NNA: Newspaper Subscribers May Be the Unseen Victims in USPS Plant Closings

The U.S. Postal Service should evaluate the impact of slower service to newspaper subscribers before proceeding with 2015 closings of mail processing plants, National Newspaper Association President John Edgecombe Jr., said this week. NNA seconded the concern expressed by the USPS Office of the Inspector General that the Postal Service has not completed service impact evaluations on the planned closings of 82 more mail processing plants starting in January 2015. The evaluations should include public notice and comment. The OIG strongly recommended that USPS complete these evaluations and requested confirmation that they are being completed.


Joint statement on barring journalists from the floor of the Virginia Senate

The Virginia Senate this week has decided to move the public's business farther from the public.

The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Virginia Press Association, and the Virginia Coalition for Open Government are disappointed by Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment's action to refuse to allow journalists onto the Senate floor to cover the General Assembly proceedings, as reported by The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Washington Post and others. Norment has banished the press to cramped quarters where it is difficult to do its job.

Majority leader bars reporters from the floor of the Virginia Senate

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Reporters who showed up to cover the first day of the Virginia General Assembly session were surprised to see that the press tables has been removed from the Senate chamber.

At the order of Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City County, reporters were told to sit in the balcony, rather than on the Senate floor, where journalists have worked during General Assembly sessions for decades.

Sisters named general managers at Rappahannock Record

A new generation of leadership is now in place at the Rappahannock Record in Kilmarnock. Susan Simmons and Kate Oliver have been named general managers of the weekly newspaper.

Susan and Kate are the daughters of Fred and Bettie Lee Gaskins of Urbanna, who have managed the paper since the death of longtime publisher J. Emory Currell in 1993. Mr. Currell’s daughters, Mrs. Gaskins and her sister, Clara Christopher of Williamsburg, are the owners.

Recent trial shows cameras, courtrooms can co-exist

Judge Randy Bellows permitted a single camera to photograph the trial of accused triple murderer Charles Severance.

While nearly every courthouse in Virginia goes to great lengths to prohibit the 21st century tools journalists use to do their jobs, Fairfax County Circuit Court has taken a remarkably progressive stance, allowing cell phones and even laptops inside the courthouse.

That’s considerably further than most Virginia courthouses will allow. Most forbid cell phones and computers from the building, though in some cases attorneys and court employees may bring them in.

BH Media buys Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Thursday that its parent company, BH Media Group, has purchased the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg.

The deal also includes the Free Lance-Star's commercial printing operation, known as Print Innovators. The Free Lance-Star's previous owner, Sandton Capital Partners, acquired the paper in 2014 as the result of a court-approved bankruptcy auction. No terms were revealed.

Take a look at the preliminary agenda for the 2016 VPA Conference

Here's a glimpse of the agenda for the 2016 Conference in Richmond, set for April 8-9, 2016 at the Hilton in Short Pump. This is a preliminary agenda, so visit regularly for updated information.

Friday, April 8

* 10 a.m. - Registration for VPA and SPJ

* 10 a.m. - VPA Contest display room opens.

* 1-4 p.m. - Bonus Session: VCU Photo Shooting & Editing Held at VCU Campus ($30 fee, separate registration required)

* 2-5 p.m. - VPA/VPS Board Meeting

* 2-4:30 p.m. - Job Fair/Clip-Resume Critiques

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.