Look for marketing program at regional meetings

From the Desk of… Vicki Russell

I just heard through the grapevine about a column written by a noted journalist that supports the idea newspapers should get a piece of the federal bail-out action. I haven’t searched for or read the column but might … after I stop laughing.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t intend to belittle the writer. I’m sure the column legitimately lists substantive points about the importance of our industry to this country. I am amused, however, by contemplating the potential discussions on Capitol Hill.
How many concessions would newspapers have to make to participate in a bailout, for example? How far-reaching might those concessions be? Would the government become part-owners of major news organizations? What new restrictions on freedom of speech and access to information might enter the equation?
As ridiculous as all that sounds, I fear I’m not exaggerating.
No, I don’t think we can look to the federal government for solutions to the problems within our industry. We must solve them ourselves.
Doug Crews, MPA’s executive director, and I have had several discussions in recent months about what MPA can do to assist members. We are dreaming big, imagining programs so helpful that other states adopt them, too. (That wouldn’t be a first, by the way.)
We are ramping up. In January, at the Northwest Missouri Press Association meeting in St. Joseph, we rolled out a two-hour seminar focused on sales and marketing. Our objective was to provide new research results and practical tools to help members generate revenue and brand awareness
without incurring new expenses.
As the year goes along, we will use the responses we get from attendees to improve the materials and keep presenting them at regional press association meetings as long as youare interested.
I am grateful to Esther Thorsen and Margaret Duffy, faculty members at the Missouri School of Journalism, and to Mark and Eleanor Farnen, owners and executives of Strategists, LLC, for enthusiastically rolling up their sleeves to create and deliver the seminar. They are participating because of their devotion to the newspaper industry, and I hope all of you will take advantage of their expertise.
With the addition of shiny new (or cleverly remodeled) ideas from all of you, we have the collective strength and know-how to get through the economic squeeze and come out better on the other
side.
Surviving The Great Depression and the supply shortages during past world wars couldn’t have been
much fun, but our predecessors made it. We can, too.
Thanks, too, to all who responded to my first column. I appreciate your comments and suggestions so please keep sending them (vrussell@tribmail.com).
Finally, I look forward to seeing you in Jefferson City for the MPA Legislative reception, MPA / AP Day at the Capitol and MSNE / Missouri APME meeting, Feb. 18-20. We can’t lose sight of all the work that needs to be done there, either.

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