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Harnack wins Golden Quill Page 3

September 2015

Journal of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association

Imagine what’s possible; Attend 2015 convention


Keynote speaker Abernathy talks about ‘Path to profitability’ Expect an amazing lineup of workshops and the presentation of intriguing visions for the future of community newspapers at the 2015 convention of the Washington Newspaper Abernathy Publishers Association, Oct. 8-10 at the Holiday Inn in downtown Everett. Convention chairperson Don Nelson of the Methow Valley News has rounded up some of the best minds in journalism and sales to lead discussion sessions that promise to be enlightening and useful. Registration is open now and early birds get discount prices. Check out the easy online form at and pay with a credit card or Paypal. If you would rather mail a check, no problem! Just print out a registration form and mail it to WNPA. The convention’s keynote speaker will be Penelope Muse Abernathy, author of

Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability. Abernathy has more than 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and senior media business executive. She became the Knight Chair of Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina in 2008, and specializes in reinventing journalism and the business models that support it so strong news organizations can thrive in the digital media environment. “America’s community newspapers have entered an age of disruption. Towns and cities continue to need journalism and advertising so essential to nurturing local identity and connection among citizens,” Abernathy said. “But as the business of newspaper publishing collides with the digital revolution, and as technology redefines consumer habits and the very notion of community, how can newspapers survive and thrive?” Abernathy tackles those tough questions head-on and offers some challenging solutions for the future of See Convention, Page 2

Damien Mulinex of the Chinook Observer received the Photo of the Year award in the 2014 WNPA Better Newspaper Contest for catching this private moment.

TWN wants your submissions The Washington Newspaper, published for nearly 100 years by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, is back after a one year haiatus, and WNPA is once again seeking news and information members want to share. “I am really excited to have the TWN back, said WNPA President Keven Graves. “I know many in our membership looked forward to receiving it each month. My thanks go to Executive Director Marcia Van Dyk for getting the newspaper back up and running.” Have you recently added new staff? Did a staff member win an award? Did your paper publish an ambitious special project? WNPA’s greatest asset is its membership, and sharing ideas is a proven a stepping stone to success, so

let us know what you’re doing! Send staff changes, editorials you want to share or other news to TWN will publish on the first Wednesday of each month. The deadline for submissions is one week prior. Early submissions, are, of course, always welcome! The TWN will be published as a PDF publication and posted on Issuu, a popular online platform for sharing publications. Look for a link in your email at the beginning of each month and stay in touch with others in the community newspaper business. Sharing thoughts and ideas, hopes and dreams is what knits us together. We’re looking forward to your submissions.


WNPA on strong footing now By Keven Graves Going into last October’s convention, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association was facing some serious challenges. Our executive Graves director was no longer with us, and Mae Waldron, WNPA’s rock, also moved on. Change can be difficult, but it can also bring unexpected opportunities. Following a broad search, in Marcia Van Dyke we found WNPA’s new executive director, and the tasks handed to her by the board of directors were not small ones — we asked her to bring stability back to the association, address critical areas that had been long neglected and to create new revenue sources where there were none.

But before she could do any of that, she had to put on the convention and Better Newspaper Contest and launch a new website after the rug was pulled out from under the old one. Undoubtedly, Marcia was asking herself what she’d stepped into. To say now that WNPA is in capable hands with its current executive director is an understatement — that quickly became clear to those working behind the scenes during last year’s convention. Organizing such a large event typically begins just weeks after the previous convention ends. With the Convention Committee, Marcia did the near impossible in just a few short weeks — she pulled off the convention — making it appear seamless and without problems. Post convention, Marcia jumped into the deep end of the pool and began the process of working to stabilize the organization.

Marcia, and WNPA’s assistant director, C.J. Burk, conducted a cumbersome and detailed process of creating an accurate and workable budget. There were significant obstacles, and at times there was frustration in her voice. But the work continued, and problem after problem was identified and addressed. Flash forward to today. WNPA is in a strong position to grow and thrive. The board of directors has a crystal clear picture of its finances, and Marcia has begun actively working to build membership. A website that contains nearly all of the legal notices of Washington state’s legal notices, published in both daily and weekly newspapers, launched earlier this year. It is the result of a promise made to state lawmakers that WNPA and Allied Daily Newspapers would

create this website in return for preserving the requirement that legal notices be published in newspapers. We also have a brand new website, designed by Terri Hamberg from the Northern Kittitas County Tribune that we are very thnakful for. And now we are seeing the long-awaited resurrection of The Washington Newspaper, edited and produced by former WNPA board member Fred Obee. If the year that followed the convention was one of rebuilding, the coming year promises to be exciting in its potential. With Marcia at the helm, you can be assured that great things lie ahead for WNPA. Keven R. Graves is executive editor and publisher for the Whidbey News-Times. He is currently president of WNPA.

Supreme Court says records on cell phones public The Washington Supreme Court on Aug. 27 unanimously held that records on a public employee’s private cell phone can be public records and subject to disclosure. In its ruling, the court extended its decision of five years ago, that said private computers could not be used to circumvent public record laws. “Today we consider if the PRA similarly applies when a public employee uses a private cell phone to conduct government business,” the court decision says. “We hold that text messages sent and received by a public employee in the employee’s official capacity are public records of the employer, even if the employee uses a private cell phone.” The ruling came in a case filed by Pierce

County Sheriff’s Detective Glenda Nissen, who asked for Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist’s call and text records.Lindquist supplied a “call log” and “text message log.” He acknowledged some of the calls and texts were work-related. The county gave partially redacted copies to the detective, but she sued the county, arguing the records related to his work should be public. The trial judge sided with the county, saying private cellphone records are not public records. The Supreme Court disagreed and ordered Lindquist to produce those records to the county. The Washington Coalition for Open Government, a WNPA partner, was among several groups to file amicus briefs in the case, supporting Nissen’s claim.

Convention: Sign up online The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Established 1887

Officers: Keven Graves, President; Lori Maxim, First Vice President; Don Nelson, Second Vice President; Bill Forhan, Past President. Trustees: Sara Bruestle, Eric LaFontaine, Donna Etchey, Scott Hunter, Sandy Stokes, Michael Wagar. Staff: Marcia Van Dyke, Executive Director; C.J. Burk, Assistant Director. THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER is the offical publication of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. It is published monthly by WNPA, 1204 Fourth Ave. East, Suite 4, Olympia, WA 98506. Marcia Van Dyke: Executive Director: 360-515-5239. Email: mvandyke@ CJ Burk: Accounting and Advertising 360-515-0974. Email: Fax: 360-515-5546 2 The Washington Newspaper September 2015

Continued from Page 1 community journalism. The convention’s opening reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Bluewater Organic Distilling, 1205 Craftsman Way, Ste. 109, Everett. The reception is sponsored by TownNews and Allied Law Group. Friday Oct. 9 is jam-packed with breakout sessions on managing resources, public records and data bases, sales tactics for print and web, photography and more. Presenters include Mike Fancher, former executive editor of the Seattle Times, Steve Terrell, photographer for the Skagit Valley Herald, Steven Smith, of the University of Idaho school of Journalism, Neal Pattison, editor of the Everett Herald, Michelle Earl Hubbard, renowned me-

dia law attorney and long-time friend of WNPA, Mike Blinder, owner of the Blinder Group. Blinder is one of the top media sales experts in the nation. Go online at to see a full schedule and workhop leaders. After a long day of stimulating workshops, Friday is capped in the evening with the Better Newspaper Awards Banquet, where the best of the best in community newspapers are given their due. Bring your noisemakers and let your pride show. For those unable to attend the full convention, separate Better Newspaper Award Banquet reservations are available. Don’t miss this opportunity and register today to attend the biggest event in Washington State community journalism this year.

Harnack takes home Golden Quill from ISWNE COLUMBIA, Mo. — The publisher of The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle in Omak, Wash., received the top international award for weekly newspaper editorial/column writing during a gala celebration at the Missouri School of Journalism. Roger Harnack, 47, was presented the Golden Quill by Chad Stebbins and Gary Sosniecki on behalf of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors during the organization’s annual conference. Top weekly newspaper editorial writers and columnists from across the U.S., Canada and Australia attended the event, which also included the Golden Dozen and Eugene Cervi awards. “It’s quite an honor to have received this award among such prestigious colleagues,” Harnack said. Harnack’s award stems from his editorial drive to keep access open to public lands, forests and waters during 2014. Specifically, he was credited for his

efforts to re-open a 36-mile stretch of the Columbia River for fishing, boating and other recreation last year. The Grant County Public Utility District declared an emergency last February after an employee found a crack in the Wanapum Dam spillway. The emergency declaration halted all access to that stretch of the nation’s third largest river. Utility officials claimed a license to operate the dam gave them the authority to shut down all activity on the water and adjacent public lands. But Harnack took the agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to task for violating federal navigable waters laws requiring the river and adjacent public lands be open. He noted that a license to operate a dam is not a license to violate federal law nor is it a license to limit the public’s right to access, recreate and conduct business on the land and water it owns. Within weeks of his

Roger Harnack, Publisher of the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle took home the Golden Quill Award from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. column noting an emerfishing pole and used it gency did not exist more to give obstinate bureauthan 10 months after the crats a civics lesson,” declaration, the public the critiquing judge said. waterway and adjacent “… I know that Westernlands were reopened. ers are bred to believe Not too long thereafter, rivers are far more than all of the boat launches flowing water. They are had also reopened. public heritage and a “Roger Harnack did vital part of ‘this land’ what I like best in an that is ‘your land.’” editorial. He took someThe international thing as down-home as a judge credited Harnack

with “keeping local government within the bounds of sanity.” While Harnack previously received a Golden Dozen award in 2013, this is his first Golden Quill. It is only the third Golden Quill to be presented to a journalist in Washington State. The other two went to Henry G. Gay in 1986 and Charles Gay in 2004. Both were writing for The Shelton-Mason County Journal in Shelton. This year’s Golden Dozen winners were Steve Bagwell, managing editor of the News-Register in McMinnville, Ore.; Joan Livingston, editor of the Taos News in Taos, N.M.; Elliott Freireich, publisher of the West Valley View in Avondale, Ariz.; Mike Dart, editor of Four Oaks-Benson News in Review in Benson, N.C.; Steve Ranson, editor of Lahontan Valley News in Fallon, Nev.; William F. Schanen III, publisher of the Ozaukee Press in Port Washington, Wisc.; Brian J. Hunhoff, an edito-

rial staff member of the Yankton County Observer in Yankton, S.D.; Mike Buffington, co-publisher of The Jackson Herald in Jefferson, Ga.; Declan Varley, editor of the Galway Advertiser in Galway, Ireland; Cary Hines, managing editor of the West Valley View in Avondale, Ariz.; and Brian Wilson, news editor of The Star News in Medford, Wisc. Bagwell was the runner-up for the award. He and Harnack also finished second and first, respectively, for editorial and commentary writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in its five-state 2014 Excellence in Journalism contest. Buffington received the Eugene Cervi Award for a “career of outstanding public service through community journalism.” Washington state journalists who have received the international Eugene Cervi Award are Frank Garred, formerly of the Port Townsend Leader, in 2004; and Henry Gay in 1991.

Governor signs five bills amending state records act Governor Jay Inslee signed five bills enacted by the 2015 Washington State Legislature that amended the Public Records Act. The amendments went into effect July 24, 2015. ESHB 1980 contained some changes recommended by the state’s Sunshine Committee. That bill: • Exempts disclosure of some financial information, including social security numbers,

account numbers and balances, account transactions and codes, passwords, tax identification numbers, driver’s license or permit numbers, state identicard numbers and other account access information. The amendment was offered in the interests of preventing identity theft. • Exempts information contained in a local or regional gang databases. Existing laws covered only statewide gang

databases. • Exempts personal information of participants in a ride-share programs. Permission to provide personal information on transit passes or fare payment is eliminated. • Exempts voluntarily submitted information contained in enhanced 911 emergency communication systems, as is sometimes done by deaf people or others who might need assistance

during an emergency. If the information is used in an emergency response, however, it loses its exemption. HB 1554 exempts the personal information of family members or guardians of a children enrolled in child care or a youth programs if the disclosure would result in the disclosure of a child’s personal information. The exemption applies if the family member or guardian has

the same last name of the child or if they reside at the same address as the child. SB 5482 exempts Global Positioning System data that identifies the location of the residence of an employee of a criminal justice agency. HB 1431 exempts an agency’s real estate transaction documents prepared for the purpose of considering the selection of a site or the

acquisition of property by lease or purchase, if public knowledge of such consideration would likely cause an increase in the property price. The exemption does not apply if disclosure is mandated by another statute, the project has been abandoned or all parts of the sale have been completed. No appraisal may be withheld for more than three years.

The Washington Newspaper September 2015 3

Big jump for salaried employees proposed by labor department Deadline for submitting comments is Sept. 4

Small business owners, including many of the nation’s community newspaper publishers, reacted with alarm in July when the U.S. Department of Labor announced a major revision to overtime rules in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department said it wanted to increase the minimum wage for salaried employees from $23,660 per year to $50,440 per year. That puts small businesses in the position of either granting the huge increase to their salaried employees, or reclassifying them as hourly employees and making them eligible for overtime pay. Under existing rules, to be considered a salaried, exempt employee, a worker needs to earn at least $23,600 per year, be paid in one lump sum no matter no matter how many (or few) hours worked in

a week, and perform the duties under one of the several categories of exempt employees. DOL says it is not currently considering changing the “duties” part of the requirement, though it is open to suggestions on that as well. The department said it believes the minimum threshold, which has not been adjusted since 1975, should be increased all at once to make up for the lost years without increases. It also proposes to annually raise the minimum salary threshold by some objective inflation test, although that is not decided yet, either. It is receiving public comments through Sept. 4. To comment, follow this link: The issue of community newspapers and overtime rules has been the subject of court cases for years, particularly on its applica-

tion to journalists. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled journalists were not members of the professional realm and, consequently, not eligible for salaries. As a result, most newspaper reporters, and even many editors, are not salaried and are eligible for overtime. But for those who may be exempt as administrators because they supervise staff, or under other rules, salaries are permitted. Under the new rules, those staff members would be required to earn at least $50,440. That’s a salary that exceeds what many community newspaper editors are paid now. If the new rule is adopted as proposed, publishers would be obligated to pay that minimum salary or make their editors eligible for overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week.

PUBLISHER’S TOOLBOX Don’t pay sales tax on production equipment Newspapers are special and in Washington State that means you don’t have to pay sales tax on any computers or peripherals used in making your newspaper. Almost any workstation in a newspaper

can qualify if they are performing primarily production tasks. Production tasks include writing and editing news stories, producing graphics, ads, processing photos, outputting classifieds and pagination. The bookkeeper’s

4 The Washington Newspaper September 2015

computer probably won’t qualify, but that’s about the only one. Before buying production equipment, inform your merchant you are exempt from sales tax. They will ask you to provide a signed form. Forms are available at docs/forms. Keep a copy on file and put some money in your pocket. Have a tip you want to share? Send to editor@

Luciano Morano of the Bainbridge Island Reveiw won third place for this color sports feature photo in the 2014 WNPA Better Newspaper Contest.

TWN0915 - The Washington Newspaper September 2015  

The Washington Newspaper, September 2015. Official publication of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

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