THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER October 2015
Reasons they don’t subscribe Page 3
Journal of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association
Convention time: See you in Everett! Membership to vote on new officers, trustees
It’s the eve of the 128th annual Washington Newspaper Publishers Association convention, and in addition to picking up valuable insights and bucketloads of awards, WNPA members will elect new leaders Oct. 8-10 in Everett. WNPA elects a president, two vice presidents who are in line to ascend to the president’s position, and a Board of Trustees. These people shape WNPA’s offerings in the year ahead and provide financial stewardship. The officers and trustees who will be presented to the membership for approval are: • President: Lori Maxim, Sound Publishing. Maxim joined Sound Publishing in July 1988 and currently serves as Vice President of West Sound Newspaper Operations. She has more than 35 years of newspaper
Business Journal. • 2nd Vice President: Sandy Stokes. Stokes is the editor, publisher and co-owner of the LaConner Weekly News. Marcia Van Dyke, WNPA’s executive director, fills the roles of secretary and treasurer, according to the association’s bylaws. Maxim succeeds Keven Graves, who wraps up his year as WNPA president. Graves is the Publisher and Nelson Stokes Maxim Executive editor for the Whidbey News-Times and experience and is responsible for overseeing operations South Whidbey Record, the weekly Whidbey Examiner and the Whidbey Crosswind. of 18 Sound Publishing community newspapers on Existing members of the Board of Trustees who will the Olympic Peninsula, the San Juan Islands, Vashon continue are: Michael Waggar, Nisqually Valley News; Island, Whidbey Island and Kitsap County. Eric LaFontaine, The Royal Register; Scott Hunter, • 1st Vice President: Don Nelson. Nelson is the The Star of Grand Coulee; Donna Etchey, Kitsap owner and publisher of the Methow Valley News. He County publisher for Sound Publishing; and Sara Brupreviously was editor of the Skagit Valley Herald, estle, Beacon Publishing. business news team leader for the St. Paul Pioneer See Board, Page 2 Press and vice president and editor of the Puget Sound
Panel studies archiving; ideas sought in survey A new WNPA committee in cooperation with the Washington State Library is investigating the best ways to archive the work of Washington newspapers and news websites, in light of changing technologies and other concerns. The committee consists of the following people: Shawn Schollmeyer, Washington Digital Newspapers Coordinator, Washington State Library; Marcia Van Dyke, Executive Director, WNPA; Seth Long, New Media Director, Sound Publishing; Paul Archpley, President, Beacon Publishing; and Tracy Record, Editor/ owner, West Seattle Blog. Part of this effort is a survey directed at Washington publishers. The intent is to get a better picture
of current archival practices and determine interest in preserving news content created for online and print audiences. This survey is short, but the information captured is important to achieve preservation goals. Large organizations with multiple publications are asked to address one survey per publication. The survey can be found at: www. surveymonkey.com/r/DGYJ7RS and will close on Friday, Oct. 30. The committee was formed and the survey created because national and local news is disappearing from newspaper archives. Microfilm readers break down. Microfilm masters cost more to produce. Software formats are quickly outdated, and fleeting web articles are difficult to See Survey, Page 4
This photo of a frog encounter by Brian Myrick of the Ellensburg Daily Record is one of many photos vying for a prize in the 2015 WNPA Better Newspaper Contest. Results of the contest will be announced Oct. 9 at the annual convention in Everett.
Omak wins with NNA The only Washington State winner in the recent National Newspaper Association contest was the OmakOkanogan County Chronicle led by Roger Harnack. The Chronicle took home three awards: • First Place, Best Breaking News Photo, Non-daily Division, circ. 5,000-9,999. Entry Title: God’s got us. Credits: Roger Harnack. Judges’ Comments: “This is a dynamic photo in every sense. It captures the intensity of the wildfire, while at the same time, ties the church and cross into the headline of ‘God’s Got Us.’ I loved the framing used in this photo with the cross. I also like the inset photos showing the aftermath damage. Great work showcasing a major news story through photojournalism.” • First Place, Community Service Award, Daily & Non-daily Division. Entry Title: Carlton Complex. Judges’ Comments: “Congratulations to the staff of The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle for stepping up as leaders, historians and community members during the Carlton Complex wildfire. The respect for and love of your community came through by your coverage of the event, and your participation in the after events when it came time to put the community back together. I wish there were an award that went beyond first place, because if there were, you would be
deserving.” • Second Place, Freedom of Information, Daily & Non-daily Division. Entry Title: Three Rivers. Credits: Jennifer Marshall, Dee Camp, Roger Harnack. Judges’ Comments: “A classic case of dogged investigative reporting revealing officials who see themselves as bigger than those who pay their salaries. Well done.”
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@ wnpa.com CJ Burk: Accounting and Advertising 360-515-0974. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax: 360-515-5546 2 The Washington Newspaper October 2015
FROM THE PRESIDENT
WNPA potential grows By Keven Graves Looking back on the past year as president of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, it’s exciting to see the renewed focus and increased potential for the organization. This year saw the long-awaited launch of our new legals website. This is important because it’s the fulfillment of a commitment made to state lawmakers by Graves WNPA and Allied Daily Newspapers to have a central website where nearly all legals in Washington state are published. That website is located at www.wapublicnotices.com Without this website, there’s a greater likelihood that state laws could be changed to eliminate the requirement that legal notices be published in our newspapers, and that the state or some other entity could launch its own legals website. This would be a loss for our dedicated readers, your newspapers and this entire industry. I’m happy to say that nearly all of WNPA and Allied member newspapers now upload their legals to this website. If you publish legal notices, but currently aren’t loading them onto the website, I encourage you to contact WNPA Executive Director Marcia Van Dyke, who can walk you and your staff through the simple steps that are required. Also, during the convention, the membership will be asked to consider two amendments to the bylaws. One of them is somewhat controversial in that it would broaden the requirements for WNPA membership and allow websites
and publications that were previously ineligible. This is a change that the board of directors has talked about — and resisted — for years. As often happens, however, that failure to evolve can ultimately be detrimental. Just as most of our newspapers have adapted to embrace the web and mobile devices rather than continue to fight them, WNPA must recognize there are other media outlets beyond the traditional newspaper. WNPA will continue to carefully evaluate all membership applicants and carefully determine whether, for example, a website is a legitimate news source or some off-the-wall, crazy blog. The objective of this bylaw change is to bring into the fold those news sources that embrace the same high standards of community journalism that we all share. I encourage you to read through the proposed amendments to the bylaws, weigh for yourself the implications of voting for those changes and decide whether they best serve the longtime interests of your WNPA. With the upcoming convention, my year as president is coming to an end. I am grateful for the privilege of serving as president this past year. It was a pleasure to work with such a dedicated board of directors and with the talented and committed staff of WNPA. I know incoming President Lori Maxim, and I am confident she’ll be bringing fresh ideas and insights during her term. The organization is in excellent hands with Lori at the helm. Here’s to a bright future for WNPA! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Everett. Kevin Graves is the President of the WNPA board.
Board: Membership to vote Continued from Page 1 Two people have been nominated to fill two board positions. They are: Jill FitzSimmons, Quincy Valley Post-Register and LuAnn Morgan, Othello Outlook. Stokes will chair the convention committee and Nelson the advertising committee. Other committee chairs include: Waggar, Journalism and Education Committee; Patrick Sullivan, Port Townsend
Leader, Better Newspaper Contest; Bruestle, Membership and Bylaws; LaFontaine, the Editorial Committee. You don’t have to serve on the board to be active on a WNPA committee. Contact Van Dyke at the WNPA offices if you want to become involved in WNPA. Everyone is welcome and your contribution will be greatly appreciated.
Why don’t they subscribe? By Keven Slimp Back in February, I spoke on the topic of Customer Service at the Ohio Newspaper Association Winter Convention. Shortly after, I received an email asking if I would lead a webinar in late summer or early fall for all the staffs of member papers of ONA, covering the same material. I agreed, but didn’t feel right about using the same material I had used in February. After all, surely there would be some people present during the webinar who sat through the presentation in Columbus. Last week, just Slimp one day before the webinar, I created a survey about customer service at newspapers and asked Facebook friends, not affiliated with the newspaper industry, to complete the short questionnaire. I hoped maybe 20 or 30 would take the time and give me some fresh, interesting, information to use during the webinar. I was pretty surprised to learn that more than 200 folks had completed the survey over the next few hours and their answers weren’t exactly what I expected. Of the respondents, 38 percent reported subscribing to a newspaper, while 62 percent answered that they did not. Next, I asked subscribers: “What are your biggest pet peeves concerning your newspaper?” By a large margin, “Not enough local content” took the prize. A full 38 percent of newspaper subscribers answered that lack of local content was their biggest pet peeve. OK, that might not have been a huge surprise. However, their response to the second question did shock me. Just under 22 percent of newspaper subscribers answered that “Poor writing” was their top pet peeve. Honestly, I didn’t think poor writing would crack the top five. Delivery problems and poor design tied for third, with each receiving 13 percent. Billing and other problems followed in single digits. And what about people who don’t subscribe to a newspaper? “Poor writing” took the top spot with a hefty 37
Survey comments “Our paper used to be the go-to venue for finding out about upcoming events and now I’m forced to tediously search Facebook groups for upcoming events.” “They simply stopped delivering. I received no bill, no courtesy call. Two weeks after receiving no paper, I received a “sales” call to sell me a new subscription.”
percent responding that was their top pet peeve. The number two reason respondents gave for not subscribing to a newspaper was “Not enough local news,” at 27 percent. Finally, I gained some useful insights from the nonsubscribers which could be used in my customer service webinar. A full 26 percent answered that their main reason for not subscribing was either “Delivery problems” (14 percent) or “Customer service” (12 percent). When asked about the price of newspapers, 51 percent of nonsubscribers responded that “The price is too high.” Next week, I’ll be working with a daily paper in Indiana for a couple of days. What did I learn from this survey that will make me a better consultant for that paper? First, a large number of subscribers and nonsubscribers feel there is not enough local news in their newspapers. That didn’t surprise me and it’s been on my checklist. Second, there is more concern over writing than I had suspected. Sure I figured Mrs. Feathers, my high school English teacher, lost sleep over writing quality. But a large percentage of both groups, especially nonsubscribers, seem to feel that poor writing is a major problem with their newspapers. I will probably stress good design
a little more than I have in the past. If 13 percent of readers say their biggest pet peeve with their newspaper is poor design, then it seems like something we should all watch closely. For paid newspapers, it might not seem like there is a lot we can do when folks feel like the price is too high. But when I look more closely at these numbers, I realize that for a good number of subscribers and nonsubscribers, the price might seem high because they feel like the quality isn’t where it should be. What would I suggest to you? Go through this checklist and see how your paper would score, using the classic school grading system, with “A” for excellent, “C” for average and “F” for failing. Rate your paper on the following: local content, writing, design, delivery issues and customer service. How did your paper score? I would suggest that every newspaper should score an “A” if it wants to remain viable in today’s marketplace. Some fixes are easier than others. Go through this list and see which area could be addressed quickly and make a plan. Then begin to create a long-term strategy to guide your newspaper. Kevin Slimp is a speaker and trainer in the publishing world. He can be reached at email@example.com.
“The Morning Call was once a good paper. Now the writing is bad, the customer service is bad (missed a paper and was on hold forever) and the price is too high for the quality.” “A lot of news is readily available online, so it’s hard to justify a newspaper subscription, especially when people post the most relevant information from the newspapers page.” “I hate seeing all the staff cutbacks at the newspaper. A lot of stories don’t get covered, or at least covered from a local perspective because of this. “I live in a large metropolitan area but the paper I subscribe to is the smaller suburban one.” “No point in subscribing when I can get it free on the Internet.” The Washington Newspaper October 2015 3
WCOG fights for openness; needs your support today By Juli Bunting Journalists have long known the value of the role they play in providing information to the public; not just about breaking news, but also in serious investigative pieces about what government is up to. If it weren’t for newspapers like the Washington Post, for example, we may never have known about a break-in at the Watergate hotel back in the 1970’s. But what may not be as obvious is that when newspapers partner with open government advocates, we become stronger and better equipped to access local government information. Reporters often find themselves hitting roadblocks when it comes to just getting their hands on information that they and their readers have every right to access. The problem comes when those roadblocks become an absolute barrier to transparency. What happens when papers smaller than the New York Times or the Washington Post or The Seattle Times are faced with gigantic legal fees and potentially long litigation to simply get their hands on information they are entitled to? Often they do not have the staff, the resources, the legal experts, and the time to fight government officials on accessing information. In these cases, it is imperative that newspapers get help. And that help often comes from the Washington Coalition for Open Government. WCOG is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization made up of attorneys, journalists, citizen activists, and public officials who are committed to the principle that government should be conducted in the open and the public has a right to information.
WCOG’s attorneys are experts on the state’s Open Meetings/Public Records Act (OPMA) and file amicus briefs in transparency cases all the time. When journalists are told their requests for information are too lengthy or onerous or are not covered by the OPMA, the first phone call should be to WCOG. We are here to assist when government officials start throwing up roadblocks and stonewalling on getting you the information you and your readers are entitled to. Since the Knight Foundation has pulled the majority of funding from the National Freedom of Information Coalition, sustainability grants to state organizations like WCOG have gone away. Without additional financial support, WCOG will also go away. If that happens, then smaller media outlets will have nowhere to turn to get expert legal help, advice, and support in their quest to access information. WCOG’s assistance can be invaluable in these cases and we want to be there for media and the public when government shuts the doors. WCOG is working diligently to find alternative funding sources now that the sustainability grants have disappeared but we need your help. We rely on our members and sponsors to keep us operating. Every newspaper in the state, regardless of size, ought to not only be member organizations, but ought to consider a year-long corporate sponsorship for this organization. After all, when they shut you out, where will you turn?
When government agencies close the door on you or your reporters, and then take it so far that you have to go to court to get information, where do you turn?
Juli Bunting is the Communications Director for WCOG.
4 The Washington Newspaper October 2015
Floods followed fires in the Methow Valley last year, giving the staff of the Methow Valley News plenty of opportunities for spot news photos. This one was taken by Darla Hussey.
Survey: archiving opinions sought Continued from Page 1 capture before the next story replaces them. Old newspapers, originally printed on cheap throw-away paper, have become a valuable resource to the collective memory in our society, but new digital formats are all too easy to throw away. All of this is contributing to the demise of our cultural and historic memories. As online technologies improve, more publishers are using a variety of archiving tools to preserve collections. To assess
and prevent the loss of newspaper archives in all formats across the state, the Washington State Library and Washington Newspaper Publishers Association started a conversation about the preservation status of print, film and digital newspaper archives, as well as the opportunity to preserve “born-digital” news content. In an effort to improve the collection and integrity of born-digital news, Washington State Library is also participating in a national “Dodging the Memory Hole” initiative,
a national conversation on how to preserve born-digital content with members of the Reynolds Journalism Institute (www.rjionline.org), Educopia (www.educopia. org/research/chronicles) and libraries participating in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP, www.loc. gov/ndnp). Questions about the survey or the preservation program can be directed to Schollmeyer at: Washington Digital Newspapers Coordinator, Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State, 360-570-5568.
Fired police examiner honored by WCOG Kim Hendrickson is the recipient of a Key Award, conferred by the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Hendrickson was hired to serve as an independent police examiner on Bainbridge Island. But she became concerned that the police commission didn’t want her to look too closely – and eventually they fired her in a closed meeting. The result was an ethics violation
ruling for the commission, legislation to close a loophole in the Open Public Meetings Act and ongoing efforts by Hendrickson to promote accountability and transparency, especially in regard to law enforcement. To learn more about Hendrickson’s case, Key Awards or to find out how you can help the coalition in its campaign to keep records and meetings open to the public, visit washingtoncog.org.
Legal questions? Call WNPA hotline for help Worried about the legal implications of a story you are about to publish? Or maybe you published a story and you’ve heard from an attorney who is threatening action against you. Either way, the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association has your back. Each WNPA member newspaper can call or email our legal hotline up to five times a year for an emergency review of a story, a letter to the editor, advertisement or
Michele Earl Hubbard to get an analysis of a demand letter or some other challenge to something that has already been published. The primary contact
for many years now, has been Michele EarlHubbard of Allied Law Group. “I have answered all sorts of questions during the 18 years I have worked as the hotline attorney for WNPA,” Earl-Hubbard said. “As a hotline attorney I have enjoyed getting to interact with community journalists from across the state and to help calm any concerns about running a particular story or suggest edits and sourcing to minimize the risk of liability. The de-
PUBLISHER’S TOOLBOX Refunds possible on charges for address change Q: I get multiple copies of the hard-copy Address Change Notice, Form 3579, some months old, at a cost of 59 cents each. Is there any way to get my money back? A: Yes. Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 507.1.5.2 provides in paragraph (f) that “A publisher may request a refund of the fees paid for duplicate address correction notices on Forms 3579 provided by the USPS if the customer submitted a change-ofaddress order and the first and duplicate notices are provided on magnetic tape by ACS or on printed copy by a Computerized Forwarding System (CFS) unit . The refund request must be supported by
newspaper to get a Form 3579 unless it has been processed by a CFS site, other than some locallygenerated by post offices. Current USPS policy discourages local offices from doing so, and redocumentation showing quires that Undeliverable the number of duplicate As Addressed (UAA) notices received.” mail be processed by a That means you can CFS site. NNA is not parpresent all duplicates to ticularly supportive, since the primary post office these sites are notoriously where you pay postage, slow in getting through and they should refund the backlog of Periodicals fees for all copies except and other mail, thus the one from a designated multiple copies coming deposit account. over long periods of time. The postmaster does It should be noted that NOT have to send these newspapers converting elsewhere for handling, to electronic documenbut should honor the lantation and full -service guage above. Intelligent Mail barcode If refused, NNA mem- are eligible to receive bers can contact the postal free ACS electronically. hotline via maxheath@ The infrastructure for lcni.com. NNA has this is being perfected, contacts in the Memphis but your mail presort Address Information software vendor should Center who have assisted be able to advise and newspapers in getting the assist. refunds for which they are Max Heath, National entitled. Newspaper Association There is no way for a postal consultant.
5 The Washington Newspaper October 2015
cision of what to run or not run always remains with the newspaper. The hotline attorney is merely a source of advice and analysis.” At WNPA, we know the decision to pick up the phone and call a lawyer can be a troubling one, especially for a newspaper that does not have a relationship with someone experienced in the area of media law. That’s why we make this service available to WNPA members. The hotline attorney will offer an analysis,
but does not communicate with the person complaining about coverage. WNPA members can retain the hotline attorney at a steeply discounted rate for any follow up beyond the scope of the hotline, such as writing a letter to the complaining party or their attorney or defending a lawsuit. The hotline is not intended to be a clearinghouse for questions about access to meetings and government records. Those questions should be forwarded to WNPA
Executive Director Marcia Van Dyke. In some cases, she may choose to get an opinion from the hotline attorney. All discussions with the hotline attorney are protected by the attorney client privilege and are not shared with anyone outside the contacting newspaper. To contact Michele Earl-Hubbard, write to P.O Box 33744, Seattle, WA 98133, call (206) 801-7510 or fax (206) 428-7169. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
WNPA JOB BOARD Looking for new opportunities? Check out the WNPA job board at wnpa. com. The following are excerpts from recent job announcements. Go online to view full postings: REGIONAL EDITOR BELLEVUE Sound Publishing has an immediate opening for a Regional Editor of the Bellevue, Mercer Island, and Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter publications. This is not an entrylevel position. If you are interested in joining Sound Publishing and leading our editorial team at the Bellevue, Mercer Island, and Issaquah/ Sammamish Reporters, email us your cover letter and resume to: careers@soundpublishing. com ATTN: EDWNPA. PHOTOGRAPHER The Daily World at Aberdeen, Wash., is looking for a full-time
staff photographer. This full-time position in Aberdeen, Washington includes excellent benefits; medical, dental, vision and life insurance, paid holidays, vacation, and sick time, and a 401k with company match. In addition to still photography in the news, sports and features categories, we need someone who can shoot and edit compelling video and recognizes social media as a valuable news tool. Please send a cover letter, resume and work samples, or links to careers@ soundpublishing.com. EDITOR/EASTERN OREGON MEDIA GROUP The Blue Mountain Eagle is seeking an Editor who thrives on the story of the New West. The Eagle is located in John Day, Oregon, just three hours from Bend and Pendleton. EO Media Group owns 11 newspapers and 17 websites that provide
accurate, fair and timely reporting about the people and issues impacting the communities we serve in the Pacific Northwest, reflecting the responsibility and spirit of a free press. Candidates with an education in journalism or a related field, plus leadership experience should send resume, letter of interest to EO Media Group, PO Box 2048, Salem, OR 97308, by fax to 503371-2935 or e-mail hr@ eomediagroup.com. ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/ SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER Sound Media, a division of Sound Publishing Inc., is seeking an experienced, customer-focused advertising sales account executive who needs to be the best and work among the best! To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to: email@example.com. Note ATTN: BDSWNPA in the subject line.