RPD: Localizing A Tragic Story

92nd in a 2022 Series*

There is plenty of reporting to be done localizing the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. And Buffalo, NY. Consider initially documenting trends in three areas:
Gun ownership and gun purchases: Lots to consider. Start with what percentage of local households and commercial establishments own guns. If you want one focus, analyze statistics on the type of guns — “assault rifle,” long guns, or those that fire large amounts of bullets in short periods — that were used in the New York and Texas mass shootings. Another focus: Guns being bought by individuals age 21 and under.
Mental health and treatment: If you want one focus, report how many people have been identified as threats and what happened after the initial inquiry. Explain how local authorities treat reports of dangerous individuals, antisocial behavior, or people in danger. Also: Describe in numbers your community’s safety net to treat mental illness.
Deaths and injuries involving guns: Compare and contrast with other causes of death and injury.
If possible, analyze over the last 10 years. A narrower range could be the pandemic years as we are learning the dangers of prolonger isolation.
Added starter: Crime reports involving incidents on school properties.
In all efforts, stick to the facts. Run counter to today’s opinion first, facts later. Godspeed on such important Relevant coverage.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

RPD: Removing Harmful Content

91st in a 2022 Series*

What would you think of a media company that had to address millions of pieces of harmful content it shared over the last few months– an amount so large it had to develop artificial intelligence to help detect adverse content faster, had to remove 1.7 billion fake accounts since September 2021, had to quadruple safety and security teams, and spent $16 billion on safety and security teams and technology over the last six years. You might think this provider would change its content so it wasn’t so dangerous. What company are we talking about here? The actions above were listed in a full-page advertisement on May 19 from Facebook. Think about that. And this solution: Whatever you publish, you own it. “Facebook,” the ad reads, “knows that meaningful connection can only happen on safe, secure platforms.” Just like a newspaper.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

RPD: ‘My Local Newspaper…’ Series

90th in a 2022 Series*

In one of the Relevance Project’s biggest promotional offers, a NEW eight-part campaign explains the continued strength of local newspapers. All of the promotions follow the theme “My Local Newspaper…” and are based on the latest readership study orchestrated by the National Newspaper Association.  Because the study focused both on news and advertising, the campaign is parked on the Revenue Resource and Support Local Journalism pages of www.relevanceproject.net 
We thank the NNA for sharing its sponsored research that packs many powerful points. A special shout-out as well to Metro Creative Graphics for its design work.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

RPD: Thank You, Utah Press

89th in a 2022 Series*

Thanks to the Utah Press Association for inviting The Relevance Project to present to the 2022 Annual Convention on Friday (May 20). The requested “Triple Play” discussion normally takes an hour as it delivers the ingredients of Relevance, an overview of the free resources on www.relevanceproject.net, and the strategic case for newspapers to transform into THE Community Forum. But when the long list of key state legislators started to put the program behind schedule, the hour afternoon slot shrunk to 30 minutes. No problem, The Relevance Project aims to please. We were able to hit all three points, albeit briefer and a bit faster in record time. It did feel odd being the only speaker who wasn’t a politician or public official on the agenda (see the snapshot above). In those situations, The Relevance Project knows it needs only one vote to keep its position — from the person running the conference. Thank you, Executive Director Brian Allfrey for including The Relevance Project in your report to members. Your legislative updates served as a Community Forum of sorts. Kudos for the reminder that there’s nothing stopping press associations from being THE Community Forum as well.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

RPD: Thank You, Louisiana Press

88th in a 2022 Series*

Everyone likes a good challenge. Here’s one: Take an hour presentation built on three parts. Break it apart into three sections so that each consumes no more than 20 minutes. Zero in on the best message, be brief and to the point. The added pressure: You’re cutting into attendees’ lunch hour. Challenge accepted. A big thanks to the Jerry Raehal and Dana Wilbert for inviting me to present to the Louisiana Press Association‘s new Lunch & Learn program. Part I was yesterday: “A Relevant Future: Now Is A Good Time To Size Up,” featuring the Relevance Meter. Part II will occur in June, with the closer in July. I couldn’t tell from the Zoom screens if anyone was eating lunch while I was talking. But I saw people. Amazing, since I found the 20 minutes was over in a flash. The importance of Relevance as a foundation for trust. DONE. Reminded me of the first time I received a standing ovation. It occurred when I ended a training session for copy editors 25 minutes early. Never saw bigger smiles. Told me a lot about success as a public speaker. Having snacks didn’t hurt either.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

RPD: Consumers Trust Newspapers (Cont.)

87th in a 2022 Series*

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Here’s further proof that advertisers and marketers seeking a trusted media should hire newspapers: Products in a newspaper’s portfolio show up in the Top 5 “trusted advertising channels” rated by U.S. customers. So says Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Study in a special excerpt granted to The Relevance Project. Seven out of 10 consumers said they either trust completely or trust somewhat these four channels, a term Nielsen uses to distinguish where ads show up or are referenced:
Ads in newspapers (No. 5 at 68.5%)
Editorial content, such as newspaper articles (No. 4 at 68.7%); a nice endorsement for branded or sponsored content.
Branded websites (No. 3 at 71.1%), which certainly includes newspapers.
Emails “I signed up for” (No. 2 at 71.7%), a tout to newspapers offering e-newsletters and marketing emails sent to newspaper readers.
And the No. 1 channel: “Recommendations from people I know” (89.2%). What better trusted source than newspaper readers who are informed consumers.
Nielsen, which describes itself as a global leader in audience, measurement, data and analytics, also included a tip that is perfect for local news advertising reps on how best to use this data. “Choosing channels that increase the likelihood of building trust with consumers carries even more weight for certain categories and industries,” Nielsen stated. “Consumers trust political, pharmaceutical and financial services advertising the least, which means advertisers in these areas should choose marketing channels that are most likely to elicit consumer trust.”
Bingo.
When you close the sale, join me in thanking Nielsen for the motivating research.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

ADDED NOTE: Look for a future promotion from The Relevance Project capturing the Nielsen conclusion.

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

UPDATE: The Nielsen study is titled Trust in Advertising. The initial version of this blog incorrectly identified it as Trusted in Advertising.

RPD: Debate Rejection Is An Opportunity

86th in a 2022 Series*

On their 100th anniversary, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates were celebrated in a 1958 postage stamp.


Is the candidate-debate format ready to expire? Do newspapers have a replacement solution that fits under THE Community Forum umbrella? “The long-standing electoral tradition of political debates is on the wane,” reported the authoritative The Kiplinger Letter in its May 12th newsletter. “More and more candidates in high-profile races are shunning debates, preferring to spend time campaigning to friendly audiences and media.” Kiplinger added the trend is accelerating and cited rejections in several current Congressional and gubernatorial races. It also noted the “future of presidential debates is in question, too.” This is a time for newspapers to further sharpen how they cover elections so voters have the most thorough information on where candidates stand on issues and how they will represent citizens. Why? Numerous surveys show local voters consider newspapers their top source on campaign news and candidate details. It’s a distinction no one should take for granted given the trust factor. Be THE Community Forum, The Relevance Project asserts. There shouldn’t be a debate about that.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

P.S. Check out THE Community Forum starter kit.

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

Director Q and A: NNA’s Lynne Lance

Part of a Monthly Series

The National Newspaper Association is known for its rally-around-the-members conventions, which in 2018 was in Norfolk, VA, where Lynne Lance (right) framed a picture with Linda O’Neil, then the circulation director at the Lancaster (SC) News.


Lynne Lance says she dislikes talking about herself.
But she eventually agreed to participate in this month’s Executive Director Question & Answer feature because it was an opportunity to thank the members of her National Newspaper Association.
She calls the 1,698-member association her second family.
The special relationships that newspaper people cultivate over their careers are often the fuel for national advocacy and educational groups like Lance’s.
After recently reorganizing itself, NNA is still at the forefront of representing community newspapers, whether it be better postal regulations or helping the public to better understand why their support is vital to the success of Relevant local news operations.
The group’s latest readership study, for example, is loaded with facts and figures to help newspapers continue to make a convincing case in the fractured media environment.
In many ways, like the newspapers she represents, Lance is a spirited survivor.
You’ll have to read on to find out one unusual aspect of that fact.

Can you introduce us to your association?
We are the National Newspaper Association and The NNA Foundation. We work on behalf of community newspapers; the NNA is the powerhouse for public policy and the NNAF is focused on training and education.

We’ve been following the major changes involving the Foundation. Can you walk us through the new approach and how it is going? 
Yes, we had lots of changes in 2020. Everything educational moved under the foundation — including contest, convention and Publishers’ Auxiliary. With that, we added several educational series – the Country Editors’ Forum, the Max Heath Postal Institute™ newspaper preparation certification series, and we are launching a journalism education series in May with “Covering Elections.” (https://nnafoundation.org/covering-elections).
Only public policy and membership remain under the association now. Both boards have been able to hyper-focus on their missions.


Now you: What’s been your career path?
I have an advertising and marketing degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Immediately after college, I worked for a communications firm in Atlanta, then as a typesetter and graphic artist for a printer in Birmingham, Alabama, and then Springfield, Illinois.
Once both my boys graduated high schools, I took a job with the Illinois Press Association in Springfield, working my way up from administrative assistant to membership director. Once the IPA contracted management of NNA, I began working as their membership director, then chief operating officer.
Now, I serve as the executive director of both the association and foundation, managing through my own LLC.


How would you describe your position and role to someone outside the newspaper industry?
I do everything from invoicing to answering the phone to managing membership, two boards and several committees. I run the editorial and advertising contest and help plan the annual convention. We are in the business of keeping community newspapers Relevant and sustainable through public policy and education.
NNA has no employees, but has been very fortunate over the years to have the most amazing people contract for them to serve community newspapers. I am not the smartest person in the room, by far, but I work hard to let those that know best be the best.

During the NNA convention in Jacksonville, FL, last year, Rinda Maddox (right), publisher of the Sidell (IL) Reporter, checked in with Lynne Lance. Kate Richardson, NNA Associate Director, joined in.


What do you like best about your job?
The members. I spend a lot of time on the phone every day talking to them and they are my second family. If you haven’t been to one of our conventions, I highly recommend you join us. It’s like coming home. And we LOVE welcoming new family members. 


Least?
Minutes. I. Hate. Taking. Minutes. Fortunately, I have the wonderful Carol Pierce who has taken that over for me the past year and made my life so much happier.


What is your proudest career moment?
NNA trusting me to take the reins as executive director.


What are your association’s priorities? (Feel free to add a personal priority.)
For the association, postal issues and First Amendment rights are always in the forefront. This year, we will be concentrating on increasing the visibility of community newspapers in Washington, D.C. –proving their importance in reaching the audiences they need to reach. 
The Foundation’s priorities center on education. With the MHPI certification series, we are hoping to train newspapers to be proficient in U.S. Postal Service matters. Our journalism education series concentrates on the fundamentals in covering democratic processes. 

NNA organized a Zoom meeting with members so they could hear from Postmaster Louis DeJoy on March 15, 2022.


What keeps you up at night when wrestling with challenges?
I get so many emails and calls, I am always afraid I dropped the ball and didn’t follow up with someone. I try to do too many things at once, so my mantra lately has been “one thing at a time.”


What’s your favorite point, philosophy or story about the newspaper business?
I just talked to Mary Huber with the Archbold (Ohio) Buckeye. This past year, Mary told me about how her community came together to celebrate when one of their community’s own was on the TV show, “The Voice.” Well, you can’t clip a TV or radio broadcast. Mary and her staff created something in print that will be shared and enjoyed and cherished. That’s what newspapers do.


If you had unlimited resources to advance the newspaper industry, where would you invest your time and money? 
Educating communities on the importance of their local newspaper, as the watchdog for government corruption to your school’s basketball score.

Lynne Lance was one of the association executive directors to send a salute via video to Allen Beermann during the Nebraska Press Association’s tribute to its former leader. That’s Beermann in the lower left looking up at Lance on the large screen.


What is something most people don’t know about you?
I TWICE applied for the reality-TV series “Survivor.”

What do you like to do outside of work?    
Garden and read.

Finally, what is your best career advice to a newcomer to newspapers? To a veteran with 10 to 15 years until retirement?
Join the National Newspaper Association. 😊

Anything else to add?
Thank you to NAM and The Relevance Project and all community newspapers. 

–As told to Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

Note: Previous Q&A interviews are parked on the Relevant Point blog, which is part of www.relevanceproject.net


About the National Newspaper Association

The mission of the National Newspaper Association is to protect, promote and enhance America’s community newspapers. NNA protects community newspapers through active and effective government relation programs that address the issues affecting community newspapers.
 
NNA promotes community newspapers by educating readers, advertisers, and policy officials on the benefits and value of community newspapers.
 
NNA enhances community newspapers by providing information, solutions and strategies on current and emerging issues affecting the business interests of community newspapers.

The symbol for NNA — and community newspapers — is an individual on a park bench reading a newspaper. It emphasizes and reminds us that the value of community newspapers is in their ability to inform, educate and entertain people. The informed individual is the most elemental building block of our democracy. — From www.nna.org

RPD: Minnesota Gets A Gold Star

85th in a 2022 Series*

Today we add the Minnesota Newspaper Association to The Relevance Project’s list of Gold-Star Supporters. MNA’s weekly e-newsletter always contains a sharp summary of Relevance Project resources available to newspapers members free of charge and keeps track of the new content that is posted each month. Links are embedded for easy access. We took a screenshot of this week’s presentation that can be copied by other associations. A tip of the collaboration hat to MNA, which represents its members well.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

RPD: Newspapers As Screwball Comedies

84th in a 2022 Series*

Check me on this description of the newsroom: fast movement, frantic pace, eccentric characters, witty, quick barbs, and poking fun at the differences among the social classes, competitive battles among star reporters, and occasionally tension between love and cynicism. Nailed it, right? True confession: I borrowed the characteristics from Turner Classic Movies’ definition of screwball comedies. In my defense, TCM was talking about “newspaper movies” that fit the genre. Come on, screwball captures newspapers, don’t you think? Anyway, TCM went back nearly 90 years to show six classics yesterday (May 11): The Front Page (1931); Front Page Woman (1935); Libeled Lady (1935); Love on the Run (1936); Nothing Sacred (1937); and His Girl Friday (1940). And while much has changed about newspapers over the last century, watching these classics and cheering on today’s journalists have this in common: those who put their people first eventually get the scoop and figure out what’s next. Humor helps, too.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

P.S. Some newspaper association conferences include a movie night where debates about the best newspaper films abound. Here’s a Top 10 list to ignite initial arguments.

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.