Archive for October 2008

The 2008 Montgomery Family Symposium is next week, Nov. 7

October 28, 2008

THE 2008 MONTGOMERY FAMILY SYMPOSIUM

The upcoming Montgomery Family Symposium is an absolute “must” for Kansas newspapers. Newspaper Next 2.0, the latest research on our industry and what we can do to chart our own future, will be presented in a seminar Friday, Nov. 7 in Topeka.

The gift from the Montgomery family to the Kansas Newspaper Foundation will help underwrite half the costs of the seminar, so the cost to KPA members will be just $75, which includes lunch, a CD of all the findings and a lively discussion about our future.

Please consider sending one or more of your staff members to this blockbuster program. Our industry cannot survive and thrive if it doesn’t understand what it is up against.

To register, please call Rachel Willis at 785-271-5304 today or email her at rwillis@kspress.com.

Missouri had good representation at National Convention

October 28, 2008

This is the time of year that things settle down a little bit for your President. With the annual MPA and
National Newspaper Association conventions out of the way, there is a little time available for looking after my primary project, my regular day job.
Speaking of NNA, Missouri was well represented with more than a dozen attendees in St. Paul, Minn. Programs were well organized and timely, entertainment was appropriate and well planned.
It was a great time for everyone in attendance, and much was learned by all, including how to make a perfect omelet in less than one minute. Attendance was down a little this year, a reflection, I’m certain, of the economy as a whole. But attendance was still good. If you have never attended an NNA conference, I would
strongly recommend that you make the effort.
In challenging times like we face today, it benefits everyone in the industry to take advantage of any idea sharing or training opportunities that will improve our skills or those of our staffs. Certainly MPA offers many opportunities to learn and provides resources to assist every member on the road to success.
A prime example of MPA’s efforts to assist members is in the new “Know It. All.” newspaper campaign. This series of ads was developed through MPA, with consultation from Strategists, LLC, and is a promotional campaign that focuses on the value that local newspapers bring to their readers.
The promotion launched Oct. 1 for Missouri newspapers and is provided at no charge to MPA members. MPA encourages all of its member newspapers to download the material and use as much of it as they can.
Because the initial response was so positive, the MPA office began getting inquiries from other state press associations and newspapers. They were asking if they could use the materials in their own campaigns.
After conferring with the MPA Board of Directors, the staff at MPA has announced that the campaign will now
be made available to all state, regional and national press associations and their members.
We did not develop this program to generate revenue.
Rather, like so many programs offered by MPA, it was made available to all at no charge.
I invite you to go to the Missouri Press website and view the promotion. Ads are in template form so newspapers can customize the content to localize the message.
The first flight consists of eight ads, each designed with a different target, season or approach. Some of the ads focus on the news and information aspects of newspapers. Others focus more on the advertising
and value aspects of them. All are presented in two sizes and in color and black and white.
I think you will find this a most worthwhile program.

Editors, manage time to be successful

October 28, 2008

During these days when time and resources are short, a community weekly editor needs to manage a most important resource – time.
Management pays the editor for a certain number of hours each week and requires the editor to get the most out of those hours.
Some editors, who have the mistaken belief they need to work many extra hours, do so in part because they do not manage their time.  I found later in my career when I managed my time, the task usually took less time than I had planned.
Equally important, manage your staff’s time, even if you only have one reporter and a part-time sports editor.
There are many sophisticated time management systems. Mine was simple. I started on Monday and wrote down all the tasks that had to be done that week and on what days.
Then on five index cards with hours written on each one, I’d time when to do certain tasks and go to certain meetings.
When I finished the task, I’d cross it out and perhaps add a new one.  You’ll find you’ll even have time for a game of golf one afternoon.
So editors, here are some tips to conserve your time.
* Close your office door; if you leave it open, some one will come in. You deserve quiet time.
*Get the monkey off your back.  Delegate, if you don’t, your staff will gladly let you do the assignment.
*Manage your overset.  Use it.  Don’t just add to it.  Do that by assigning one fewer story that week.
* Give community members a chance to do your work, particularly now when stories and photos can be E-Mailed.  Train them in a special session. You’d be surprised how volunteers will take notes and photos on away games, knowing they’ll get published.
* Avoid answering routine questions.  Train your front desk people to answer the routine questions.  Use forms for information whenever possible.
*Recruit interns.  I know they take time to manage, but their yield in writing routine stories and good stories is worth it.  Colleges will work with you to get good interns.
* Have planned staff meetings.  Have an agenda, demand staff come with story ideas and plan out the length of assigned stories.  The staff meeting is the big time to manage story number and development.
*Plan a central visual page 1 story during the staff meeting so you’ll always have a good page one anchor. You won’t have to waste time getting a good feature at the last minute.
* Just say No.  Everyone wants the newspaper editor to be at their meeting and be on their committee.  The word “No” is a time saver.
What time saver works for you?  Let me know and I’ll share it with our readers.
–Don Heinzman presents workshops mainly for community weekly staffs and editors. He also advises editors who are just starting, and has written a manual for them.  Call him at 763-441-1656 or dhein0219@aol.com.

Carnahan Reminds Missourians About Five November Statewide Ballot Measures

October 23, 2008

Jefferson City, Missouri ­ — Missouri voters will have the opportunity to vote on two constitutional amendments and three statutory amendments during the November 4, 2008 general election.  To provide voters with a better understanding of the impact of their votes on these issues, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan reminded voters about the official ballot title and fair ballot language for each proposal. A simple majority of votes cast, for each individual issue, will determine whether the issue passes or fails.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1
[Proposed by the 94th General Assembly (First Regular Session) HJR 7]
Official Ballot Title:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to add a statement that English shall be the language of all governmental meetings at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy is formulated whether conducted in person or by communication equipment including conference calls, video conferences, or Internet chat or message board?
It is estimated this proposal will have no costs or savings to state or local governmental entities.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to add a statement that English shall be the language of all governmental meetings at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy is formulated. This includes meetings conducted in person or by other means of communication including conference calls, video conference, Internet chat, or Internet message board.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to add a statement that English shall be the language of all governmental meetings at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy is formulated.
This proposition will have no impact on taxes.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 4
[Proposed by the 94th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SJR 45]
Official Ballot Title:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to change provisions relating to the financing of stormwater control projects by:
€    limiting availability of grants and loans to public water and sewer districts only;
€    removing the cap on available funding and existing restrictions on disbursements;
€    requiring loan repayments to be used only for stormwater control projects?
It is estimated the cost to state governmental entities is $0 to $236,000 annually. It is estimated state governmental entities will save approximately $7,500 for each bond issuance. It is estimated local governmental entities participating in this program may experience savings, however the amount is unknown.
Fair ballot language:
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to change the provisions relating to the financing of stormwater control projects. Currently, the Missouri Constitution allows the legislature to issue bonds or other types of debt so that grants and loans may be provided to municipalities and water and sewer districts in certain counties and cities for stormwater control.
This amendment will limit funding to only public water and sewer districts. It removes the current limitation on the amount of funds that can be made available for these projects and removes the restrictions on the method of disbursing these funds. It further provides that loan repayment funds shall be deposited into a specific fund to be used for stormwater control projects.
A “no” vote will not change the provisions relating to the financing of stormwater control projects.
If passed, this measure will not have an impact on taxes.

PROPOSITION A
[Proposed by Initiative Petition]
Official Ballot Title:
Shall Missouri law be amended to:
€    repeal the current individual maximum loss limit for gambling;
€    prohibit any future loss limits;
€    require identification to enter the gambling area only if necessary to establish that an individual is at least 21 years old;
€    restrict the number of casinos to those already built or being built;
€    increase the casino gambling tax from 20% to 21%;
€    create a new specific education fund from gambling tax proceeds generated as a result of this measure called the “Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Improvement Fund”; and
€    require annual audits of this new fund?
State governmental entities will receive an estimated $105.1 to $130.0 million annually for elementary and secondary education, and $5.0 to $7.0 million annually for higher education, early childhood development, veterans, and other programs. Local governmental entities receiving gambling boat tax and fee revenues will receive an estimated $18.1 to $19.0 million annually.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to:
·         repeal the current individual maximum loss limit for gambling;
·         prohibit any future loss limits;
·         require identification to enter the gambling area only if necessary to establish that an individual is at least 21 years old;
·         restrict the number of casinos to those already built or being built;
·         increase the casino gambling tax from 20% to 21%;
·         create a new specific education fund from gambling tax proceeds generated as a result of this measure called the “Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Improvement Fund”; and
·         require annual audits of this new fund.
A “no” vote will maintain the current individual maximum loss limit of five hundred dollars for each gambling excursion. The casino gambling tax will not be increased nor will the “Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Improvement Fund” be created. Also, the number of new casinos that may be built in Missouri will not be restricted.
If passed, this measure will increase the casino gambling tax.

PROPOSITION B
[Proposed by Initiative Petition]
Official Ballot Title:
Shall Missouri law be amended to enable the elderly and Missourians with disabilities to continue living independently in their homes by creating the Missouri Quality Homecare Council to ensure the availability of quality home care services under the Medicaid program by recruiting, training, and stabilizing the home care workforce?
The exact cost of this proposal to state governmental entities is unknown, but is estimated to exceed $510,560 annually. Additional costs for training are possible. Matching federal funds, if available, could reduce state costs. It is estimated there would be no costs or savings to local governmental entities.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to enable the elderly and Missourians with disabilities to continue living independently in their homes by creating the Missouri Quality Homecare Council. If formed, this Council will ensure the availability of quality home care services under the Medicaid program by recruiting, training, and stabilizing the home care workforce.
A “no” vote means the Missouri Quality Homecare Council will not be created.
This measure will have no impact on taxes.

PROPOSITION C
[Proposed by Initiative Petition]
Official Ballot Title:
Shall Missouri law be amended to require investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and hydropower with the renewable energy sources equaling at least 2% of retail sales by 2011 increasing incrementally to at least 15% by 2021, including at least 2% from solar energy; and restricting to no more than 1% any rate increase to consumers for this renewable energy?
The estimated direct cost to state governmental entities is $395,183.  It is estimated there are no direct costs or savings to local governmental entities.  However, indirect costs may be incurred by state and local governmental entities if the proposal results in increased electricity retail rates.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to require investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass (including ethanol) and hydropower.  The required renewable energy sources must equal the following percentages of retail sales:
€      2% by 2011
€      5% by 2014
€      10% by 2018
€      15% by 2021.
Of the total renewable energy sources required to be sold, at least 2% shall be solar sources.  Also, any rate increase to consumers resulting from this measure must be no more than 1%.
A “no” vote will not require Missouri’s investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources.
This measure will not have an impact on taxes.

NEWSPAPER WEB SITE AUDIENCE INCREASES SIXTEEN PERCENT IN THIRD QUARTER TO 68.3 MILLION VISITORS

October 23, 2008

Data shows unprecedented user engagement with record page views and time spent

Arlington, Va. – Newspaper Web sites attracted more than 68.3 million unique visitors on average (41.4 percent of all Internet users) in the third quarter of 2008, a record number that reflects a 15.8 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to a custom analysis provided by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America.

In addition, newspaper Web site visitors generated an average of just over 3.5 billion page views per month throughout the quarter, an increase of 25.2 percent over the same period a year ago (2.8 billion page views).  These figures are the highest for any quarter since NAA began tracking the data in 2004.

“As news surrounding the economy and the presidential campaign rivets the nation, record audiences are trusting newspaper Web sites for comprehensive, up-to-the-minute reporting and analysis on the events that impact their lives,” said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm.  “Whether in print or online, newspapers are the top local brands that readers turn to for information that will help guide them through some challenging issues facing consumers today.”

The third quarter also set records for active reach percentage (the percentage of active Internet users that visit newspapers on an average month), page views, pages per person, time per person and visits per person.

“Newspapers are continuing to enhance their Web sites with dynamic features, video and other interactive tools that deliver high levels of user engagement,” said Randy Bennett, NAA’s senior vice president of Audience and New Business Development.  “The dramatic increase in page views suggests users are visiting newspaper Web sites frequently throughout the day.”

From Nielsen Online:
Month     Unique Audience     Active Reach Percentage     Page Views     Pages per person     Time Per Person (mm:ss)     Visits Per Person
July-08     67,952,516     41.21      3,410,220,416      50.19      44:19      8.48

Aug-08     69,313,361    41.52      3,421,605,140      49.36      43:18     8.52

Sept-08    67,703,978    41.53      3,686,180,159      54.45      49:20     9.20

Q3 Average

68,323,285    41.42     3,506,001,905     51.33     45:49      8.73

Source: Nielsen Online Custom Analysis

Month   Unique Audience   Active Reach Percentage   Page Views   Pages    Time (mm:ss)     Visits
per person  (pp)               (pp)
July-07    59,635,245      37.05             2,735,019,015    45.86     40:07     8.00
Aug-07   59,278,593      37.42             2,828,613,489     47.72     41:52    8.22
Sept-07  58,160,770       36.96             2,836,328,492     48.77    43:44    8.15

Q3 Average   59,024,869    37.14          2,799,986,999      47.45   41:54    8.12

Source: Nielsen Online Custom Analysis

The Nielsen Online newspaper total audience represents a de-duplicated visitor total based on its RDD (Random Digit Dial) recruited, combined home and work panel of Internet users (i.e. an individual who might read a national newspaper plus their local newspaper online is only counted once). The target sample (2 years or older) has access from a non-shared PC at work and/or access from home. The Nielsen Online monthly newspaper total represents the de-duplicated reach of a custom list of hundreds of sites collectively.

NAA is a nonprofit organization representing the $56 billion newspaper industry and more than 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. NAA members include daily newspapers, as well as non-dailies, other print publications and on-line products. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the Association focuses on the major issues that affect today’s newspaper industry: public policy/legal matters, advertising revenue growth and audience development across the medium’s broad portfolio of products and digital platforms. Information about NAA and the industry also may be found at http://www.naa.org.

Missouri Supreme Court Building to host Centennial

October 20, 2008

MEDIA, ALL MISSOURIANS INVITED TO ATTEND OPEN HOUSE
CELEBRATING SUPREME COURT BUILDING’S CENTENNIAL

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Supreme Court of Missouri and the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau invite all Missouri citizens to attend an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Supreme Court Building, 207 W. High St., Jefferson City, to celebrate the end of the building’s centennial year. The open house will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m. in the lobby as a rededication in honor of the historic building.

The three-story red-brick building, which opened in October 1907, features French Renaissance architecture, stone pillars at each wing of the front façade, stone trim and a slate roof. Prominent in its lobby is a massive marble staircase. The building houses the offices of the Supreme Court clerk and the clerk’s staff, two courtrooms, the two-story high Supreme Court Library, and, by statute, the office of the state attorney general.

The open house will include guided tours of the courtroom where oral arguments take place, portraits of past Supreme Court judges, the library and a judge’s chambers. Guests also will be able to see relics and displays not usually open to the public, including rare historic books such as Henry Bracton’s “On the Laws and Customs of England” (circa 1257); Nicholas Statham’s “Abridgment on the Law” (circa 1470); and Sir Robert Brooke’s “La Graunde: An Abridgement” (1573).

The Supreme Court Building opened its doors for business in October 1907. It was built with the proceeds from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair in St. Louis. The Missouri General Assembly originally appropriated $185,000 from those proceeds for the building, but by the time it opened – 10 months behind schedule – the state was over its budget by about $215,000, with a total cost of approximately $400,000. To reconstruct the building today would cost at least $15 to $20 million.

The Supreme Court of Missouri was established in 1820, one year before Missouri was granted statehood. When the state’s capitol was established in 1875 in Jefferson City, the judges heard cases in the basement of the Capitol Building. In 1877, the first Supreme Court building was constructed southeast of the Capitol Building, roughly where the Missouri Department of Transportation building now stands.

In the early 1900s, the state of Missouri chose to build a new Supreme Court Building on the site of the mansion of Jefferson City’s first mayor, Thomas Lawson Price. Price went on to become the state’s lieutenant governor, a U.S. Army brigadier general under President Abraham Lincoln, and a member of the U.S. Congress.

Judge rules against Sunshine Law

October 7, 2008

The Greater Rivers Environmental Law Center lost a suit it filed against the city of St. Peters claiming the city
“knowingly and purposely” violated the Sunshine Law.
St. Charles County Circuit Judge Ted House ruled in August that the evidence did not show a “knowing violation” and that the records sought could be closed.
He also ruled the Law Center should pay court costs.
According to records, the Law Center had sued the city regarding development in St. Charles County and a river levee. The city argued that because it anticipated future litigation from the plaintiff over the levee, the city council could hold a closed meeting using the litigation exception to the Sunshine Law and keep a Federal Emergency Management Agency Letter of Map Revision a closed record.
The Law Center argued that the city could not close the record because the National Flood Insurance Act grants property owners or leasers the right to view the records and request an administrative and judicial review. (St. Charles County Business Record)