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Journal of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association

Brewer Convention 2015 bows out Governor receives Freedom’s Light award at PDN

Ward takes helm in Port Angeles

John Brewer, who guided the Peninsula Daily News as its publisher and editor, retired in early October, closing out almost 18 years at the PDN and five decades in journalism. He was replaced by Terry R. Ward, 43, formerly the Brewer CEO of KPC Media Group Inc. in northeastern Indiana “It’s been a joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating and Ward occasionally bumpy ride,” said Brewer, who turned 68 in October. “There’s never been a day when I didn’t want to come to work. And there’s certainly never been a dull moment news-wise, especially when your circulation area is two counties and 158 miles long, from the Hood Canal to Neah Bay and LaPush.” The newspaper enters its 100th year of continuous print publication next year, having been founded in April 1916 as the Port Angeles Evening News and publishing in the 1970s as The Daily News before becomSee PDN, Page 7

By Kirk Boxleitner Gov. Jay Inslee expressed his appreciation at receiving an award named for a newspaper man who fought for justice. When the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association presented Inslee with the Walter C. Woodward Freedom’s Light Award, Inslee recalled how Woodward, the publisher of the Bainbridge Island Review during World War II, stood against the internment of Japanese-Americans as early as 1941. Inslee received the Freedom’s Light Award, the WNPA’s highest award for non-journalists, for choosing not to exercise his executive privilege exemption and withhold records from public disclosure. “I haven’t seen the necessity of using such a privilege, and I have no intention of changing course in the remainder of my administration,” Inslee said. “Transpar-

ency in government doesn’t happen by default. It takes a culture of transparency, and leaders who are committed to openness, even when the information might not be flattering. It also takes a vibrant news media, committed to keeping the public accurately informed.” Previous Freedom’s Light recipient Rowland Thompson, executive director of Allied Daily Newspapers, presented the award to Inslee, whose administration he praised as the most open that he’s ever worked with, adding that Inslee himself “ is extremely transparent about the realities of governing.” Inslee took pride not only in the increasing number of public records requests that state agencies have processed, but also in several of those agencies accelerated release of their documents. Not only has the state doubled the amount of data See Inslee, Page 5

Gov. Jay Inslee accepted the Freedom’s Light award at the 2015 convention of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Assocation in Everett. Inslee was praised for working to bring transparency to his office.

Waldron praised for years of WNPA management By Kirk Boxleitner When it came time to present the Dixie Lee Bradley Award to Mae Waldron, Marcia Van Dyke couldn’t help but get a bit emotional. Van Dyke, the executive director of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, admitted that Waldron, formerly the member services manager for

the WNPA, had left her “some big shoes to fill.” Just as Bradley, an associate director of WNPA who died in 1995, had the award named after her for her 45 years of service in the community newspaper industry, so too was Waldron honored with the award for her behind-the-scenes work.

“Your years of dedication to this organization are so appreciated, and when the suggestion was made to present this award to you, the reaction was so positive and quick, we knew we made the right choice,” Van Dyke said. “In fact, there was no other possible choice.” Van Dyke quoted incoming WNPA See Waldron, Page 3


So I ask you: Are you ready to think differently? By Lori Maxim It’s an exciting time to be in the media business. We have many opportunities to grow and improve upon our legacy business models. The recent WNPA convention in Everett revealed how quickly our industry is adapting and innovating. We heard fresh ideas for new revenue streams from the speakers and vendors. Great ideas included packaging print and digital into one rate card, adding social media and extended reach to digital blended packages and numerous new special section ideas. There were key takeaways in editorial about improving content and publishing differently for the web vs. print. In addition, there were many examples of new ways to approach stories and connect with our communities. There were discussions about the importance of using databases to mine information without having to do a public records request.

If you couldn’t make convention, be sure to check out the WNPA website or go to www. to download useful information from the presenters at convention. Next year’s convention will be held in beautiful Wenatchee on Oct. 14 &15. Be sure to mark the date in your calendar! This coming year, your association will be intensely focused on helping media companies find new strategies for revenue growth, while building readership of core products. We want to build a thriving organization renowned for setting industry standards. We have three goals I believe we need to focus on as an association: Building our membership; increasing our member return on investment; and establishing a sustainable business model for the future. To achieve these objectives, we need to transform our association and culture to think differently about our current business model. We are going

The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Established 1887

Officers: Lori Maxim, President; Don Nelson, First Vice President; Sandy Stokes, Second Vice President; Keven Graves, Past President. Trustees: Sara Bruestle, Eric LaFontaine, Donna Etchey, Scott Hunter, Michael Wagar, LuAnn Morgan and Jill FitzSimmons. 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: CJ Burk: Accounting and Advertising 360-515-0974. Email: Fax: 360-515-5546 2 The Washington Newspaper November 2015

to have to stretch a bit, which may require uncomfortable changes. “Socrates once said: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. “ Transformation can’t happen in a vacuum. We need to research the challenges and needs of our members. Over the next couple of months we will survey our stakeholders. We want to hear from you and your staffs as to what you believe WNPA should be providing in member benefits. We want to hear from your ad managers, sales professionals and editorial teams. We are all extremely busy people, doing more work with fewer hands. However, to provide the services you need, we are asking for your timely feedback. Other associations are thinking and acting differently. They are no longer just newspaper associations; they are full-blown media associations serving the needs of companies that include print, digital, mobile, video, digital agencies and industry vendors. Local Media Association, formerly known as Suburban Newspapers of America, is one of those associations. I recently attended their conference in Denver where the focus was on four key areas: Innovation, education, inspiration and transformation. Their goal is to be a successful and innovative association that serves local media companies with digital transformation via cutting edge programs, conferences, research and training. I couldn’t help thinking this is the direction and focus our organization needs to adopt. There was much discussion on tremendously successful new revenue streams, including: Event marketing, video

Outgoing WNPA President Keven Graves with incoming president Lori Maxim. programming, native advertisYour association is ready to ing, digital marketing through serve you, but it is only as strong expanded reach, full-service as its membership. To be sucdigital agencies, e-newsletters, cessful and bring about business and mobile strategy. transformation it will require all LMA is building membership of us working together. I ask all by reaching out to nontradiof you to give back to your astional media companies. They sociation this year by being more are actively recruiting digital active. Encouraging your staff news products, niche publicato be active. Help us gain new tions, research and development members through referrals or firms, vendor partnerships, daily prospecting. Giving us feedback newspapers, radio, TV, and yelon the surveys and tell us how low page organizations. Their as- we are doing. sociation added 35 new members In fact, I encourage you to this past year, helping their asso- join a committee — to share ciation become more financially your expertise and ideas. Here’s sound and serving the needs of a list of committees that need its growing membership. your help: Advertising and The Oregon Newspaper Pub- Marketing, Editorial/Journallisher Association is also thinkism and Education, Governing differently and implementing ment Relations, Convention and new business models. Are there Workshops, Membership and By partnership opportunities worth Laws, and the Better Newspaper exploring between our, and other, Contest. associations? To get involved, email WNPA So, I ask you: Are you ready Executive Direcotor Marcia Vanto think differently? Are you Dyke at ready to open up your heart and let her know which commitand mind to new ways of doing tee interests you. business? Do you want a more Here’s to a successful 2016 profitable business model? working together.

Convention 2015 Waldron: Big shoes to fill President Lori Maxim, who said, “Mae was the glue that held our organization together. She always had a solution to challenges, and fresh ideas whether it was for our convention or running our daily business.” While Van Dyke agreed that Waldron was an invaluable part of the WNPA, she also joked, “If I hear, ‘Well, that’s not the way Mae did it’ one more time, I might have to jump off a bridge. If the measure of my success in this position is you, I just might be looking for another job soon.” With a full year as executive director under her belt, Van Dyke confidently declared that Waldron had been the backbone of the WNPA, but even she couldn’t guess the full breadth and depth of the work

that Waldron had done for the organization over the years. “Your attention to detail is unmatched,” Van Dyke said. “Your contributions and participation in every single committee meeting, and the work that went into the planning of our conventions, is to be commended, not just for managing all of the details, but all of the personalities.” Van Dyke even apologized to Waldron for having been a bit demanding as a WNPA member. “We publishers are a bossy bunch,” Van Dyke said. “Having been a publisher myself during your tenure as membership coordinator, I can say that we never saw you crack under the pressure. Your calm was always reassuring to us all.”

This calm persisted even in the face of Van Dyke’s selfconfessed inability to fill out a membership form on her own. “I am certain I was one of those people who, when you hung up the phone from talking to me, you turned to Bill and said, ‘Geez, how did she ever become a publisher?’” Van Dyke said. “I promise you, I will never ever RSVP late to anything ever again, I will always order straight off the menu, I will read my instructions carefully before calling anyone for help and I will be gracious in all of my interactions with people doing this type of job.” Van Dyke closed her remarks by expressing the hope that she could “present as gracious a face” for the WNPA as Mae Waldron (left) accepts the Dixie Lee Bradley award from WNPA Waldron did. Executive Director Marcia Van Dyke.

Obee takes home Turnbull Master Editor/Publisher award By Kirk Boxleitner Not only is Fred Obee the third member of the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader staff to earn the Miles Turnbull Master Editor/Publisher Award, but Obee can actually say that he knew Turnbull personally. “I remember Miles as a great guy who was quick with a joke,” Obee said. Turnbull died in 1994 after serving as executive director and past president of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. Just as Turnbull’s peers in the WNPA deemed him “a quintessential community newspaper publisher” for his work on the Leavenworth Echo with his wife, Jane, so too did Obee receive this award because of his accomplishments over the course of 30 years in the newspaper industry, including his work as reporter and editor for the Whidbey News-Times. Outgoing WNPA President Keven Graves presented the award to Obee, who was his first editor out of college at the News-Times. Fred Obee accepts the Miles Turnbull “As a young reporter, I couldn’t have Master Editor/Publisher award. asked for a better, more supportive editor

than Fred,” Graves said. “I spent six-plus years learning from one of the most dedicated, talented journalists in community newspapers. Among the advice Fred gave me was to remember that, even though an article might be very critical, as long as it was fair and factual, I could look my sources in the eyes at the grocery store. He was absolutely right.” Another former News-Times reporter, Gretchen Young-Sotomayor, recalled Obee as a “balanced, measured, kind and creative” editor, who “stood by our articles when necessary” and “could work humor into the most challenging times.” Obee also served on the WNPA board of directors, until his retirement last year. Fellow board member Donna Etchey likewise cited Obee’s sense of humor, but also touted “his insight into the editorial world,” as well as his conviction and dedication, which “always showed through when he gave his side of an argument.” Obee went from the News-Times to the Port Townsend Leader in 1994, where he spent the next six years as a reporter and

section editor. Obee’s tenure at the Leader saw him nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Brian Sperry, a student who responded to four years of bullying at the hands of his peers by using a club to hit the football player who was pushing him around. Although Sperry was sentenced to 15 months in prison for assault with a deadly weapon, Leader Publisher Scott Wilson credited Obee’s article on Sperry with inspiring 3,000 locals to sign a petition that led Gary Locke, then governor, to pardon Sperry. It would be the only pardon Locke would issue for someone still in prison. Graves asserted that Obee still has “ink in his blood,” which is why he’s now editing The Washington Newspaper. “So if you ever wonder what makes a well-rounded newspaperman, or if you wonder whether what you do is important, or whether community newspapers matter, take a look at the career of Fred Obee and know that you can, and probably do, make a difference,” Graves said.

The Washington Newspaper November 2015 3

Convention 2015

Keynote: Reader expectations are changing By Kirk Boxleitner Penelope Muse Abernathy drew from her three decades of journalism experience when she addressed members of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Oct. 9 about her “Three Epiphanies” regarding the future of community newspapers. Abernathy has worked for newspapers ranging from The New York Times to publications in rural Appalachia. What she argued is that community newspapers that operate smartly and connect with their com-

munities stand a better chance of success than many larger papers. She also asserted that the traditional definition of a community newspaper —  a non-daily with a circulation of less than 15,000 — is increasingly meaningless, as ever more people consume their news digitally. Indeed, Abernathy noted that, aside from three national newspapers and about a hundred metropolitan and regional daily papers, all the rest — from smaller dailies, weeklies and monthlies to ethnic

papers — all essentially operate as community newspapers now. Abernathy’s first epiphany was that newspapers are critical to the survival of communities themselves. She cited research conducted by University of North Carolina faculty in the early 1970s, showing that newspapers set the agenda for debates on public policy, both by the stories they chose to print and where they were placed on the page. “You might ask, why do we need journalists, when everyone has

cameras?” Abernathy said. “And it’s okay to use citizen journalists as a resource, but we’re the ones who give context and analysis to that coverage.” Abernathy likewise credited community newspapers with encouraging regional economic growth, by connecting consumers and businesses, as well as with fostering a sense of geographic identity, by showing how factors such as levels of employment compare between one area and its neighbors. Abernathy’s second epiphany was that community newspapers can’t survive on the quality of their journalism alone. They must also be business-savvy and flexible enough to meet the fluid needs of readers and advertisers alike. A large part of this requires papers to incorporate the Internet into their toolkits, rather than treating it like a competitor. “Follow the technology, the customers and the money,” Abernathy said. “You need to shed your legacy costs and destroy barriers to reader entry. This means thinking of your community paper as a multi-media platform, covering the print edition, your website, videos and social media.” Rather than thinking of print and digital as representing different audiences, Abernathy advised community newspaper employees to treat them as different audience behaviors, as audiences check digital

Penelope Muse Abernathy explains the three epiphanies she had when studying community newspapers. products first and print readers are loyal to last, often progressyou?” Abernathy asked. ing from Twitter posts “That’s different from to website updates to how many of them just videos. like you. You need to enBecause the Intergage your readers, work net attacks many of the your way up the pyramid distribution costs for to loyalty, then make circulating news stories, them attached to you.” Abernathy advised paAlthough Abernathy pers to focus their funds insisted that newspapers in areas that add value, remain the best medium such as content creation for advertising, she also and aggregation. emphasized the imporAbernathy’s third tance of salespeople who epiphany was that editors can sell across muland publishers of comtiple platforms, thereby munity newspapers need increasing the paper’s to adopt a new way of advertising reach. thinking about the com“You cannot cost-cut munity itself, to meet your way to long-term the drastically changed financial stability,” Aberexpectations of readers nathy said. “You have to and advertisers. go where the market will “How many of your be five years from now.” The Washington Newspaper November 2015 4

Convention 2015

Graves passes gavel to Maxim; new board seated By Kirk Boxleitner The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association reflected on its accomplishments as it welcomed its new board members Oct. 9. Outgoing WNPA President Keven Graves praised his successor, Lori Maxim, as a capable leader. Maxim has been with Sound Publishing for the past 27 of her 35 years in newspapers. She not only serves as Vice President of West Sound Operations and regional newspaper publisher for five papers in Kitsap County, but also oversees 18 community newspapers in Kitsap, the San Juans, Vashon Island and Whidbey Island. “If any of you know or have worked with Lori, you know she’s a hard worker who doesn’t miss a thing,” Graves said. “Her attention to detail, her ability to pull apart numbers and find the story within, and her determination to ensure things are done properly and efficiently have served your WNPA well this past year, as we worked to bolster the organization after a challenging year of change.” Graves cited Maxim as a guiding influence during his past three

next year, in no small part due to Maxim’s presidency. “You can be assured that no stone will go unturned,” Graves said. Graves acknowledged that the past year had been difficult for WNPA’s staff and board of directors, especially in light of the departures of executive director Bill Will and member services manager Mae Waldron. At the same time, he praised Marcia Van Dyke for stepping in as the current executive director before last year’s convention, and he credited both Van Dyke and her assistant, C.J. Burk, with dedicating countless hours to getting the WNPA back on track “to grow and thrive in the changing landscape of today’s media.” Among the organization’s accomplishments during Van Dyke and Burk’s tenure has been the launch of a statewide legals Lori Maxim accepts the gavel as incoming WNPA president from out- website, in partnership with Allied going president Keven Graves. Daily Newspapers, and the openyears as a publisher on Whidbey, who admitted that he often says to ing of a WNPA office in Olympia. describing her as both tough and himself, “Let’s think about this the “By having all of WNPA’s and thoughtful. way Lori would think.” Allied’s legal notices on a single “Sometimes it feels like she Graves concluded his remarks website, the intent is to keep state can read you like a book, which by expressing confidence that lawmakers from eliminating the I suspect she can,” said Graves, WNPA would be even stronger requirement that legal notices be

published in your newspapers,” Graves said. “The threat of losing legals has been very real.” WNPA also saw the relaunch of its website last year, thanks to Van Dyke and Terry Hamburg of the North Kittitas County Tribune, as well as The Washington Newspaper in August, with former board member Fred Obee as editor. “It’s great to have that publication back, not only because it keeps the membership informed about the newspaper industry, but also because it’s another opportunity for Marcia to sell advertising to benefit the organization,” said Graves, who also thanked Burk for relaunching The E-Bulletin. The rest of the new board includes: • First Vice President Don Nelson, the owner, publisher and editor of the Methow Valley News in Twisp. • Second Vice President Sandy Stokes, co-owner of the LaConner Weekly News. • Trustees LuAnn Morgan, the publisher of the Othello Outlook, and Jill FitzSimmons, the editor of the Quincy Valley Post-Register, a weekly newspaper owned by the Wenatchee World.

Inslee: Society depends on press

Gov. Jay Inslee is flanked on the left by Rowland Thompson of Allied Daily Newspapers and on the right by Keven Graves, outgoing WNPA president. 5 The Washington Newspaper November 2015

Continued from Page 1 that the public can search through and download online over the past year, but the state departments of Transportation, Licensing and Financial Institutions have reduced their average times to fulfill records requests by 50 to 75 percent. For Transportation, that time went from 24 business days to 11, and from 10 to 5 for Licensing. For Financial Institutions, the time was cut from six months to six weeks. Inslee quoted Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” adding that the state’s public disclosure teams

are undaunted even by the thousands of documents that are routinely gathered, reviewed, scanned and released as a result of such records requests. “Where the rubber meets the road, our state agencies are making progress, although I doubt you’ll see that in a headline,” Inslee laughed, before he turned serious and credited the news media with doing “the hard work of helping explain government,” asserting that both the government and a free press must make such information available to the public to have integrity and credibility. “Our society depends on you to help make that happen,” Inslee said.

Convention 2015

Terry Hamberg of the Northern Kittitas County Tribune (at right) stops to talk with vendor Christine Fossett, owner of Sign Pro, in the hallway outside the main convention meeting room. John Winn Miller from Friends2Follow makes a point in one of the many convention workshops.

WNPA Second Vice President Sandy Stokes chats with Andy Taylor at Sound Publishing’s commercial press booth. Better Newspaper Contest Committee Chairman Patrick Sullivan passes out some door prizes at dinner.

Port Townsend Leader Publisher Scott Wilson raises some money for the WNPA Foundation. 6 The Washington Newspaper November 2015

Quick-sketch artist Michael Dashiell of the Sequim Gazette presents a reasonable facsimile of co-worker Alana Linderoth to Don Nelson, and accepts the Newswriter of the Year Award in her absence.

WNPA First Vice President Don Nelson presents the Ad of the Year award to Marlene Martinez of the Bainbridge Review.

Myers new Omak publisher; Harnack moves to Sunnyside The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle’s management changed hands Oct. 1 with the promotion of two of the newspaper’s top managers. Editor and Publisher Roger Harnack handed off the top leadership position at the newspaper to longtime staffer Teresa Myers. Myers, 48, of Omak, took on the editor and publisher position at the newspaper. Meanwhile, Harnack, also 48, took the reins of the Daily Sun News in Sunnyside. Both The Chronicle and Daily Sun News are owned by Eagle Newspapers,

Inc. Myers started at The Chronicle in March 2008 in classified advertising and ultimately became advertising manager. Harnack returns to his childhood turf in the Yakima Valley. Having grown up in Benton City, he was a natural choice to take over the Daily Sun News, one of only eight daily newspapers published in Eastern Washington. “I may be returning to the daily newspaper world, but I’ll also be available to assist Teresa when the need arises,” Harnack said. Harnack replaced Alex Paul as publisher in December 2008, and has led The Chronicle to numerous state and national awards, including two for general excellence and three for community service. The Chronicle also received the top national award for community service from the National Newspaper Association.

PUBLISHER’S TOOLBOX NKC Tribune finds way to help non-profits & bottom line The best ad idea presented at the WNPA convention this year was from Terry Hamberg at the Northern Kittitas County Tribune in Cle Elum. They struck on a way to serve the non-profit organizations and still get some new revenue in the door. “We get hit up constantly by every nonprofit in our community to donate ad space,” Hamberg said. “They are all good causes, but they can also be a lot of work with no return if not managed properly. In addition, no one recognized the value of what we were providing to these non profits.” To support non-profits, the paper would run ads with logos of all of

their other sponsors, but the Tribune’s logo was missing – even though they supplied the free space. They decided that they needed to put a value on the ads they were providing and decided to do matching funds instead of simply providing free space. The program works like this: If you have $100 to spend on advertising, NKCTribune will match it. If you have $5,000 to spend on advertising in the NKCTribune, they

7 The Washington Newspaper November 2015

PDN: Brewer proud of Home Fund

Continued from Page 1 ing the Peninsula Daily News in 1987. The PDN is owned by Sound Publishing Inc., the largest publisher of community newspapers in the state. In addition to overseeing KPC’s community newspapers and online publications, Ward launched a digital marketing division that helps small- to mediumsized businesses grow their revenues. Before joining KPC in 2012, he was director of sales and digital for GateHouse Media’s Community Newspaper Division, working with 142 publications in 11 states. Ward and his wife, Quinn, have three young children. “I want to continue to put out a great community newspaper that the North Olympic Peninsula can be very proud of,” Ward said. Brewer said he is especially proud of

the role the paper has played in community affairs. It is a major supporter of the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts and co-founded its annual festival, and it contributes to more than 25 other nonprofit organizations in both Jefferson and Clallam counties. “We set a new record, $271,981, in 2014 for our Peninsula Home Fund, which gives a ‘hand up, not a handout’ to individuals, families, single moms, senior citizens and others from Port Townsend to Forks, and everywhere in between, who suddenly face an emergency situation and can’t find help elsewhere.” “This is the 27th year for the fund — and I have no doubt my successor will care about it as much as I have,” Brewer said. Executive Editor Rex Wilson retired Aug. 1. He now lives in Mexico.

WNPA JOB BOARD will match it. In addition, they require the nonprofit to list them as a contributing sponsor and display their logo in all printed materials, as they would any other sponsor. Hamberg and Jana Stoner were concerned some nonprofits would be upset and that the NKCTribune would get negative feedback from the community. Exactly the opposite happened. The non-profits had no idea what they had been receiving for free all this time, and once the idea spread throughout the community, even more non-profits came forward to take advantage of NKCTribune’s generosity. It was a win win for everyone. The NKCTribune now makes some money from non profits and they are promoted as generous contributors throughout the community.

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: REPORTER WANTED

The Wenatchee World in beautiful North Central Washington is looking for a reporter to join our talented staff. We are a five-day daily newspaper with an engaged online and social media audience. We also produce a monthly businessto-business magazine and a bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazine. We are looking for a talented, enthusiastic reporter who can write, take photos and video and understands the importance of serving our audience on multiple digital platforms. Submit a cover letter, resume and work samples to Cal FitzSimmons at fitzsimmons@wenatcheeworld.

com. Deadline for submissions is Friday, Nov. 6.

Publishing, Inc., 11323 Commando Rd W, Main Unit, Everett, WA 98204.



The Islands Sounder is seeking an energetic, detailed-oriented reporter to write articles and features. Experience in photography and Adobe InDesign a plus. Applicants must be able to work in a team-oriented, deadline-driven environment, possess excellent writing skills, have a knowledge of community news and be able to write about multiple topics. Must relocate to Orcas Island, WA. This is a full-time position that includes excellent benefits: medical, dental, life insurance, 401k, paid vacation, sick and holidays. No calls please. Send resume with cover letter, three or more non-returnable clips in PDF or Text format and references to or mail to: HR/GARIS, Sound

The Port Orchard Independent, in beautiful Port Orchard, WA, is looking for a self-motivated, resultsdriven person interested in a multi-media sales career. You must be goal oriented, have organizational skills that enable you to manage multiple deadlines, provide great consultative sales and excellent customer service. This position receives a base salary plus commissions, a benefits package including health insurance, paid time off, and 401K with company match. Sound Publishing is an Equal Opportunity Employee (EOE) and strongly supports diversity in the workplace. Visit our website to learn more about us!

Small changes make big differences in type Focus groups prove to be revealing In October, I traveled to Albuquerque, where I gave the Saturday keynote address at the New Mexico Press Association Convention. On Sunday morning, I caught a flight to Orlando, where I spoke at an international conferSlimp ence made up of newspaper and magazine publishers. My assignment in Florida was a little out of the ordinary. In addition to giving the keynote, I was asked to meet with publishers individually and look over their products, offering criticism and advice. The convention planner expected maybe a dozen publishers to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with me for 30 minutes each over two days. By the time I left Florida, I had met with more than 20 publishers, who represented scores of titles. While I was packing my computer to head back to the airport, several of the attendees stopped me. Most of them said something like, “I can’t wait for you to see my magazine next year” or “I plan to win all the awards next year after making the changes you suggested.” It reminded me a little of my visits to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where I’m invited every couple of years to spend two days with the news staff there. I’m always surprised by the things we get into while I’m with the Kentucky New Era, but tend

to find our page critiques the most helpful exercise. I can’t take credit for the idea. It originally came from Eli Pace, editor, and we’ve made it a regular part of my visits. The idea works like this: The various editors meet around a conference table for a few hours, while we look over pages from the previous year. We discuss the quality of headlines, the placement of stories, the general layout of the pages and more. Once, I noted that newspaper flag on the front page looked a little dirty. Eli gave me the go-ahead to “play with the flag” that afternoon and I sent a clean copy to him before heading back to the hotel. Not knowing he was actually going to use the cleaner design, I was surprised the next morning when he told me several readers had called in to comment on the improved front page design. All I did was clean up the drop shadow behind the words “Kentucky New Era.” I didn’t change the shape or size of anything. I simply inserted a thin while line between the characters in the flag and the drop shadow behind them. Little things make a big difference. While preparing for the Florida group, I gathered a group of 23 folks in my hometown of Knoxville to look over some of the various newspapers and magazines I that would be represented in Orlando. This focus group was made up of ordinary readers.

8 The Washington Newspaper November 2015

None of them were professional writers, editors or designers. I divided the focus group into smaller groups of three to four members each and asked them to critique a dozen elements of the publications. These included stories, design, readability and other elements. Most surprising to me was the lack of concern over paper quality. Most readers didn’t seem to care whether they were reading something printed on coated stock, newsprint or something else. Here’s a thought: How about gathering a focus group to look at your newspapers every six months? By offering to pay for lunch, I had 23 willing participants, giving us enough folks to break into groups and critique two dozen titles in four hours. In my customer service survey last month, I learned that the chief concern of subscribers is the number of local stories and the quality of writing. For nonsubscribers, quality of writing was number one and local story content was number two. Consider creating your own focus group. I can’t wait to hear from the publishers I met in Florida to learn about the improvements to their products in the coming months. Kevin Slimp is a speaker and trainer in the publishing world. He can be reached at

Twn 1115  

The Washington Newspaper with coverage of WNPA's 2015 convention.

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