Newspapers Fight Valassis Proposal: Virginia’s E-Press for June 20
VPA / June 20, 2012POSTAL ISSUES
PRC seeks comments on Valassis proposal to USPS
The U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) is considering a special three-year postage rate deal for a direct mail company that would harm local newspapers and cause the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to lose millions of dollars in postage revenue.
At 5 p.m. on June 15, the PRC issued notice of inquiry asking all interested parties to provide more information for assessing the impact of this proposal. Responses are due on Friday, June 29. The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and the National Newspaper Association (NNA) are working closely together in opposition to the proposal.
USPS proposes giving Valassis Direct Mail a negotiated service agreement (NSA) or "contract rate" that would provide deep postage discounts of 22-36 percent. Valassis would use these discounts to draw national retail advertising inserts out of newspapers' Sunday editions into a new shared mail package. These deeply discounted postage rates, not available to other companies, would give Valassis a significant market advantage over newspapers.
NAA believes it is inappropriate for the Postal Service to use postal rates to give one company such a significant market advantage. Newspapers are open to competition, but it is not right for a government-sponsored enterprise to favor a single company over hundreds of others.
USPS also claims that the Valassis deal will bring in millions of dollars in new postage revenue. While NAA understands the need to find new sources of revenue, USPS has not accounted for the fact that newspapers will be forced to take their non-subscriber ad insert pieces out of the mail and move them to lower cost delivery firms in order to stay competitive in their markets. USPS would actually lose millions of dollars in net revenue on the Valassis deal.
VPA has expressed its opposition to the proposal in letters to Reps. Eric Cantor and Gerry Connolly and Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb.
NOTE: VPA member publishers will be contacted via email tomorrow morning with specific ways in which they can provide comments and data in opposition to the proposal.
TRIPLE-TREAT THURSDAY WEBINARS!
Thursday, June 28, is going to be a triple-treat day for webinars offered by VPA and Inland Press!
At 11:30 a.m., you can participate in "Thinking Big With Event Marketing." The Altoona (Pa.) Mirror has spent five years developing a robust event marketing program, putting on events that brought in big names and attracted even bigger crowds. Learn about the revenue generated through this program and the shift in thinking from producing newspapers to manufacturing audience.
Then at 3 p.m., do it right with a two-fer from newspapers that made Editor & Publisher's list of "10 Newspapers That Do It Right" by rocking an awards show and reaching out to women readers.
First, you'll learn how the Erie Times-News celebrates its local rock music scene with a Grammy-style music awards show that cements its connection with fans while generating revenue from sponsorships and ticket sales. Next, find out how the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune targets its 58,000 area women with a niche magazine and a highly popular annual "What Women Want Expo" that attracts big attendance and big revenue.
VPA partners with Online Media Campus and Inland Press Association to offer learning opportunities to our members. Each program allows participation by an unlimited number of people at your site, using one Internet connection and one phone. The following webinars are coming in June and July:
Friday, June 22, 2 p.m., "Covering the Presidential Election: Why and How" with Al Cross
Thursday, July 12, 3 p.m., "Using Pinterest to Drive Readers to Your Website, Showcase Your Journalists' Best Work and Make Advertisers Love You" with Joan Stewart
Thursday, July 19, 3 p.m., "Ultimate Money-Making Print and Web Ads" with Joe DeBiak
July 9-31, Online Certificate Program for Web Press Operators (2-4 hours for completion
VPA Training and Education: http://www.vpa.net/index.php/education/
U.S. Fourth Circuit affirms Virginia election officials violated National Voter Registration Act
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on June 15 that Virginia election officials violated the National Voter Registration Act by refusing to release completed voter registration applications. The court found that once applicants' social security numbers were redacted, their applications were "unquestionably" public under the law. The applications fell within the public disclosure provision of the act, requiring states to make publicly available "all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters" for two years.
Read the opinion: http://www.vpa.net/images/pdf/20120615_165321_opinion_.pdf
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A VPA publisher speaks out for newspapers
In the June 17 edition of the Daily Press, publisher Digby Solomon wrote, "As a newspaper publisher, I'm used to criticism from readers and community leaders. Since a newspaper's job often requires probing sensitive topics, you've got to learn how to take hits as well as dish them out.
"We understand the reason people become angry at their newspaper is precisely because we are so important to them."
Read the full article: http://www.dailypress.com/news/breaking/dp-nws-feedback-digby-0617-20120617,0,5401426.story
Readers will soon get Gotcha! delivered at home
Starting on Saturday, June 23, Gotcha! will be available for home delivery starting with the Saturday, June 23, edition. A weekly publication of the Richmond Media Group, Gotcha! includes mug shots from recent arrests in Chesterfield, Henrico and the city of Richmond, plus local crime news.
Gotcha! aims to provide information to the public about suspected criminal activity in the area; to aid law enforcement in the determent of crime and the solving of cases; and to raise the overall safety consciousness of the public. It is currently available each week for purchase at local stores.
Richmond Times-Dispatch subscribers can add delivery of Gotcha! for an additional $1 per week. Non-subscribers can receive home delivery of Gotcha! for $1.25 per week.
Kinser, Weeks promoted by Richmond Suburban
Richmond Suburban News has announced organization and leadership changes which "allow two talented managers to interact directly with the communities we serve, benefitting both our readers and advertisers," according to publisher Joy Monopoli.
Melody Kinser, who has served as editor of The Mechanicsville Local since 2008, has been named managing editor of Richmond Suburban News. In addition to The Local, the group includes Midlothian Exchange, The Goochland Gazette, Powhatan Today and Cumberland Today. Kinser came to Mechanicsville from The Winchester Star, where she served as day city editor.
Birgit Weeks, who has served as business office manager for Powhatan Today since 2007, has been named market manager for several publications including Powhatan Today, Midlothian Exchange and Cumberland Today. Weeks, a native of Germany, previously worked for the YMCA of Greater Richmond as accountant and as membership director at one of the local branches.
There's still time to register for the VPA Executive Management Retreat!
July 13-14, The Cavalier
Click here for details: http://www.vpa.net/images/pdf/EMRagenda12.pdf
2011 VPA Contests
Click here to access the gallery: http://omnicontests4.com/gallery-search.aspx?gallery_id=11
Send VPA your thoughts and ideas by June 29
Visit the Public Notice Resources page for VPA members on http://www.vpa.net to access online and print ads, our general information page, and more!
Who should be getting E-Press? Let us know!
Looking for a new job? Or a new employee?
For job hunters, VPA's online classifieds at http://www.vpa.net/index.php/classifieds/ are a great place to start. Listings are added each week. And if you have a position to fill, remember that VPA members can post classifieds for free. Check it out!
Join SCAN and/or 2x2: there's money involved!
Expert Advice: Ask the Columnists
Newspaper Technology: Kevin Slimp
Common Sense Journalism: Doug Fisher
Writing Matters: Jim Stasiowski
Design for Readers: Ed Henninger
Ad-libs: John Foust
Visit http://www.vpa.net/index.php/education/article/expert_advice_ask_the_columnists1/ for contact information!