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FOIA Study

Page 4 FOIA Council begins work on studying Virginia’s access laws

Professional Development

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VPA Conference

Research can boost ad campaigns

Pages 7-16 See the top winners and scenes from the red carpet

Virginia’s Press

Summer 2014

Virginia Press Association 11529 Nuckols Road Glen Allen, VA 23059 Volume 101 • Number 2

Sandton Capital to buy Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. A federal bankruptcy judge accepted a $30.2 million bid by a New York-based investment firm for the assets belonging to The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin R. Huennekens on May 22 apCadwallender proved the bid from DSP Acquisitions, an affiliate of Sandton Capital Partners, despite details of the asset purchase agreements still needing to be finalized. The bid was for the publishing company’s

newspaper, radio stations, radio towers and Print Innovators, the Free Lance-Star’s stateof-the-art printing facility. “I am confident y’all can work out whatever issues there are … and finalize a deal everyone wants to get accomplished,” Huennekens said. Robert Orr, a principal at Sandton Capital, said in an email on June 2 that the company has signed the asset purchase agreements and the transaction is expected to close later this month. The sale ends the Rowe family’s 130-year ownership of the Fredericksburg-based Free Lance-Star. Publisher and chief executive officer Nick Cadwallender said after the hearing that the loss of the company “is of great sad-

Advertising executives exchange revenue-generating ideas Newspaper advertising executives are finding innovative ways to generate revenue beyond selling to businesses display ads in the print product. Successful ideas, ranging from photo calendars to a pictorial history book, were shared in early May at an advertising roundtable hosted by the Virginia Press Association and the Southern Newspapers Publisher Association. Cindy Morgan, publisher of The ProgressIndex in Petersburg, and Mitzi Lusk, advertising director at The Tidewater News in Franklin, each said their calendars proved to be popular within their respective communities. “This is not an ordinary calendar, I must

ness,” but “the family will continue to participate in the life of the community as they have done in the past.” Cadwallender is also president of the Virginia Press Association Board of Directors. New Media Investment Group had the second highest bid at $30 million and was the backup bidder in case the deal with Sandton Capital fell through. According to the New Media website, the company is focused on “investing in a high quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets.” The company operates in 356 markets across 24 states and includes 429 community publications. Sandton was allowed to use a credit bid of $13.9 million at the auction and plans to put up

an additional $16.3 million in cash. The Free Lance-Star bankruptcy stems from a $50.8 million loan the company took out from BB&T in 2007 to build Print Innovators, as part of a plan to diversify its business. The company continued to make payments on the debt, but became non-compliant with loan covenants due to the impact of declining advertising revenue. Efforts to become compliant, including reductions in personnel and attempts to find potential buyers, were not successful. In June 2013, the loan was bought by Sandton Capital and the outstanding balance is about $38 million. Continued on page 20


say,” said Morgan, who moderated the roundtable. The calendar features Petersburg-area residents – “superstars in the community” – dressed up as someone famous. Morgan, in the first edition of the calendar the newspaper printed, is dressed as singer-songwriter Janis Joplin. “We had an awful lot of fun with it, but we made money. It creates a lot of buzz.” The calendar features a main sponsor (full page ad on the inside, logo on the cover and at the bottom of the page for each month) and each person posing in the calendar has an individual sponsor for $200. The Tidewater News’ calendar features Continued on page 17

Raymond H. Boone, publisher, dies at 76 Raymond H. Boone, founder and publisher of the Richmond Free Press, died of pancreatic cancer June 3 at the age of 76. Boone established himself during a long and distinguished journalism career as a watchdog for the interests of Richmond’s black citizens and stridently strengthened black press throughout the country. “Richmond lost a crusading journalist … with the death of Ray Boone,” Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, D-Va., said on Twitter. As editor and vice president of the Baltimore-

based Afro-American Newspaper Group, Boone was credited by Time Magazine with bringing “sophistication and verve” to the black press. According to an obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Boone participated in a project cosponsored by The Virginia Council on Human Relations and the Afro-American Newspapers Inc. in 1969 to train 15 young black men and women for careers in newspapers to “challenge and confront racism apparent in many American newspapers – especially Southern newspapers.”

“He tried to fight injustice wherever he saw it,” his wife, Jean Boone, said in an interview with Style Weekly. “Without the Free Press, there would be no black voice in Richmond.” Raymond Boone was recognized often for his efforts. He received the 2006 Oliver W. Hill Freedom Fighter Award (the highest honor bestowed by the Virginia NAACP); the 2006 DaimlerChrysler Entrepreneurial Award; and the 2005 A. Philip Randolph

Continued on page 17

VPA Board of Directors Officers President

Nick Cadwallender The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg


Jay Bondurant The Bedford Bulletin

Vice President

Michael Stowe The Roanoke Times


Anne Adams The Recorder, Monterey


Marisa Porto Daily Press, Newport News

Immediate Past President

Keith Stickley The Free Press, Woodstock

Asst. Secretary/ Treasurer

Ginger Stanley VPA

Directors Daniel Finnegan, Richmond Times-Dispatch Gail Harding, The Enterprise, Stuart Maria Hileman, The Winchester Star Steven Kaylor, Danville Register & Bee Jay Kennedy, The Washington Post Cindy Morgan, The Progress-Index, Petersburg Matt Paxton, The News-Gazette, Lexington Steve Stewart, The Tidewater News, Franklin Jenay Tate, The Coalfield Progress, Norton Steve Weddle, The Central Virginian, Louisa Chad Harrison, Womack Publishing, Chatham Kelly Till, The Virginian-Pilot

VPA/VPS Staff Ginger Stanley, Executive Director Kim Woodward, Assistant Director Diana Shaban, Advertising Director Jeremy Slayton, Editor Ron Clark, Accounting Manager Janet Madison, Member Services Manager Adriane Long, Advertising/Network Coordinator Diane Spencer, Tearsheet Coordinator How to reach us: Phone: (804) 521-7570 Fax: (804) 521-7590 or (800) 849-8717 Website:

VOLUME 101, Number 2 (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 2013, Virginia Press Association

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014



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.

OUR PURPOSE We connect our members through valuable business services, effective representation, practical communication and information, and relevant education and recognition.

OUR VALUES The values important to the work of the VPA are fairness, dedication, integrity and honesty.

2014 Legislative Review What a difference a year makes. After defeating six public notices in 2013 and nine in 2012, 2014 may have seemed like an off year with only two bills targeting public notices in newspapers. Both were defeated, but neither is likely to go away. The vast majority of VPA’s lobbying efforts were spent with access bills, including HJ 96 which directs the Freedom of Information Advisory Council to study all 172 exemptions in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The resolution also calls for the council to make recommendations to improve the readability and clarity of FOIA, so really, isn’t everything in the law open for fixes, however minor. All 2014 bills monitored by VPA are included on the online legislative charts at Highlights of key bills of interest are listed here: HB 56 (Del. G. Manoli Loupassi, RRichmond) would have kept secret what occurred during a grand jury proceeding, to include witnesses and their counsel. This was removed in the Senate substitute. HB 174 (Del. Peter F. Farrell, R-Henrico) would have added a record exemption for administrative investigations conducted by a local inspector general or other local investigator responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse by a local government employee. Striken from the docket in House General laws. VPA opposed this bill. HB 193 (Del. J. Randall Minchew, RLoudoun) and SB 161 (Sen. Barbara A. Favola, D-Arlington) removes the requirement that a public body approved by a majority vote of the members present at a meeting the remote participation in a meeting by one of its members. VPA lobbied to restore the vote requirement, but after multiple conversations with local government and legislators (and many variations of the bill) both bills have language that localities have a written policy allowing for and governing remote participation, including an approval process for such participation. At one point in the process, VPA amended language in Favola’s bill to match that of Del. James M. LeMunyon’s HB 789, but LeMunyon asked House General Laws to lay his bill on the table, undoing the compromise worked out by VPA. Approved by the governor. HB 219 (Del. David B. Albo, R-Fairfax) adds a record exemption for educational institutions for confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in records of educational agencies or institutions regarding employee promotions. VPA was neutral on this bill. Approved by the governor. HB 258 (Del. Scott L. Lingamfelter, RPrince William) states that Public institutions of higher education shall not impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of student speech that (i) occurs in the outdoor areas of the institution’s campus and (ii) is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution unless the restrictions (a) are reasonable, (b) are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, (c) are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and (d) leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information. Approved by the governor. HB 275 (Del. K. Rob Krupicka, D-Alexandria) Provides that the general registrar shall determine a reasonable charge, not to

exceed the statutory amount set for copies of court records, for copies made of local electoral board books, papers, and records. Approved by the governor. HB 310 (Del. Scott L. Lingamfelter, RPrince William) Initially this bill granted first informer broadcasters (i.e. a radio broadcast station or a television broadcast station, cable television system, wireless-cable multipoint distribution system, satellite company, or telephone company transmitting video programming that disseminates news and public service and public safety information in the Commonwealth) access to areas affected by a disaster, emergency or major disaster to disseminate news and repair/maintain broadcast equipment. Bill also required certification from the Department of Emergency Management. VPA concern was expressed to the broadcasters, who in turn amended the bill to state that state and local governmental agencies shall grant first informer broadcasters access to their broadcasting station or television system within an area declared a state of emergency area by the Governor for the purpose of provision of news, public service and public safety information, and repairing or resupplying their facility or equipment. Language also includes: Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or impair the right or ability of any news organization or its personnel to gather and report the news. Approved by the governor. HB 339 (Del. Richard L. Anderson, RPrince William) and SB 387 (Sen. Bryce E. Reeves, R-Fredericksburg) As proposed, these bills would have broadened the records exemption for the Department of Rail and Transportation. Ginger Stanley compromised with the patrons to include freight origin and destination as exempt, but not include detailed ridership. The department/ administration argued to include detailed ridership because to disclose it would impact revenue-sharing with Amtrak. After several weeks of discussion and no compromise in sight, SB 387 was passed by until 2015 and HB 339 was passed by indefinitely. The FOIA Council will study both these bills. HB 380 (Del. Scott A Surovell, D-Fairfax) provides that nothing in FOIA will impact disclosures to be made pursuant to any court order or subpoena. Approved by the governor. HB 703 (Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah) and SB 78 (Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Mecklenburg) Exempts administrative investigations conducted by a public institution of higher education relating to individual employment discrimination complaints or audits/investigations of any officer, department or program. VPA was neutral on these bills. Approved by the governor. HB 787 (Del. James M. LeMunyon, R-

Fairfax) would have brought the State Corporation Commission under FOIA. Bill was tabled by House Commerce and Labor. HB 837 (Del. Mark L. Keam, D-Fairfax) amended this bill to state that state agencies must include a statement (already spelled out in FOIA) that a public body may make reasonable charges to exceed its actual cost in processing a FOIA request. Approved by the governor. HB 839 (Del. Robert H. Brink, D-Arlington) clarifies that for the purposes of FOIA applicable to access to public records, the Office of the Attorney general shall be considered a public body. Bill was continued to 2015. VPA opposed because when you carve out one member of the executive branch, the assumption is that the other members are not subject to FOIA. Bill was continued to 2015. HB 937 (Surovell) attempted to bring the SCC under FOIA, but was tabled in House Commerce and Labor. HB 1036 (Del. Johnny S. Joannou, DPortsmouth) and SB 119 (Sen. John C. Watkins, R-Powhatan) codifies the procedure and the (timely) steps the State Corporation Commission must take to respond to requests for information. Explains that information related to matters of the commission’s operational responsibilities and operational functions, such as revenues, expenditures and procurement policies, are available for public inspection. Also, set a timeline for response, 5 days or an additional 7 days. Approved by the governor. HB 1221 (Del. James A. “Jay” Leftwich, R-Chesapeake) would have allowed lottery winners to elect to withhold from public disclosure personal identifying information, except the prize amount and the hometown of the winner. VPA was joined by lottery officials to successfully defeat this bill. SB 640 (Sen. Janet D. Howell, D-Fairfax) Adds witnesses in drug or violent felonies to request their addresses, telephones numbers and places of employment withheld from disclosure. VPA was neutral on this bill but express concern to the patron of the domino effect – that if you close one court record, people will look to have other closed as well. Approved by the governor. HB 1166 (Del. Riley E. Ingram, RHopewell) initially included a blanket insurance policy for carriers by newspapers. This line was striken from the bill. SB 212 (Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City) would have limited the record exemption for working papers and correspondence of members of the General Assembly by providing that such records are protected to the extent they pertain to the drafting or amending of legislation. Despite support from VPA, this bill was killed in the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee.


Minutes, VPA Board of Directors

The Virginia Press Association board met at the Hilton-Short Pump in Richmond on April 4, 2014 staff for taking on many tasks. She congratulated The Virginian-Pilot on its win in the Supreme Court, and praised Craig Merritt for his outstanding brief in support. She said the hard winter had increased costs for snow removal and heating (including breakdowns in the heating system) but noted the extra expense was offset by lobbying efforts that did not require the efforts of the law firm; also, she noted a profit on the annual conference. Legislative Report: Ginger Stanley updated the board on the successful efforts in defeating bills in this year’s General Assembly, praising the work of VPA’s Jeremy Slayton, who appears to be “a natural” in lobbying. Mr. Slayton wrote and submitted the legislative report for the board, noting the vast majority of VPA’s lobbying was spent with access bills. Ms. Stanley pointed to two critical needs for VPA members — one is the upgrade to the Public Notice website, which is changing to make it easier for newspaper staff to upload notices. The need for a comprehensive site, where all VPA members upload weekly all the notices they publish, is vital to continuing to defeat bills that threaten notices in newspapers. The goal for the website is to not only make it easier to upload notices, but also make it easier for citizens to use it, including the added function of a searchable database. The board agreed to mobilize a task force to support getting the website up and going, using members of the Public Notice task force and adding others with expertise to contribute. Secondly, Ms. Stanley noted one of the resolutions that passed this year’s General Assembly calls for a thorough, two-year review of the Freedom of Information Act, something that has not been done in 14 years. April 22 is the first meeting of the reviewing council, and it will organize work groups. She said VPA needs to know what member newspapers would like to see changed in the Act, and will need working journalists to contribute to the work groups. Ms. Stanley and Matt Paxton also briefed the board on a proposal in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee that would effectively put a tax on newspaper advertising. VPA joined 47 other press associations joining the NAA and NNA in opposing the measure. The proposal is dead for this year, but is expected to return. Committee Reports: Membership — Michael Stowe reported all members are in good standing and three applications for associate membership were received from: Roanoke Business, The Commonwealth Times of Richmond, and The Health Journal of Williamsburg. Upon motion duly made by Matt Paxton and seconded by Gail Harding, all three were approved as new associate members. Upon a motion duly made by Steven Kaylor, seconded by Danny Finnegan, the full VPA membership list was approved. Freedom of Information Committee — This group met Jan. 24, 2014, to discuss bills of interest to VPA members. The committee was reminded VPA would monitor legislation throughout the General Assembly session. Virginian of the Year — Vice President Michael Stowe reported there were four nom-

inations for Virginian of the Year. The panel of judges met Dec. 12, 2013, and selected Col. Porcher L. Taylor, Ph.D., as this year’s recipient. Stowe encouraged all member newspapers to consider a local contest next year to find nominees from their regions. Nominating Committee — Keith Stickley reported the committee met Jan. 3, and offered the following slate officers for 201415: President, Jay Bondurant; President-Elect, Michael Stowe; Vice President, Anne Adams; Secretary, Marisa Porto; Treasurer, Steve Weddle; Past President, Nick Cadwallender; Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Ginger Stanley. Bruce Potter, COO of Northern Virginia Media Services was nominated to replace Keith Stickley, and G.L. Lynn Hurst, general manager of Montgomery Publishing, was nominated to replace Gail Harding. Kelly Till, ad director for The Virginian-Pilot, was nominated to replace Bill Owens. Jay Kennedy and Chad Harrison were nominated for their own threeyear terms; Steven Kaylor was nominated for a second term on the board. Staff Reports: Advertising — Advertising Director Diana Shaban reported gross sales for VPS, October 2013-February 2014, were roughly $1.2 million, with several schedules placed for some new or dormant advertisers. Contest —  The contest committee reported this was the fourth year using OmniContests entry system for the news and ad contests. Both contests were judged by the Georgia Press Association. Professional Development — Assistant Director Kim Woodward reported six scheduled workshops upcoming, in everything

from engaging the youth audience and sales leadership to the Community Journalism Workshop. VPA members have had the opportunity to participate in some 25 webinars since the last report. Publications — Jeremy Slayton reported VPA launched its new, redesigned website in January, following two months of work. He and web developer Abdellatif Boudaouch are also redesigning the public notice site. Mr. Slayton noted VPA’s Twitter handle has grown by an increase of 398 percent. Virginia Press Foundation — Keith Stickley reported the foundation met Nov. 11, 2013, and subsequently mailed a letter and brochure to members soliciting donations. The following officers were chosen: Chairman, Greg Rooker; Vice Chairman, David Mele; Secretary/Treasurer, Louise Seals; Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Keith Stickley. The following directors drew slips for terms of service: Ed Jones, 4 years; Lawrence McConnell, 4 years; David Mele, 4 years; Bill O’Donovan, 2 years; Greg Rooker, 2 years; Louise Seals, 2 years (by request). The foundation will move forward to set up a website. Some donations have already been received. Old Business Mr. Cadwallender said the executive committee will share salary comparison information as it moves forward to reviewing salary levels at VPA. There being no further business, on a motion by Steve and seconded by the other Steve, the meeting was adjourned. ~ Respectfully submitted by Anne Adams, Secretary


Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Board members attending: Nick Cadwallender, Jay Bondurant, Michael Stowe, Anne Adams, Marisa Porto, Keith Stickley, Danny Finnegan, Gail Harding, Chad Harrison, Maria Hileman, Steven Kaylor, Cindy Morgan, Matt Paxton, Steve Stewart, Jenay Tate, Steve Weddle, Ginger Stanley. Also attending: Ron Clark of VPA. President Nick Cadwallender called the meeting to order at 11 a.m. New members: Kelly Till of The VirginianPilot was nominated to serve on the board, replacing Bill Owens. On a motion by Jenay Tate, seconded by Steven Kaylor, the new member was approved. Minutes: Minutes of the Oct. 25, 2013 board meeting at Fredericksburg were presented by Mr. Cadwallender. Upon motion duly made by Michael Stowe, seconded by Matt Paxton, the board approved the minutes with no amendments. Financial Report: Treasurer Marisa Porto presented VPA finances through the last eight months, ending Feb. 28, 2014. She noted Display ad revenue was down 41 percent; Classified advertising was down 17 percent; and the 2x2 Network was about 12 percent. However, March had been the best month yet and revenue was expected to report higher for that month. Year-to-date, revenue over expenses was down 71,000, as opposed to 21,000 down this time last year. After unrealized gain, total year-to-date was -$7,700, but with a positive $44,000 cash flow. Ginger Stanley added that April revenue was not expected to be great, and anticipated being under budget in Display revenue. She agreed March was the best month so far this year for Classifieds and 2x2 Network revenue. Ron Clark noted VPA lost one of its largest advertisers in Display; however rental income for the building was up by 11 percent. Keith Stickley suggested marketing the rental space available more heavily. Upon motion duly made by Steve Weddle, seconded by Gail Harding, the treasurer’s report was accepted. President’s Report: Mr. Cadwallender praised the work of VPA staff for their work of fighting for open government and Freedom of Information in this year’s long session of the General Assembly. He said thanks to their efforts, especially Ginger Stanley and Jeremy Slayton, VPA spent far less on Craig Merritt and Christian and Barton law firm this year. He also praised Keith Stickley and the nominating committee for keeping the slate of officers filled. “We are grateful for the many years of service by Keith Stickley and Gail Harding as they rotate off the board,” he said. “We could always trust Gail and Keith to ask the hard questions that challenged the board and kept us true to our mission.” Mr. Cadwallender also praised Michael Stowe and the Virginian of the Year Committee; and Kim Woodward for her work on professional development opportunities. Executive Director’s Report: Ginger Stanley reported numbers are up for the VPA Conference attendance — some 620 registered for the banquet, more than had attended since 2007. She attributed the hike to the Richmond location, primarily. She praised the volunteer work of Randy Jessee, and the amazing VPA


Online promotions are growing By Sterling Giles Special to Virginia’s Press

The rising trend to increase revenue through online promotions is not likely to taper off soon. Second Street, a leading online promotion firm with more than 3,000 affiliates ranging from Sports Illustrated to Fox News, recognized this trend in the last six years – revenue has shifted from physical to online promotions. The company predicts that it will continue in the future, said Liz Crider, the affiliate success manager at Second Street. St. Louis-based Second Street caters its Crider services to online promotions in order to increase consumer activity by developing various forms of revenue contests. Crider in April discussed with a roomful of journalists and advertising executives various ways to acquire revenue through online advertising – sponsored contests, advertiser contests and reader’s choice ballots. Sponsored contests include sweepstakes, pet contests and beauty contests. In several cases, advertising companies were utilized to promote these sponsored contests and thousands of

dollars was generated as a result. Advertiser contests utilize social media sites, such as Facebook, in which companies develop “like-gate” pages. These pages encourage the consumer to click the “like” button on the company’s page so they will have access to deals, events and general information. Reader’s choice ballots depict the public opinion on various live, sporting and other pop culture events. This allows advertising agents to decide what events will create the greatest turnout and sponsorship support. Crider said a marketing plan is key to developing effective online promotions. “First, you must set a goal. Second, put a team together of marketers, IT, and newsroom people. Third, create a calendar to keep track of your events. Next, organize your team. Lastly, excite your sales team,” she said. Crider guaranteed that by following this plan, success would be attainable. She also stressed the key to promoting effectively is to utilize all online tools and social media forums in order to reach a large target audience. Sterling Giles is majoring in mass communications with a concentration in print journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Career change is never too late By Janice Millan Special to Virginia’s Press

In a world full of abundance, it can be difficult to decide on one career path and remain content. What if you are in the midst of your job, and decide to fulfill the goals you have always longed for? It is never too late for change. “Sometimes you just need hope,” said Kim Hanneman, assistant director of career and industry advising at the University Career Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, during an April workshop at the Virginia Press Association annual conference. Hanneman shared her own personal Hanneman experience with an unexpected lay off at a previous job. She was told that the odds of becoming a new career counselor at a large university were slim, but she was willing to take the risky journey to achieve her Plan B. Assess your own personal lifeline, she said. What urges you to do better? Hanneman looked up to her father who returned

to graduate school at the age of 55. A visioning piece was her next step. She kept his diploma in her office as motivation. Hanneman passed out a survey to her audience titled, “The Career Theory.” Attendees were asked to evaluate their own personal highs and lows from birth to the present. The audience made a comparison chart of strengths and weaknesses. Her point was to assess past history of a successful or uneasy milestone. Next, you must make a vision and achieve it through shortterm goals, she said. It took Hanneman a two-year internship before she finally landed the counselor education position at VCU. Taking hope and striving towards a positive outcome is what will make people visualize their goals, she said. Create a strategy. Pay attention to job details and prospects. There are plenty of online resources that promote career management. She explained that her journey to Plan B was not easy, but a step forward was necessary to make her dream come true. “It won’t always happen quickly. Keep working. Plan B can bring anything,” she said. Janice Millan is studying broadcast journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Pricing strategies topic at workshop As advertisers spend less money in newspapers, media executives are searching for new ways to generate revenue. Many have increased the price of the print product or set up paywalls for readers to access content online. “Historically, advertising has subsidized subscriptions,” said Matt Lindsay, president of Mather Economics. “We, as an industry, have billions of dollars we could have charged our subscribers, but we didn’t because we were making so much money on the advertising side.” Since that is no longer the case, newspaper subscribers are being asked to pay more for the print and digital content. But it’s the structure of those options that is starting to differ. Over the past few years, Lindsay said, many newspapers have instituted across the board rate hikes, which have caused them to lose some subscribers. But another model some newspaper organizations are moving to is market-based pricing, which charges each customer a different amount. “I feel like, at the end of the day, it benefits the buyers and the sellers, because they are some buyers that would be priced out of the product,” Lindsay said, noting that a 7-day a week subscriber gets something different out of a newspaper than a 3-day subscriber. Nick Cadwallender, publisher of The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, which has partnered with Mather Economics, likened the subscriber pricing strategy to a similar advertising approach. “We have been doing this for years on the advertising side. We have different rates for different advertisers,” he said. “That’s something that has been accepted for a long time.” In some instances, newspapers have implemented a membership program that adds value to the subscription to create a premium price point, Lindsay said. People who choose this option “get invited to special events, get to have special access to editors, lunch with columnists, things like that,” he said. Another pay structure discussed by Lindsay focused on accessing content through a variety of devices, such as computers, tablets and smartphones, or an all-access plan that allows users to read content through all devices. Lindsay said some news organizations have created tablet-specific apps to gain access to content that is not available anywhere else. The content is published around 5 p.m. each day and readers pay a monthly fee to access it. Lindsay said a good thing about digital is “we can see what people are reading and when they are reading” and subscription plans can be tailored to fit those needs. Despite the popularity of handheld devices, Lindsay does not believe print newspapers will ever go away. It’s still a good advertising tool, he said.

Foundation laid for three-year FOIA Study

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

The foundation for an extensive study that could lead to an overhaul of Virginia’s Freedom of Information law was developed in late April by the state’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council. The council established two subcommittees - one to study some record exemptions and another to study meetings - that will meet during the 2014 calendar year. According to the study plan presented, more records exemptions will be reviewed in 2015 and general FOIA provisions will be studied in 2016. But that doesn’t mean that’s how the plan will look as the study moves forward. “We’re flying at 30,000 feet here. Once you look at the 45 closed meeting provisions or the other exemptions, the subcommittee might have a better idea of what to do first, second and third and what could be accomplished this year versus next year,” said Del. James M. LeMunyon, vice-chair of the FOIA Council who also was the patron of the resolution that led to the study of FOIA. But little progress was made when the subcommittees initially met in mid-May. Craig Merritt, an attorney with Richmondbased Christian & Barton law firm lobbying on behalf of the Virginia Press Association, suggested to the records subcommittee that it might be useful to examine FOIA policy first to establish some criteria to determine the appropriateness of exemptions 4 currently contained in the law.

But several members of both subcommittees initially balked at setting policy without the explicit direction from the General Assembly. “Taking on policy is beyond the scope of our study,” said Christopher Ashby, a citizen-member of the FOIA Council. However, Maria J.K. Everett, executive director of the FOIA Council, stressed that the body has the statutory ability to recommend policy to the General Assembly and after further discussion Ashby noted Merritt’s request was a valid concern and an issue to be decided by the full FOIA Council, which includes two legislators, Sen. Richard H. Stuart and LeMunyon. Both subcommittees agreed it would be in the members’ best interests to hold a special meeting of the FOIA Council in June to discuss FOIA policy and provide guidance to the subcommittees as they examine the exemptions and clarity of the law. Records that will be examined in work groups this year include general exclusions for public bodies, proprietary records and trade secrets, exemptions related to specific bodies and limitations on record exclusions. FOIA law governing meetings that will be examined include meetings through electronic means, closed meetings and notice of meetings. LeMunyon described the FOIA study as “zero-based FOIA, like zero-based budgeting.” “We assume it’s all open, to the extent that there is an exemption, we’re looking for a new justification or a rejustification,” he said. The study, which is slated to be finished by December 1, 2016,

will include input from all stakeholders, ranging from local government representatives to open government groups. Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association, has taken part in two previous studies of FOIA and excited about the upcoming study. “This one, I believe, will be the most thoroughly studied ... and for once, I believe it will be a decision made by folks who understand FOIA to the highest degree,” Stanley said, noting that the press association is putting all efforts into the study. “We have dozens of correspondence already from our members with suggestions, with concrete examples of why parts of FOIA do not work today.” The study will examine all 172 exemptions in FOIA, including 70 that have been added since the last review in the late 1990s. The study will also examine the organizational structure of FOIA and make recommendations to improve the readability and clarity of the law. The Virginia Press Association needs our membership’s help to fix problems in the law. VPA is asking editors, publishers and most importantly, reporters who use FOIA every day, to let us know about the problems they encounter, whether its public bodies refusing FOIA requests or illegally going into closed meetings or being shut out of court hearings. If you want to participate in FOIA work groups with other VPA members or if you have any FOIA experiences you want to share, please contact Jeremy Slayton at

Advertisers shifting dollars to digital By Sterling Giles Special to Virginia’s Press

In the last decade, there has been a gradual shift in how advertising dollars are being spent – moving from newspapers to the digital format. This transition has also influenced the agencies’ advertisement-spending trend, said Jay Blankenship, the digital manager of The Press of Atlantic City, during a digital advertising seminar at the Virginia Press Association’s annual conference in April. Trends show that advertisers are spending an increased 6.4 percent of advertising dollars on television, while spending for ads in newspapers has declined by -5.5 percent. This trend is not a negative connotation; rather it just shows a transition in the news industry. “Newspapers have established brands, while websites are just an extension of your brand and audience,” Blankenship said, explaining that newspapers are still significant today for advertisers. The benefits of the digital format are that it has local significance and reaches a larger audience than the newspaper format. In addition, the digital develops more impressions. “Impressions are the product of unique visitors, the number of page views by customers and the number of ads on the page,” Blankenship said. In addition, the digital format typically encourages a longer and greater investment by sponsors invested in a specific company and customers. The purpose of online advertising is to invoke relevance,

to make sales and to develop engaging designs. Blankenship said that the key to attracting the customer’s interest is by branding all your company’s products to promote interest and value. In mathematical terms, value is the summation of the price of a product, the quality of the product, and the quality of service by the product developer. In addition, Blankenship cautioned to stay away from high annoyance advertising elements such as bright colors, large lettering and “moving” characters. In addition, Blankenship stressed when presenting your sales pitch to your

customers, it must be given in a cordial, confident and factual manner. Blankenship assured that the effective collaboration of these advertising strategies is key to acquiring more impressions, increasing the amount of people viewing your advertisements and ultimately, leading to more consumer traffic to your company’s page. Sterling Giles is majoring in mass communications with a concentration in print journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Use research to bolster advertising campaigns continual process.” Cook recounted two instances how research changed an advertiser’s intentions. One was a real estate firm that touted it was a family-owned business in an effort to gain clients. But when compared with 39 other areas, the fact it was family-owned was third from the bottom, Cook said. “They built their whole campaign off of their gut and they were wrong,” he said, noting that the company changed its advertising approach to much success. Another company developed three advertising points to test, while Cook and his team developed seven others. The three developed by the company were the least effective, Cook said. But as one attendee pointed out, there is a fine line between what the client wants and telling them their approach is wrong. Inform-

ing an advertising client of other avenues is doing due diligence, Cook said. “I think it’s important you tell them certain things. ‘Are you aware of this? We’re just letting you know research says that doesn’t work, but if you really want to go forward with that we want you to know,’” he said.

“Widen your options. Take a look at the information available. Let’s go beyond your gut and your guess. You may be surprised.”


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Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Sometimes it’s what you think you know that can derail a well-planned advertising campaign. When it comes to making decisions with advertising dollars, obstacles are going to arise that prevent people from making the right choices. It may be as simple as keeping your options limited based on past performance and a reluctance to change. Doing things the way they’ve always been done is a problem, said Adam Cook, director of research and development at Pilot Media in Norfolk. He stressed to a roomful of newspaper advertising executives during a Virginia Newspaper Academy in May the importance of conducting research prior to making important choices. “You can use data to make more intelligent decisions and educated decisions, you’ll be better off,” Cook. “Learn to adapt; it’s a


MEMBER NEWS Three new members approved by VPA Board of Directors The Virginia Press Association Board of Directors approved three new members during its meeting on April 4 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump. The association welcomes associate members The Health Journal, of Williamsburg; The Commonwealth Times, of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond; and Roanoke Business.  Publications join 2x2 ad network The Rappahannock Times in Tappahannock, The Hopewell News and the News-Patriot recently joined the Virginia Press Services 2x2 advertising network. The weekly publications were already members of the Statewide Classified Advertising Network. The addition of these publications pushes network participation to 94 newspapers.

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

VPA members lauded in annual APSE writing, sections contest The Washington Post was one of six media groups to win “Grand Slam” honors in the annual Associated Press Sports Editors’ writing and sections contest. The Post, competing in the over-175,000 circulation division, earned top-10 recognition for their daily, Sunday and special sections along with a top-10 website in the Class A website division (more than 2 million monthly unique visitors). Also receiving honors in the annual contest were: • The Roanoke Times (Top 10 in Sunday section in the 30,000-75,000 circulation) • Mike Wise, The Washington Post (columns, over175,000) • Nathan Fenno, The Washington Times (columns, 75,001-175,000) • Amanda Comak, The Washington Times (beat writing, 75,001-175,000) • Harry Minium, The Virginian-Pilot (beat writing, 75,001-175,000) • Norm Wood, Daily Press (beat writing, 30,000-75,000) • Kent Babb, The Washington Post (features, over175,000) • Rich Campbell, The Washington Times (features, 75,001-175,000) • David Fairbank, Daily Press (features, 30,000-75,000) • Whitelaw Reid, The Daily Progress (features, under-30,000) • Sally Jenkins, Rick Mases, Scott Clements, The Washington Post (projects, over 175,000) • Justin Rice, Amy Umble, Phil Jenkins, The Free LanceStar (projects, 30,000-75,000)  • Nathan Fenno, The Washington Times (explanatory, 75,001-175,000) • Harry Minium, The Virginian-Pilot (explanatory, 75,001-175,000) • Andy Bitter, The Roanoke Times (explanatory, 30,00075,000) • Taft Coghill Jr., The Free Lance-Star (explanatory, 30,000-75,000) • Dave Fairbank, Daily Press (explanatory, 30,000-75,000) • Adam Kilgore, Wilson Andrews, Bonnie Berkowitz, Todd Lindeman, Sohail A-Jamea, The Washington Post (multimedia, over-2 million unique monthly visitors) • Staff, The Washington Post (multimedia, over-2 million unique monthly visitors) • Daily Press (top-10 website, under-500,000 monthly unique users) The Richmond Times-Dispatch received honorable mention for daily sections and Sunday section in the 75,001175,000 circulation group. The Daily Progress earned honorable mention status in Sunday Sections for the under-30,000 group. The Free Lance-Star was named honorable mention in the 30,000-75,000 group for Special Sections. The Virginian Pilot took home honorable mention in the 500,000-1.99 mil6 lion unique users website category.

Roanoke Times series wins health care journalism award The Roanoke Times series “Understanding Obamacare” written by Laurence Hammack and David Ress won third place in the Health Policy category (small circulation division) in the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. This occasional series examined how the Affordable Care Act impacted the people, patients and health care providers of southwest Virginia. The series was also named a finalist in the explanatory reporting category of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers› Best in Business competition. Ress is now a reporter with the Daily Press in Newport News.

one for its coverage of National Security Agency surveillance and another in explanatory reporting by reporter Eli Saslow’s coverage of the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America. The Post and The Guardian US each received Pulitzers for their efforts to expose NSA surveillance. The Post›s coverage was “marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.” Saslow was cited for “his unsettling and nuanced reporting on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America, forcing readers to grapple with issues of poverty and dependency.”

Washington Post wins two ASNE awards for distinguished writing The Washington Post took home two awards in the 2014 American Society of News Editors Awards  for distinguished writing and photography. Eli Saslow was a co-winner of the Deborah Howell Award for Nondeadline Writing, which recognizes excellence in writing not accomplished on deadline.  Judges wrote that his stories “demonstrated how powerful great narrative writing can be. His articles ... covered the human toll of poverty and hunger, a family’s loneliness in the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting and how learning to use guns is just a matter of growing up in some parts of America.” Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah and Steven Rich were the winners of the Local Accountability Reporting Award, which recognizes outstanding work done by a news organization that holds important local institutions accountable for their actions.  “In its investigative series Homes for the Taking, The Washington Post shines a light on the process of tax lien auctions in the District of Columbia,” judges wrote. “The team wove together the hard-edged analysis with deft storytelling about the families affected by this longstanding practice. The stories spurred both community outrage and immediate action from district officials, who canceled the sale of tax liens and initiated immediate reforms to the process.”

Northern Virginia weeklies win national awards Two of Northern Virginia Media Services’ weekly newspapers – Leesburg Today and Prince William Today – combined to win seven awards, including three first-place honors, in the Local Media Association’s 2013 editorial contest.

Charlottesville Tomorrow receives Knight Foundation grant Charlottesville Tomorrow announced in March it received a two-year $75,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund at The Miami Foundation. The funding is part of The Knight Local Media Initiative that aims to help nonprofit news organizations establish long-term sustainability.  Charlottesville Tomorrow, a non-profit news organization, is one of five online-only members in the Virginia Press Association. “The Knight Foundation has been a major supporter of innovation in community news and we greatly appreciate their continued confidence in our work,” Charlottesville Tomorrow Executive Director Brian Wheeler said in a report.    News Leader journalists win awards in Best of Gannett competition Megan Williams, Katie Currid and Calvin Trice won firstplace awards in the Annual Best of Gannett Competition.  Megan Williams won a first place in long-form writing category for her story “Losing Norah,” published in November about a family’s struggle with pediatric cancer.  Currid won a first place in photojournalism for the photos that accompanied the “Losing Norah” story. She also won a second place in the video category for a “Losing Norah” video and a third place for a variety of her work. Trice won a first place in beat reporting for his coverage of local government, taxes and politics. Merry Eccles and Beth Arsenault of Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio and Digital Production Center shared an award for design of print and online components of the “Losing Norah” story.  Washington Post wins two Pulitzers The Washington Post was awarded with two Pulitzer Prizes –

Leesburg Today received first-place awards for: • Best Entertainment and Lifestyle Section, all weekly papers. • Best Editorial Page, weekly papers over 20,000 circulation. • Prince William Today photographer Jeff Mankie won first place for Best Feature Photo in the over-20,000 category. • Other awards received by the group (all in the over-20,000 category) were: • Prince William Today sports editor Dave Fawcett and designer Elisa Hernandez, second place, Best Sports Section • Leesburg Today reporter Erika Jacobson Moore, third place, Best Feature Story • Leesburg Today deputy editor Danielle Nadler, third-place tie, Best Feature Series • Prince William Today’s Fawcett, honorable mention, Best Sports Writing Daily Press Media Group to move The Daily Press Media Group announced that it will move its publishing and media headquarters to Newport News’ City Center at Oyster Point by this fall. According to the announcement, the move will bring more than 150 of the company›s employees to the $350 million publicprivate development.  “The Daily Press Media Group is pleased to be where the action is in the center of the city,” Digby Solomon, president and CEO of the Daily Press Media Group, said in a news release. Times-Dispatch columnist honored with humanitarian award Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams has been named the 2014 recipient of the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award. Williams writes a twice-weekly column which appears in the newspaper on Tuesday and Friday and he posts a weekly online video, “Mike’s Take,” on Wednesday. Williams is a graduate of Virginia Union University and Northwestern University. He was one of a dozen U.S. journalists awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 1999. He began his career at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1982 as a reporter in the paper’s Williamsburg bureau. Changes come to Hopewell News, The News-Patriot publications Many changes are coming to the Hopewell News and The News-Patriot, including separating into two distinct publications.  Publisher Craig Richards wrote that in order to enhance coverage of the Hopewell, Prince George, Colonial Heights and Chester communities “the immediate answer is to create two separate papers with expanded coverage that will publish and weekday and weekend edition.” The Hopewell News will cover the “important” stories in Hopewell and Prince George, while The News-Patriot will focus on Colonial Heights and Chester. The paper’s new look was launched April 2.

Virginia Press Association

Awards D. Lathan Mims Award for Editorial Service to the Community Anne Adams

The Recorder, Monterey

VPA Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service


The Roanoke Times Pictured: Michael Stowe, Dan Casey, Joe Stinnett

Outstanding Young Journalist Mike Hixenbaugh

The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk

Outstanding Journalist Rosalind Helderman The Washington Post

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

VPA Outstanding Journalists Awards


Best in Show



Spencer Ward

The Breeze, James Madison University “Social Media”

Best in Show


Steve Wheat

Kevin McFadin (pictured), Mike Freeman

Sam Hundley “Banks’ share in the Fauquier County Market”

Richmond Magazine “Loud and Proud Richmond’s Cicadas”

The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk “Flu”





Kathryn Watson

Ned Oliver

Megan Williams

Aileen M. Streng

Best in Show

Style Weekly, Richmond “ROC”

The News Leader, Staunton “Losing Norah”

Prince William Today “Ghost”



Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014


WRITING, Virginia Bureau “McDonnell”



V. Lee Hawkins Richmond Magazine



Accepted by Rosalind Helderman and Mike Semel The Washington Post



The Breeze James Madison University


Non-Daily 1 Electronic

Non-Daily 2 Electronic

Non-Daily 3 Electronic

Dawn Haun

Tori Smith

Peter Dewey, Melissa Orendorff

The Caroline Progress “Bowling Green Farmers Market”

The Breeze James Madison University “Macado’s”

Accepted by staff The Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg “Jeremiah’s Lawn Service”

Specialty Electronic

Daily 1 Electronic

Daily 2 Electronic

Joel Smith (pictured), Tonie Stevens, Chris Mason

Cheryl Dellinger, Carol Hough

Brooke Hill, John Knopp

Style Weekly, Richmond “Hogtober-Booyah”

Daily 3 Electronic

Doris Anne Kane Gina Denniston

Richmond Times-Dispatch “VCU School of Business 75th Anniversary”

Accepted by staff Northern Virginia Daily, Strasburg “Bliss Carpet Cleaning”

Daily Hard Copy

Brian Bias

The Roanoke Times “The Taubman Museum of Art”

The News & Advance, Lynchburg “Lynchburg College”

Non-Daily Hard Copy

Specialty Hard Copy

Ryan Outlaw

Joel Smith (pictured) Tonie Stevens, Chris Mason

The Tidewater News Franklin “Daily News E-mail Signup”

Style Weekly, Richmond “Hogtober”

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Best in Show


Best in Show


Katie Currid

The News Leader, Staunton “Losing Norah”

Best of the Best


Jay Diem

Eastern Shore News, Accomac “Pony Penning”

Tori Smith

The Breeze James Madison University “Macado’s”

GRAND SWEEPSTAKES Specialty Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014


Fred Tingle

Scott Elmquist “Baseball Action”

Style Weekly, Richmond “Grief Struck”


Best of the Best



Richmond Magazine Accepted by staff

Outstanding Young Sales Professional

Scott Matthew

Courier-Record, Blackstone

Outstanding Sales Professional

Mitzi Lusk

The Tidewater News, Franklin


Non-Daily 2

The Tidewater News, Franklin

The Breeze, James Madison University

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Non-Daily 3

Daily 1

Prince William Today

Northern Virginia Daily, Strasburg

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Daily 3

The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg

The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk

Accepted by staff

Accepted by Denis Finley

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Daily 2


Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014



Non-Daily 1

Non-Daily 2

The Commonwealth Times, Virginia Commonwealth University

Eastern Shore News, Accomac

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Non-Daily 3

Daily 1

The Fairfax County Times

The News Leader, Staunton

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Daily 2

Daily 3

The Free-Lance Star, Fredericksburg

The Washington Post

Accepted by staff

Accepted by Rosalind Helderman and Mike Semel



Richmond Magazine

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Non-Daily 1

Non-Daily 2

The Tidewater News, Franklin

Rappahannock Record, Kilmarnock

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Non-Daily 3

Daily 1

The Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg

Northern Virginia Daily, Strasburg

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014





The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg

Style Weekly, Richmond

Accepted by staff

Accepted by staff

Daily 3

The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk Accepted by staff

MORE AWARDS Golden 50 Club

Lifetime Achievement

First Amendment Award

Katy Evans

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

The Daily Progress, Charlottesville


Nancy M. Lindsey The Enterprise, Stuart

Carla Gutridge Journal Press Inc. Accepting on behalf of the late

Ruth Jones Herrink

Laura Vozella and Rosalind Helderman The Washington Post Not pictured: Carol Leonnig

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Scenes From the Red Carpet



Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Journalists learn how millennials consume news

Advertising executives exchange revenue-generating ideas Continued from page 1 photos submitted by the community and a contest is held to pick the top photos for the calendar. The paper sells a main sponsorship, full banners, half banners and business directory ad spaces. Organizations can also buy “special event dates” to be included on the calendar, Lusk said. One successful revenue-generating project from the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg was a pictorial history book, printed in conjunction with the paper’s centennial anniversary, using photos submitted by readers and the local historical society as well as staff photos. The paper sought sponsorships from key community institutions. The book was published by The Pediment Group, which has a business model for newspapers of all sizes. “It created a lot of buzz in the community; people just loved looking at those old historical photos,” said Steve Turner, advertising director for the Daily News-Record. “It was great branding for our newspaper.” Other ideas shared at the roundtable: • 555 sale: 5 2x5 ads for an affordable price to run during a 5-week period. Frequency and consistency are key elements to a successful marketing campaign.

• Post-It Note/Hospital Partnership: A promotion using Post-It notes on the front page; exclusive partnership with one local or national advertiser. The newspaper prints the Post-It notes and run them Monday through Friday on the free newspaper that are placed in hospital rooms. • Visitor’s Guide: Placement of an advertiser’s website address, phone number on the bottom footer of every right hand page within the magazine. Tourism associations are prime targets for visitor and newcomer guides. • Football Contest/Racing Contest: Weekly ballots with sponsors. • Veteran Salute: A special section honoring American soldiers. Readers are asked to submit photos of their soldiers – past and present. Businesses can purchase ads to show support. • Anniversary Issue/Honor Roll: An issue that appears the first week of April where business, churches, other organizations list their years of service to the community. • Hometown Series: Beginning in January and running for 16 weeks through April, focus on different communities each week with news features and local business advertisements. Success of this project relies on cooperation and support from the newsroom.

Campaign finance filing deadline extended Politicians now have more time to file their campaign finance reports, and it will likely impact how long it takes for the public to see them. The State Board of Elections in April voted to extend the filing deadline from 5 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. despite the objections of the non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project, the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association and the Virginia Press Association. “While the change makes it easier for those who file, it makes it more difficult for reporters who cover campaigns in a timely way,” said Craig Carper, president of the corre-

spondents association. Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association, said that extending the deadline would hamper the public’s right to know because midnight is not a time that people are typically looking for this kind of information. “It would benefit politicians, but it would be a detriment to the public,” Stanley said, noting that filing campaign finances seven hours later means a delay of up to 30 hours before it appears in a printed newspaper, negatively impacting how the information is ultimately presented.

When it comes to smartphone apps, 61 percent of respondents reported obtaining news through social media, compared with 4.37 percent reported using local news apps. Mackay’s study also shows that young adults consume news through national news organizations, such as CNN, Fox, ESPN, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Fewer than three percent of respondents mentioned the New York Times and the Washington Post. Robert Brauchle, a reporter with the Daily Press in Newport News, pointed out that when talking about specific aspects of such social media apps as Twitter and Instagram “you have to consider hashtags and what hashtags you’re using and who you’re trying to target with those specific hashtags.” Mackay said three trends emerged from millennials’ use of smartphones to consume news: using a phone has social aspects, being able to incorporate opinions in some way and being able to specify preferences. “Whatever you are doing with your mobile content, keep in mind they want control; they don’t want to be able to just see something. Interactivity seems to be really important to this younger generation,” she said.

Raymond H. Boone Continued from page 1 Messenger Award for “publishing excellence in civil rights.” His contributions to the newspaper industry culminated with his April 2000 induction to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He also won a 2006 first-place Virginia Press Association award in editorial writing. “Raymond Boone was a singular figure in the history of journalism and politics in Virginia. His was a life devoted to justice, equality and a well-informed public discourse, and I know that commitment will live on thanks to his leadership at the Richmond Free Press,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement, calling Boone a “true Virginia legend.” VPA Executive Director Ginger Stanley called Boone a rock in the association’s defense to keep public notices in independent newspapers. She recalled several occasions that Boone’s efforts helped defeat bills that would have stripped public notices from newspapers. Thomas A. Silvestri, publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, said Boone often reminded people how important journalism is to a free society and an informed community. “Mr. Boone was a passionate publisher, a hardcharging editor, a frank editorial writer and a crusading watchdog on behalf of what’s best for the city of Richmond,” Silvestri said. “Personally, I will miss our periodic publisher lunches where we debated the issues of the day and shared ideas about how to advance the newspaper business. They were always interesting and ended with a handshake, smiles and a promise to do it again.” According to the Times-Dispatch, Boone’s thirst for journalism began when he was barred from watching a semi-pro baseball game because of his color. His start in the newspaper industry came as a reporter with the Suffolk News-Herald. Boone also is a former associate professor of journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he taught for nine years before starting the Free Press in 1992. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., in a written statement said Boone “represented the very best of aggressive, community-based advocacy journalism. Both in print and in his personal relationships, Mr. Boone consistently held all of us accountable – himself included. Ray Boone exemplified the old saying that newspapers are supposed to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’”

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Young adults do consume the news, but it’s not likely to be from a printed newspaper. According to research conducted by Virginia Tech communications professor Jenn Burleson Mackay, nearly 81 percent of college students she surveyed consume news three days or more a week, however, their primary news of interest is national news and entertainment news. “Millennials do care about the news; don’t let anyone tell you they don’t,” Mackay told a dozen journalists during Virginia Newspaper Academy in May. She told the Virginia journalists that the young adult’s interest in national and entertainment news is going to “be a struggle for most of you because you aren’t trained to drive the national news. Entertainment news might be something you can work with on some level, a much more localized level.” Mostly, young adults are not connecting with news through broadcast or printed mediums, but rather through the Internet, which could include a newspaper’s website. Just 0.4 percent of respondents said they obtained their news through printed newspapers.



Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Steve McMillan was named The Associated Press news editor for Virginia and West Virginia after spending the previous 16 years as a writer and editor at The Denver Post. He is based in Richmond. Danielle Buynak, a graduate of Virginia Tech, was hired by the Radford News Journal as a reporter and page designer. Katherine Johnson, a recent Virginia Commonwealth University graduate, was hired as a full-time reporter at The ProgressIndex in Petersburg. Colby Itkowitz, the former Washington correspondent for The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., joined to The Washington Post to report and write for In the Loop. Arelis Hernandez, a former reporter with the Orlando Sentinel, joined The Washington Post to cover Prince George’s County in Maryland. John M.R. Bull, a former reporter with the Daily Press in Newport News, was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe as commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Michael Campbell, who has been with the Sussex-Surry Dispatch since May 2012, was named the publication’s assistant editor. Craig Richards, formerly the general manager of the Hopewell News and The News-Patriot, was promoted to publisher of Hopewell Publishing Co. He takes over for former Publisher Mike Davis, who was named publisher of the Ledger & Times in


Murray, Ky. Hopewell Publishing Co. publishes The Hopewell News, News-Patriot, Mid-Va Trading Post, Tidewater Trading Post, Crime Time and various other specialty publications and web-based products. Chris Trares, a veteran multimedia sales executive who most recently director of digital sales for Stephens Media in Las Vegas, was appointed regional advertising director for BH Media’s Charlottesville Group. Ray Reed, whose career with newspapers spanned 40 years, retired from the business in April. He had been The News & Advance’s political reporter since 2007. Nicky Marshok, who joined Northern Virginia Media Services in December 2012 to lead advertising operations and production for Prince William Today, was promoted to regional production director. Danielle Nadler was promoted to deputy editor of Leesburg Today. She joined the paper in 2011 as a reporter and will continue to cover the education beat. Mark Laskowski, who has 37 years of experience with daily and weekly community newspapers, has joined The News & Advance in Lynchburg as general manager and regional advertising director. Philip Bump, who formerly wrote about politics at The Wire, now writes for The Washington Post political blog, The Fix. Mike Harris, who helped revive the sports section at The Washington Times, accepted a

People, events in the news job as senior editor for Denise Bird, a marketing and communications professional with more than 17 years of experience in Virginia, was named the new marketing director for Richmond Media Group. Bill Freehling, a reporter for The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg and editor of the popular Fredericksburg Business Insider newsletter, has been hired by the city of Fredericksburg as its assistant director for economic development. Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association, was appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules to the Commission on Civics Education. Daniel Sherrier, who was hired by The Caroline Progress as a reporter in March, was promoted as the publication’s editor about six weeks later. Sarah Vogelsong was hired by The Caroline Progress as a part-time reporter. She joined the Progress after six years managing journals and working as an editor for journals, textbooks and nonfiction. Cindy Huang was hired by the Richmond Times-Dispatch to cover local government and education in Hanover County. Steve Trosky, sports editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has been hired as the assistant sports editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel. Swati Sharma was named The Washing-

ton Post’s digital editor for foreign and national security. She joined The Post’s editorial page last August as a digital editor-producer. Lawrence McConnell, publisher of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville since 1995, was named the executive editor of The Roanoke Times. Joe Stinnett, who guided The Roanoke Times newsroom in a yearlong leadership transition as executive editor, announced his retirement effective at the end of July. Prior to joining The Roanoke Times, he spent 17 years as managing editor of the News & Advance in Lynchburg. Keely Byars was appointed publisher of The Daily Progress and regional publisher for a group of two other dailies and nine weeklies in a group of BH Media newspapers in central and northern Virginia.

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 along with the application. Images must be head-andshoulder shots and a minimum of 300 dpi. IDs are processed by the Virginia State Police and mailed to the publisher’s attention.

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Virginian of the Year: Col. Taylor Col. Porcher L. Taylor, Jr., a Petersburg resident who fought in three wars and broke color barriers along the way, was honored in April as the Virginia Press Association 2014 Virginian of the Year. He joined a list of past recipients that includes civic leaders, politicians and celebrities. Taylor, who was nominated for the award by The Progress-Index in Petersburg, was lauded at a dinner in his honor for his military service during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War as well as his community service.

After an introduction that touched on his commendations and accomplishments, Taylor joked: “That was really my twin brother.” As he closed his short acceptance speech, Taylor asked those assembled at the dinner – friends, family and journalists from across Virginia – to do two things: When you see a member of the United State armed forces “go up to that person, shake their hand and say ‘Thank you for your service.’” And secondly, “remember to do something good for others every day of your life.”

That’s been a mantra in Taylor’s life, as one who has been active throughout Central Virginia’s Tri-Cities region. He is a founder and chair of the Downtown Churches United in Petersburg and helped organize the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. He has led the Petersburg annual Walk Against Hunger Campaign to raise money for needy citizens and families in the Petersburg area. Cindy Morgan, publisher of The ProgressIndex, called Taylor a “true leader … who dedicated much of his life to help others in need.”

Pearson sells Chesterfield Observer, two monthly magazines Greg Pearson, who founded the Chesterfield Observer in the mid-1990s, announced in early May that he has sold the publication and two monthly magazines to advertising director Carol McCracken and her husband

Frank McCracken. “Frank and I are thrilled to be the owners of a strong and successful newspaper in Virginia and two growing magazines,” Carol McCracken, an employee of Local News LLC

Bondurant elected president Jay Bondurant, publisher and ad director of the Bedford Bulletin, was elected president of the 2014-15 VPA/VPS Board of Directors by the association’s membership during the association’s annual meeting in April. Bondurant “I just want to thank everyone for this vote of confidence. It is a honor and a privilege to serve both the association and its members in this capacity,” Bondurant said in brief remarks. “My term as president, I’ll do my best to live up to the legacy of those who preceded me, many of which are in this room and always have done such a great job for our industry and our association.” Also elected to serve as officers, directors: • President-Elect: Michael Stowe, The Roanoke Times • Vice President: Anne Adams, The Recorder, Monterey • Secretary: Marisa Porto, Daily Press, Newport News

• Treasurer: Steve Weddle, The Central Virginian, Louisa • Immediate Past President: Nick Cadwallender, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg • Assistant Secretary/Treasurer: Ginger Stanley, VPA • Director Candidate (Second Three-Year Term): Steve Kaylor, Danville Register & Bee • Director Candidate (First Three-Year Term): Jay Kennedy, The Washington Post • Director Candidate (First Three-Year Term): Chad Harrison, The Star Tribune, Chatham • Director Candidate (First Three-Year Term): Bruce Potter, Leesburg Today • Director Candidate (First Three-Year Term): G.L. “Lynn” Hurst, Salem Times-Register • Director Candidate (First Three-Year Term): Kelly Till, The Virginian-Pilot

since 2003 and its advertising director for nearly a decade, said in a news article posted on the Observer’s website. Local News LLC owns the Observer and magazine Chesterfield Monthly and Henrico Monthly. Pearson started the Observer in September 1995 as a monthly paper with circulation of 7,000 delivered directly to homes in the western Hull Street Road corridor, primarily in the Brandermill and Woodlake subdivisions. The newspaper became a weekly publication in 2006. Local News LLC continued to grow in 2012 when Chesterfield Monthly, a news and lifestyle magazine, was launched. A year later, a similar news and lifestyle magazine, Henrico Monthly, was created.

“As I got older, I noticed my friends were mostly retired and many of them were traveling and enjoying themselves playing golf,” said Pearson, 70. “I don’t know if I can say ‘enjoying myself ’ and golf in the same sentence, but I’m going to join them on the golf course.” Pearson credited McCracken as a “major reason” of Local News LLC’s success and noted that selling the company to McCracken and her husband “we’re keeping the business in the family, so to speak, and not going corporate.” According to the news report, Pearson will continue to work with Local News during the transition, both as an adviser and contributor to the newspaper and magazines.

Dick Heller Dick Heller, who worked at The Washington Times for more than 23 years, died March 20 at the age of 76. Heller began working for newspapers when he was in high school, covering high school sports for The Washington Daily News.  Heller’s career took him to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Alexandria Gazette and The Washington Star until the publication closed in 1981. He joined The Washington Times in 1986 and became a columnist in the early 1990s. Heller remained with the newspaper until its sports section folded in December 2009, then contributed bi-weekly columns for a time after the section returned in March 2011. Kenneth Young Tomlinson Kenneth Young Tomlinson, 69, of Middleburg, Virginia died on May 1 at Winchester Medical Center. In a 28-year career

at Reader’s Digest, he rose to the position of Editor-in-Chief in 1989. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Tomlinson Director of the Voice of America, where he served until 1984. He began his career in journalism as a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1965. In 1968 he joined the Washington bureau of Reader’s Digest, then served as a correspondent in Vietnam, and eventually in Paris, where he covered events in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Tomlinson is former chairman of U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors from 2002 to 2007 which oversees all nonmilitary U.S. international broadcasting. He was also Chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) from 2003-2005. In 1994, he was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame and was named the Virginia Press Association Virginian of the Year.

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014



Panelists discuss digital practices By Janice Millan Special to Virginia’s Press

Virginia journalists took a deeper look at the operations and strategies of an ever-changing media world during a panel discussion in April during the Virginia Press Association annual conference. Citizen journalism is the concept of involving readers and viewers in reporting and disseminating the news. Bill Freehling, staff reporter at The Free-Lance Star in Fredericksburg, uses Facebook and Twitter to interact with his audience for developing stories. He explained that following a larger crowd could gain helpful information. “People will come to you when you interact with your audience,” said Freehling, who started the digital newsletter Fredericksburg Business Insider in 2011 and serves as its editor. Freeh-

ling will leave The Free Lance-Star in June to take a job with the city of Fredericksburg’s economic development department. He was not alone. Karen Morgan, digital editor at the Daily Press in Newport News, suggested that crowd sourcing proves an event to be successful. Trying to draw an audience beyond a news organization’s homepage is key. Contests, events and prizes, such as “swag bags,” are great ways to connect with an audience, the four panelists agreed. “The best thing about digital reporting is trying new things – generating ideas and seeing where they go. You’d be surprised,” said Jacob Geiger, director and reporter for Work It, Richmond, a digital newsletter that is part of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Media is always updating and changing, but knowing the analytics and presentation of news is what matters. The pre-

senters emphasized to the audience of nearly 30 journalists that getting a story together takes greater input than just minimum effort. Different strategies including sponsorships, shares and human interest were discussed. “It’s empowering for reporters to have the freedom of getting their message out there with the push of a button,” Brian Baer, digital editor at The Free Lance-Star. Media interaction generates revenue. Remembering the good neighbor principle, or sharing within, is important. A simple “retweet” of a sunrise picture on Twitter may get your follower base up, the journalists said. Recognizing when it is time to move onto a new subject is critical. Mistakes will happen, but how you handle them is what makes the difference, the panelists said. Janice Millan is studying broadcast journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University.

BH Media Group wants to be indispensable BH Media Group executives aren’t concerned with being the largest newspaper company in America. They want to be the best.  That’s why BH Media, a whollyowned subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, places a premium on local content and the drive to be indispensable to the communities their newspapers serve. Hiemstra “People should feel silly if they don’t read the paper, regardless of the format, because they won’t know something they should,” BH Media

Chief Operating Officer Doug Hiemstra said in April during the Virginia Press Association Annual Conference. BH Media was off and running following the May 2012 purchase of 63 daily and weekly newspapers from Richmond-based Media General. Since then, the company has purchased such papers as the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., The Roanoke Times and The Press of Atlantic City. Hiemstra said BH Media has access to the capital it needs, whether it’s for expansion by purchasing newspapers or improving the newsgathering process with updated equipment, “but we are accountable for those dollars.” While the debate rages about news content being digital first or print first, Hiemstra said that BH Media’s philosophy is “cus-

Upcoming Virginia Press Association professional development opportunities

Virginia’s Press • Summer 2014

Community Journalism Workshop June 19-20, 2014 VPA Headquarters It has been called a “boot camp” for reporters. The annual Community Journalism Workshop is geared for both new journalists and those wanting a skills refresher. Sessions are led by seasoned instructors: Lou Emerson of, Anne Adams of The Recorder, Jeff Lester of The Coalfield Progress, Katrice Franklin Hardy of The VirginianPilot and Alex Russell of The Free Lance-Star. Ilsa Loeser, a reporter with The Farmville Herald, had been on the job for just a few months when she attended last year’s Community Journalism Workshop. “I most benefited from meeting other journalists, hearing horror stories and rubbing shoulders with the war-weathered veterans who instructed us,” Loeser said, noting that the oneon-one critique provided by instructors helped her focus on individual areas of growth while also providing time to discuss each story›s specific challenges.  She said the two-day conference invigo20

rated her when she returned to her job at The Farmville Herald. “I ask more questions and dig deeper,” she said. Registration forms can be found online at Executive Management Retreat July 11-12, 2014 The Cavalier, Virginia Beach Makes plans now to attend the Virginia Press Association’s Executive Management Retreat in Virginia Beach. The two-day event includes a VPA Board of Directors meeting and a family picnic Friday night. Saturday morning’s agenda includes a roundtable discussion. Please reserve your room(s) at The Cavalier by June 10. Reservations are first-come, firstserved, so book early: (888) SINCE27 or (800) 446-8199 Ocean Cavalier Rates Oceanview Single/Double: $164 Oceanfront Single/Double: $179 Oceanfront Deluxe King: $194 Registration forms for all of these opportunities can be found online at

tomer first.” “Some of our customers prefer print; some web browsers on PCs, some iPads,” he said. “We need to excel at all of these channels. We need to embrace all of those channels so our customers can consume our products in whatever format they prefer.” And content that is consumed by readers, will not be provided for free, Hiemstra said, noting that the company spends millions of dollars on gathering, editing and distributing news content. “It’s no different than paying for a Bruce Springsteen song on iTunes. He deserves to get paid for his intellectual property and so do we,” Hiemstra said. “Newspapers have done a lousy job of this since the internet became a force in our lives, so we have some recovery to make up for. It’s a fight worth fighting.”

Sandton Capital to buy Fredericksburg paper Continued from page 1 In the midst of the bankruptcy proceedings, the Free Lance-Star was recognized by the Virginia Press Association in early April with the advertising sweepstakes, news sweepstakes and grand sweepstakes – the top awards – in its daily circulation group. Lynn Tavenner, an attorney for the Free Lance-Star, said during the hearing that 11 bidders initially submitted qualified bids, but only nine took part in the “lively and robust” auction on May 15 at the Richmond Marriott hotel. In addition to New Media and Sandton Capital, other bidders were identified as Halifax Media Group, Ogden Publications, BH Media Group, Monticello Media, Unison, L&L Broadcasting and Colgate Enterprises. Colgate placed the winning bid on the radio towers ($1.5 million) and the radio as-

sets ($7 million). BH Media Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and owners of several Virginia daily and weekly newspapers, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Roanoke Times, placed the high bid ($17.5 million) on the Free Lance-Star newspaper and printing facility. Orr said in court that the company is a believer in community media and called the purchase of the Free Lance-Star’s assets a great investment. “We like the business; we like the management; we like the community,” Orr said, calling the media company a trusted resource in the community. After the hearing, Cadwallendar said: “Hopefully, the newspaper and radio stations will continue to serve the community for many years.”

Virginia's Press, Summer 2014  
Virginia's Press, Summer 2014