SPJ to celebrate George Mason's 290th birthday

Join the Society of Professional Journalists Virginia Pro Chapter in celebrating George Mason’s 290th birthday on Saturday, Dec. 12. Born in what is today Fairfax County on Dec. 11, 1725, Mason helped frame the Virginia Constitution and in 1776 wrote its Declaration of Rights, the forerunner of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Valassis pays $100K penalty, admits bid for Postal Service discounts failed

WASHINGTON — Valassis, the direct mail company known for its glossy advertising supplements, has paid a $100,000 penalty to the U.S. Postal Service after it failed to meet qualifications for mailings for which it would've received postage discounts ranging 22%-34%.

In a release by Tonda F. Rush, CEO and general counsel for the National Newspaper Association, Valassis "filed a report saying it had carried out no mailings eligible for the special discount."

FOIA Council discusses 3 bills on access to public information

Discussion during Wednesday’s meeting of the Virginia FOIA Council focused on the implications of a recent Virginia Supreme Court ruling that permitted public bodies to withhold entire documents simply because a portion of the document was exempt from the state’s Freedom Of Information Act. That runs sharply afoul of FOIA language that emphasizes only exempt information be redacted while the remainder is made public.

Catholic Herald honors Bishop's anniversary with 60-page special section

The Arlington Catholic Herald, the weekly newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, published a 60-page special supplement Nov. 19 celebrating Bishop Paul S. Loverde’s 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Bishop Loverde has led the Arlington Diocese for more than 16 years. The commemorative edition was mailed to 130,000 households across Northern Virginia.


American Hometown Publishing buys Florida newspaper

American Hometown Publishing, which owns The Coalfield Progress in Norton, The Dickenson Star in Clintwood, and The Post in Big Stone Gap, has acquired The Islander News in Key Biscayne, Fla.

According to a press release from Nashville-based AHP, the deal to buy The Islander News from Anne S. Owens was announced Nov. 13. “AHP will carry forward The Islander’s legacy and mission of service to the community of Key Biscayne,” Owens said in the release. “I knew this was a perfect match from the beginning of our discussions.”

Job fair added to 2016 VPA Conference

The Virginia Press Association and Region 2 of the Society for Professional Journalists will host a job fair during the annual conference, set for April 2016 in Richmond.

Ten tables will be available during a 2 1/2-hour slot beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday. Members can rent a table for $25. Contact Kim Woodward at kimw@vpa.net to reserve a table.

Also during the fair, Region 2 of SPJ is offering free resume, clip and broadcast critiques. Region 2 includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware and Washington, D.C.


Ideas abound from Publishers' Roundtable

Richmond Times-Dispatch Publisher Tom Silvestri

A group of publishers and newspaper officers came away with concepts for new products - and revenue - through a roundtable discussion held Nov. 13 at the Virginia Press Association.

Leading the group was Richmond Times-Dispatch Publisher Tom Silvestri, who illustrated the idea concept by bringing an oversized, but functional, light bulb to the discussion.

The quick takeaways:

Hanover Herald-Progress editor announces departure

By way of a short editorial in the Nov. 12 edition, Hanover Herald-Progress editor Daniel Sherrier revealed he's leaving the paper in two weeks.

"I wasn't actively looking for a position so soon," wrote Sherrier," who returned to the paper about nine months ago. He previously spend a little more than six years with the Herald-Progress.

Sherrier will work through Thanksgiving week. He's planning a farewell column for the Thanksgiving Day edition.

Culpeper Times opens office, adds staff

Photo by Ian Chini

When Rappahannock Media, which also owns the Rappahannock News weekly newspaper and the Piedmont Virginia Magazine, purchased the Culpeper Times from Virginia News Group in mid July, managing partner Dennis Brack had a checklist of things he wanted to accomplish quickly.

He wanted to retain Editor Anita Sherman to manage the news content. Brack needed to hire a staff to sell advertising. And, finally, he wanted to open a local office to maintain a local presence and better connect with the community.

Check those off the list.


Judge: Denying access to database is 'nonsensical'

A judge in Newport News has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Daily Press and reporter Dave Ress that seeks access to a statewide database of circuit court records.

In a story reported by Ryan Murphy of the Daily Press, Circuit Court Judge David Pugh called objections to releasing the database "nonsensical." Pugh added that the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia - the defendant in the lawsuit - appears to be responsible for making the database available. Pugh scheduled a trial for Feb. 16, 2016.


Professional Development

  • Workshop

    AP Day at the Capital


    Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 9:00am

    2015 AP Day at the Capital
    Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 300 E. Franklin St., Richmond, VA.

    Sponsors: Virginia AP Managing Editors, Virginia Press Association, Virginia Capital Correspondents Association, Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

    9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. – Registration and coffee