush ruled the Department of Corrections must release the documents. The DOC appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court and got the ruling reversed. In the wake of the ruling attorney Craig Merritt offered the council language that could be inserted in Virginia FOIA that would clarify the premise for withholding documents. If adopted, it would follow
the second of five paragraphs that detail responses to a FOIA request: “No provision of this Chapter is intended, nor shall it be construed or implied to permit a public body to withhold a public record in its entirety on the grounds that some portion of the public record is excluded from disclosure by this Act or by any other law. In the event any provision of this Chapter is interpreted to provide otherwise, the rule of redaction stated in this subsection shall control.”
2016 VPA/AP AnnuAl ConferenCe SPonSorShiP oPPortunitieS Virginian of the Year Reception Sponsor $3,500 (Only 1 Available)
Virginian of the Year sponsor serves as the only Virginian of the Year sponsor for this conference, with signage distinguishing them as such and the following opportunities: • Exclusive signage during the reception as Virginian of the Year Reception Sponsor • Two (2) free Virginian of the Year dinner tickets • Acknowledgement during the Virginian of the Year dinner • Opportunity to provide giveaways during the reception or the dinner • Two (2) free conference registrations • Full-page ad in Virginia’s Press newsletter prior to the conference • Display company logo in conference program • Display company logo on sponsorship sign at conference • Two (2) free conference registrations • Display company logo in conference program • Display company logo on sponsorship sign at conference
Programming Sponsors $1,750
Presenter Sponsors serve as the official Programming Sponsors, with signage distinguishing them as such and the following opportunities: • Opportunity to address attendees with a 3-5 minute presentation prior to the start of a programming session. • Opportunity to set out handouts and giveaways at the VPA registration desk • Full-page ad in Virginia’s Press newsletter prior to the conference • Two (2) free conference registrations • Display company logo in conference program • Display company logo on sponsorship sign at conference
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
Conference Supporters serves as the official Conference Supporters, with signage distinguishing them as such and the following opportunities: • Quarter-page ad in Virginia’s Press newsletter prior to conference • Display company logo in conference program • Display company logo on sponsorship sign at conference • One (1) free conference registration
Kim Woodward VPA Assistant Director (804) 521-7574
Ginger Stanley VPA Executive Director (804) 521-7575
President/GM Stephen Hills to leave The Washington Post After a highly successful 28-year career at The Washington Post, President and General Manager Stephen P. Hills has decided to leave the company at year-end. He will continue his long-tenured relationship with The Post even after his December 31 departure date, advising The Post on key strategic issues. Paul Fletcher installed as 2015-16 SPJ President The Society of Professional Journalists installed Paul Fletcher, publisher and editor-inchief at Virginia Lawyers Weekly, as its 99th president Sunday, Sept. 20. Fletcher accepted office at the President’s Installation Banquet at Excellence in Journalism 2015 in Orlando, which is co-hosted with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Radio Television Digital News Association. Virginia’s Brian Wheeler elected to LION Board Three new members have been elected to the LION Publishers Board of Directors: Traven Rice, publisher of The Lo-Down in New York; Brian Wheeler, executive director of
Charlottesville Tomorrow in Virginia; and Jay Allred, publisher of the Ohio-based Richland Source. LION Publishers now has nearly 130 members, who operate local online news outlets in 32 states and Washington, D.C. Wheeler said, “I look forward to serving as a new member of the LION Board. Independent publishers and quality journalism are both essential ingredients for building better communities around the nation. LION plays a critical role placing a spotlight on best practices, sharing knowledge and supporting our members’ innovative work.” NAA names David Chavern as new president and CEO Newspaper Association of America announced that its board of directors has selected David Chavern, a seasoned public policy and advocacy leader, as its new president and CEO, effective October 14. Chavern succeeds Caroline H. Little, who led the association for four years and announced her retirement earlier in 2015. In his new role at NAA, Chavern will work closely with board members and staff to navigate the organization through a continued period of significant opportunity for newspaper media. With technological advancements changing the ways in which people consume the news, he will provide strong, strategic direction to ensure the future the success of the organization. Loudoun Times buys, shutters Leesburg Today & Ashburn Today The Loudoun Times-Mirror has acquired the assets of Leesburg Today and Ashburn Today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. A report on the Loudoun Times website says the acquisition will create “a stable, wellresourced news enterprise under local ownership for Loudoun County at a time of intense competition in news media.” The Times-Mirror, headquartered at the Village of Leesburg, is published by Virginia News Group and is distributed weekly throughout the county. Leesburg Today ceased operations of its weekly newspaper, as well as Ashburn Today, after the Nov. 4 edition. Employees were notified of the closing by Bruce Potter, chief operating officer at Northern Virginia Media Services, at a staff meeting. Job offers were extended to five Leesburg Today staffers in news, advertising and production, according to Times-Mirror CEO and Publisher Peter Arundel. The websites of the two weekly newspapers were consolidated into LoudounTimes.com. Enterprise in Stuart sold to Mountain Media LLC A group of community weekly newspapers owned by Mountain Media LLC has acquired The Enterprise, Patrick County’s 140-year-old weekly newspaper. Michael Showell, owner of Mountain Media, and Gail Harding, owner and publisher of The Enterprise, announced the sale on Nov. 2. The deal took effect Oct. 30. The Enterprise will continue to be published each Wednesday. “I believe that in order to have strong healthy communities we need strong local newspapers,” Showell said in a story published on The Enterprise website. “Newspapers are about community, the readers, advertisers, employees and vendors all coming together to
make a better place to live, work and strive to be successful. “The Enterprise has a great history of being a vital part of Patrick County and it is the people that work at the newspaper, its subscribers, advertisers and contributors that have made this happen and will continue to do.” Harding, who retired, began her career at The Enterprise in 1976 as the paper celebrated its centennial. She bought the business in 1985, then 10 years later bought out its competition, The Bull Mountain Eagle. In a story announcing Harding’s retirement, Editor Nancy Lindsey said “she has kept The Enterprise alive and growing, a small business that is also a Patrick County institution.” The Enterprise began as The Voice of the People in 1876. It went by other names through the years, including The Patrick Press, the Patrick Enterprise and The Stuart Enterprise. The Nov. 4 edition was the first published under the new ownership. Times-Dispatch publisher wins humanitarian award Thomas A. Silvestri, president and publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was recently honored by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. The award recognizes Silvestri’s service to the Richmond community, which includes the creation of the “Public Square,” a series hosted by the Times-Dispatch that allows citizens to discuss important issues. Latinos News, Middleburg Life join VPA Two publications have recently been approved for membership in the Virgina Press Association. Gaining an active membership is The Latinos News, based in Richmond. Middleburg Life, a monthly publication, is an associate member. Latinos News is a weekly with a circulation of 10,000. It celebrates its second anniversary on Nov. 12. The publication’s website is www. latinos-news.com. Middleburg Life began in 1982 and is based in Middleburg. Middleburg Life circulates 15,000 copies and is published the first Monday of each month. The chief operating officer is Bruce Potter (firstname.lastname@example.org). The website is www.middleburglife.net. American Hometown Publishing Buys Florida newspaper American Hometown Publishing, which owns The Coalfield Progress in Norton, The Dickenson Star in Clintwood, and The Post in Big Stone Gap, has acquired The Islander News in Key Biscayne, Fla. According to a press release from Nashville-based AHP, the deal to buy The Islander News from Anne S. Owens was announced Nov. 13. “AHP will carry forward The Islander’s legacy and mission of service to the community of Key Biscayne,” Owens said in the release. “I knew this was a perfect match from the beginning of our discussions.” The Islander News began publishing in 1966. Owens joined the staff in 1968 shortly after moving there from Chicago with her husband, Clyde, and three sons. The family bought the newspaper in 1985. “To be entrusted with Ms. Owens legacy is a privilege,” said Brad Dennison, an industry veteran and longtime GateHouse Media executive, who joined AHP earlier this year. “I have great respect for what she has accomplished in
Key Biscayne, and I’m proud she believes AHP was the right home for The Islander News going forward.” The Islander News is a weekly newspaper with a circulation of 3,600, and also produces Island Life Magazine. AHP, which was formed in 2005, operates newspapers, magazines and websites in Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and now Florida. Henrico, Chesterfield Monthlies cease publication LocalNewsLLC has shut down both the Henrico Monthly and the Chesterfield Monthly. In a letter posted on the websites of both publications, Editor Scott Bass cited insufficient advertising, saying “we simply couldn’t bring in enough revenue to keep the magazine(s) afloat.” Both magazines were launched three years ago. “Each month, we’ve done our best to bring you a balanced news magazine with the right mix of news features, community information, informational pieces and stories,” Bass noted. Nearly 50,000 copies of each were mailed to homes across each county. Bass also talked about the industry. “Journalism is a fickle business. Sometimes the best stories and most important work don’t translate to the bottom line. We’ve tried to be informative and thought-provoking, but also interesting and entertaining, to varying degrees of success.” He added that the flagship Chesterfield Observer, launched in 1995, remains strong. SPJ Virginia chapter honors George Mason’s 290th birthday The Society of Professional Journalists Virginia Pro Chapter celebrated George Mason’s 290th birthday on Dec. 12. Born in what is today Fairfax County on Dec. 11, 1725, Mason helped frame the Virginia Constitution and in 1776 wrote its Declaration of Rights, the forerunner of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Mason recognized the importance of a press unrestricted by the government, including in the Declaration of Rights “[t]hat the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments. SPJVA honored Mason with an event at the George Mason Memorial in Washington, D.C. Virginian-Pilot celebrates 150th anniversary Add The Virginian-Pilot to the list of Virginia newspapers celebrating a significant milestone in 2015. The Pilot noted the occasion of its 150th birthday in its Nov. 22 edition. The Pilot is one of nine newspapers in the state celebrating a key birthday this year. The Bristol Herald-Courier, the Progress-Index in Petersburg, and the Star Tribune in Chatham also turned 150 in 2015. Celebrating 125 years are the Cavalier Daily at the University of Virginia, the Courier Record in Blackstone, the Farmville Herald and The Post in Big Stone Gap. Turning 50 in 2015 was The Reston Times. Looking ahead, two newspapers will turn 150 during 2016 (Lynchburg News & Advance and the Fincastle Herald). There are five newspapers in Virginia that are more than 200 years old.
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
People Italia Gregory, of Drakes Branch, has joined the Charlotte Gazette staff as a reporter. Gregory will also aid the news staff at The Farmville Herald and The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch. She received her bachelor of arts in Communication Studies in 2012 from Longwood University and most recently earned her master of arts in human services counseling from Liberty University. Gregory has worked as a journalist the past three years at the Southside Messenger located in Keysville. Anna Ticer, longtime circulation manager and compositor retired from the Rappahannock Record. Ticer joined the Record in 1989 when most of the news items were typed or hand-written and brought or mailed to the office, or a bit later sent via fax machine. Ticer re-typed just about all of them into the Record composition programs. Ticer’s service was celebrated at a company luncheon. The Rappahannock Record has welcomed three new employees: Susan Robertson, Michelle Smith and Jessica Michels-Mancini. Robertson has joined the front office staff and is the paper’s classified advertising account manager and assists with other bookkeeping tasks as needed. Smith is the new circulation manager, maintaining all subscription services and newsstand sales. She will also beperforming some marketing tasks, introducing the weekly paper to new subscribers and seeking new sales outlets. Michels-Mancini has joined the advertising department as a sales representative. Robert Brauchle has been named editor of the Tidewater Review in West Point. Brauchle moved to the Peninsula three years ago to the diverse city of Hampton to be a reporter for the Daily Press. Brauchle arrives nearly eight months after the departure of Robin Lawson, who was editor of the Tidewater Review for 17 years. Rusty Carter joins the Virginia Press Association as Digital Content/Communications Specialist. Carter spent 30 years in newspapers in Virginia, the last 28 at The Virginia Gazette. He served as Sports Editor, Assistant Editor and Editor.
People, events in the news
Valassis pays $100,000 penalty, concedes postal rate gambit failed WASHINGTON - Valassis, the direct mail company known for its glossy advertising supplements, has paid a $100,000 penalty to the U.S. Postal Service after it failed to meet qualifications for mailings for which it would’ve received postage discounts ranging 22%-34%. In a release by Tonda F. Rush, CEO and general counsel for the National Newspaper Association, Valassis “filed a report saying it had carried out no mailings eligible for the special discount.” A long-time newspaper customer for its supplements, Valassis instead requested a special contract rate in April 2012, Rush noted. It was designed “to pull advertising inserts out of Sunday newspapers and into a new weekend Valassis direct mail package,” according to Rush. She added that if the program had been successful by mailing 1 million qualifying pieces, Valassis could have earned the deep discounts. The newspaper industry fought the proposal unsuccessfully, taking it to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Valassis announced it had launched programs in May 2013 in Atlanta, Phoenix and Washington, and reported mailing 2
million pieces in 2013. However, none of the mailings qualified under the rules of the contract agreement. No mailings took place in 2014 or 2015. NNA President Chip Hutcheson, publisher of the Princeton (KY) Times-Leader, called the six-figure fine “a fitting end to an unfortunate chapter.” “We want to think of this whole experience as an episode of recession fever at the Postal Service,” Hutcheson continued. “They were facing grim markets, as we all were, and USPS was grasping at straws. The fever ignited this idea of picking winners and losers in the advertising marketplace for the sake of maybe getting in some new mail volume. We at NNA didn’t think it would work, and it didn’t. “There is a moral to this story that every parent knows: don’t play favorites in the family,” Hutcheson added. “No good comes of it. We are glad this chapter is over and we intend to continue to work with Valassis to develop its markets, and with USPS to improve the mail. Money is tight. We need to plant our seeds where they can grow.”
‘Making The Right Sale’ theme of 2016 VPA Sales Conference Mark your calendar now for the annual VPA Sales Conference, scheduled for June 6, 2016 at the VPA offices in Glen Allen. Headlining the event is Mike Centorani, co-founder of Raleigh-Durham based Sales Transformation Now. The company specializes in “proven strategies that transform your sales organization from the inside out.” Mike brings more than 25 years of print media experience. His session will focus on how to “make the right sale” versus any sale, and participants will see keys to successful selling for both print and digital. Two breakout sessions will be offered by experienced sales reps on digital sales and how to handle difficult client sales calls. Registration begins at 9:45 a.m. on June 6. The deadline to register is May 20. Visit www.vpa.net for updated information on the conference. The cost per attendee is $15 for members of VPA’s statewide Classified or 2x2 Network; $70 for VPA members not enrolled in the networks, and $125 for non-members. For questions or more information, contact Diana Shaban at email@example.com or 804-521-7580.
The Virginia Newspaper Academy at VPA
Mark your calendar for upcoming training sessions at VPA
The Virginia Press Association offers members access to a wide array of webinars and workshops that can sharpen professional skill sets. The sessions are taught by professionals in journalism and topics run the gamut. Here’s a quick look at upcoming professional opportunities that will take place at the VPA offices. For signup information visit www.vpa.net
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
Jan. 14 - Using Facebook as a Reporting Tool: Most of us use Facebook for posting photos and keeping in touch with family. And reporters are generally happy with their trusty Rolodex of sources. But there’s more to Facebook than a little snooping to verify the age of your teen’s latest crush. With the right skills, journalists can turn Facebook into a massively helpful engine to find story ideas, sources, information and quotes. Dr. Marcus Messner is an associate professor at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, teaching mobile and social media journalism and social media campaigns. Messner is also the school’s coordinator for research and innovation. In his annual summer “Social Media Institute,” Messner has also led his student teams in the development of 50 social media campaigns for nonprofit organizations in Central Virginia. Here’s what you’ll learn: • How to navigate the personal/professional divide • The difference between journalist pages and profiles • The implications of various privacy options and how to implement them • How to craft posts for the audience • How to search Facebook for sources, groups and information • How to use Facebook to find verified content • How to develop a beat on Facebook • Why and how to find and/or build communities around your reporting • How to engage your audience on Face10 book: groups, comments, Q&As
Feb. 11 - Facebook: Maximum impact on a minimal budget: This workshop, held at the VPA offices in Richmond, is intended primarily for newsroom staff, but also useful for marketing and advertising personnel. Daily Press Assigning Editor Ryan Gilchrest leads the session. In it participants will learn how to use small-scale promotion to drive Facebook engagement to new heights, develop a digital audience and create opportunities for revenue. Gilchrest will also cover how to use Facebook’s promotional tools to increase website traffic. The discussion will cover the basics of navigating Facebook ad manager, the keys to a successful post, and how to get the maximum effect from promoted posts and page like campaigns. April 28 - How To Use Your Mobile Phone To Shoot and Edit Video: Your mobile phone can be one of your greatest tools when you’re in the field reporting on a story. It is more than a connection to your editors back in the office; it can be your video camera to capture the story in another way to be posted online as a complement to the print version. This session will include strategies on how to incorporate storytelling through video and tips on how to use your mobile phone to do so. Jeffrey Carney is currently the corporate director of digital development at BH Media Group, where he works on digital content initiatives to grow web and mobile audiences and engagement. BH Media Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, is comprised of 70 newspapers, web and mobile sites in 10 states. Previously, Carney worked for the Omaha World-
Herald, Des Moines Register and Associated Press in Kansas City. He’s also been an adjunct journalism professor at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications. May 5 – Advertising Roundtable: This session, designed for ad managers and directors, is moderated by Kelly Till, advertising director for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. There’s no fee, and lunch is included for the first 25 registrants. Hurry to be part of this deal! May 12 - Making Partnerships work: Journalists and their news organizations must agree to share information with other media outlets and hold off releasing their stories so that everyone can publish or broadcast together. It’s an arrangement that often goes against journalists’ ingrained instincts. But at a time when many newsrooms have fewer resources to devote to in-depth reporting, more news organizations have begun to see the benefits of pooling reporting resources and creating a higher profile for stories by publishing jointly. Michael Hudson is a senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. He has been an editor and reporter at the ICIJ since 2012, working on ICIJ’s groundbreaking investigations of offshore financial secrecy and the global trade in human tissue, and leading ICIJ’s World Bank investigation. He previously worked as a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, the Wall Street Journal and the Roanoke (Va.) Times and as investigative editor for Southern Exposure Magazine.
His work has also appeared in Forbes, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Le Monde, El País and many other publications. June 16-17 – Community Journalism Workshop: Sessions are led by seasoned instructors and experienced editors: Lou Emerson of FauquierNow.Com, Anne Adams of The Recorder, Jeff Lester of The Coalfield Progress, Katrice Franklin Hardy of The Virginian-Pilot and Robin Sidersky of the Free Lance-Star. The cost for two days of sessions, dinner on Thursday, lunch on Friday and the take-home tool box is $115 for VPA members and $250 for non-members. Please contact Kim Woodward, (804) 521-7574, with any questions.
Need a new press ID? Has your press ID expired? Fallen apart? Press ID application and renewal forms are posted on the Membership page at www.vpa.net. The form must be completed, signed by the publisher and notarized. The application can be faxed or emailed if the notary seal is in ink; if it is embossed, it must be mailed to VPA. Photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the application. Images must be head-and-shoulder shots and a minimum of 300 dpi. IDs are processed by the Virginia State Police and mailed to the publisher’s attention.
YOU Can Make
OPINION EDITOR: The Daily Press is searching for an opinion editor whose job is to be the responsible voice of leadership for the Virginia peninsula. Duties include: • Responsible for the content, production and cohesive, consistent direction of the daily opinion page. • Write (or assign planning and research for) bold, fact-driven, well-researched institutional editorials, at least five a week for print and online shorts. • Lead a weekly editorial board meeting for discussion and planning of the week’s vision for community conversations. • Plan two initiatives a year to develop influence and provide insight for solutions to community issues. • Plan and execute candidate endorsement meetings and discussions for all major contested races in our coverage area—local, state and national in a swing state. • Maintain a community presence, and serve as the representative for the editorial board and the company (newspaper) at public events. Organize and conduct events, such as political debates and forums, to help educate the public, encourage debate and raise awareness of our work in the community. • Increase community engagement and interaction with the board and increase/emphasize the mix of local voices on our opinion pages across platforms: Invite community leaders to editorial board for discussions; schedule/coordinate community outings for the board. • Contribute to the newspaper’s digital strategy; connect with readers on social media platforms and through various established engagement efforts • Supervise an associate opinion editor who is responsible for daily page production and management of content for the section, including letters to the editor, opinion columns and cartoons, for print and digital, and occasional column writing. • Oversee/plan the selection and recognition of the Daily Press Citizen of the Year. Must have an undergraduate degree in a field related to public affairs or journalism, or equivalent related experience. Should have an in-depth knowledge of government at all levels and extensive understanding of local, state and national history. Should possess superior writing and editing skills. Reports directly to the CEO & Publisher. Serves as a member of the Editorial Department’s senior planning team. Please send resume and clips and links to Human Resources Director Keith Potts at kpotts@ dailypress.com. PRESS OPERATOR, PLATE TECHNICIAN: Print Innovators, the commercial print division of Free Lance–Star Publishing, LLC, has openings for an experienced Press Operator and a Plate/ Pagination Technician. Both jobs are full-time at 37.5 hours per week. Print Innovators operates a high-speed publication print facility with state of the art offset printing equipment. The qualified press operator candidate will have a balance of electronic, mechanical, computer and communication skills, as well as experience in a highly automated production environment. Heatset print experience is a plus. The qualified candidate for the Plate/Pagination Technician position will have experience in Pagination and/or Platemaking for a highly automated printing and publishing environment. Functional familiarity with Quark and/or Adobe publishing products is a plus. Hours vary for both editions, and include nights, weekends and holidays. Print Innovators is a 365-day-ayear operation. Free Lance–Star Publishing offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package to all full-time employees. Background check and drug screening are required. Qualified candidates may apply online at fredericksburg.com. Equal Opportunity Employer/DrugFree Workplace CIRCULATION MANAGER: The Martinsville Bulletin in Martinsville, Virginia, has an immediate opening for a Circulation Manager. The Circulation Manager will oversee the dayto-day operation of the circulation department including sales, service, distribution and all facets of the home delivery operation. The manager is also responsible for growing circulation by increasing the subscriber base through sales and marketing in the defined area. We are seeking a circulation manager who has the ability to meet goals, superior oral and written communication skills, strong problem solving and decision making skills, excellent time management and organizational skills, strong multi-tasking and demonstrates initiative, profi-
rappnews.com or PO Box 59, Washington, Va. 2274 . REPORTER: The Smithfield Times is seeking an energetic, curious and aggressive news reporter for its award-winning weekly paper in the Tidewater area of Virginia. The successful candidate will write on a wide variety of topics, from school board decisions to crime, sports, agriculture and features while covering mostly rural Isle of Wight and Surry counties. Some news writing experience is preferred and photography skills are a plus, as is familiarity with social media. Please send a resume, five clips and photographs, if applicable, to email@example.com. New college graduates are also asked to provide a transcript.
YOU Can Make a Difference a Difference in Virginia in Virginia JOurnalism JOurnalism
PART-TIME GRAPHICS - The Richmond Free Press is seeking a reliable and creative person for a part-time graphics position. Enthusiastic individual should be proficient in Macintosh Creative Suite Design software (InDesign and Photoshop) to produce accurate, high quality camera-ready advertisements and news page layouts for print production. Duties will include weekly website maintenance. Meticulous attention to details is required. Ability to be flexible and work under deadline cooperatively in a team environment is essential. Submit résumé and samples of work to address below to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREELANCE WRITERS - The Richmond Free Press has immediate opportunities for freelance writers. Newspaper experience is a requirement. To be considered, please send 5 samples of your writing, along with a cover letter to: email@example.com.
AD SALES EXECUTIVE - The Richmond Free Press is seeking to fill an advertising sales position. This opening is for a go-getter who knows the Richmond Metro area. Familiarity with ad agencies who represents clients in the Richmond area market a plus. Reliable transportation. Must possess effective verbal and communication skills. Send your resume along with a letter of interest with emphasis on past ad sales achievements and skills to: firstname.lastname@example.org. SENIOR NETWORK ENGINEER: BH Media Group is looking for a highly motivated professional to succeed in our Information Technology Department. The Network Engineer position will support a variety of hardware platforms and software applications used in support of the business. This position is responsible for support, administration and maintenance of the corporation’s network, security and telecommunications devices. This is full-time position and includes an excellent benefit package. This individual must have: • Ability to assess Information Security Risks, understand business needs, and apply defined information security policies and architectures • Ability to pick up new technologies quickly • Strong troubleshooting ability • Strong attention to detail • Strong desire to succeed • Ability to work independently • Ability to self-motivate/self-direct • Strong customer service skills • Ability to meet deadlines Required Skills: • Minimum two plus years’ experience in Information Network and/or Security technology engineering and support LAN/WAN network and infrastructure (Cisco routers and switches, intrusion detection, firewalls and VPN) • Vulnerability and assessment testing is a plus • Vendor certifications on Juniper, Check Point, and Sourcefire is a plus Required Experience: • BS - Computer Science or related field (appropriate experience will be considered in lieu of this requirement). • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a plus. • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is a plus. • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a plus. • Pre-Employment requirements: • Pass criminal background investigation • Pass drug screen Our compensation package includes: base salary, comprehensive benefits (medical, dental, vision, PTO, wellness program options, life insurance, short & long-term disability insurance) and 401k with Company match. EOE M/F/D/V To view full job description visit our career site and apply online at: http://bit.ly/1ktUmED
A donation to the
A donation to the Virginia Press Foundation Virginia Press Foundation will help to provide will help to provide training and education to training and education foster the ideals of good to foster the ideals journalism andof togood journalism and educate the public onto the importance of theon the educate the public First Amendment importance of and the the role of a free press. First Amendment and If you would like to make a donation, the role of a free press. please send a check to: If you would like to make a donation, please send aPress check to: Virginia Foundation
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
11529 Nuckols Road Virginia PressVA Foundation Glen Allen, 23059
11529 Nuckols Road
NOTE: Registration with VPA DOES NOT take care of an overnight room with the hotel; room reservations must be made directly with the hotel by calling:
Be sure to ask for the VPA conference rate!
Conference Registration/ Hotel Reservation Deadline:
5 P.M. ON MARCH 18, 2016
Total Per Person
Would you like to pre-order bottles of wine for your table on Saturday night? Contact Kim Woodward, email@example.com or (804) 521-7574. Deadline to pre-order is March 18, 2016
Virginia’s Press • Winter 2015
Make your reservations early; contracted rooming block space is limited!
Sign up now for the Advertising & News Conference April 8 & 9 Conference Room Rate $140 2016 VPA/ Name of Newspaper: Single/Double AssociAted Press Contact Person: AdVertising & news Email: conference Mailing Address: City, State, Zip:
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Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump April 8-9, 2016
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IMPORTANT: Registration confirmations are emailed to the contact person to confirm receipt of your registration. If you do not receive a confirmation, we did not receive your registration and you are not registered for the conference. Contact Kim Woodward, (804) 521-7574, if you do not receive a confirmation five days from date submitted to VPA.
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• Members who attend more than one meal event should pay the registration fee. • Spouses/guests not active in the business pay for the events attended, but not the registration fee. • NO REFUNDS UNLESS CANCELLATION IS MADE BY NOON ON MONDAY MARCH 28, 2016. • Coming for the banquet only? Attend the afternoon sessions on Saturday after lunch at no charge!