Members gather at National Newspaper Association 128th Annual Convention E-mail
Friday, 10 October 2014 08:00


Newspaper publishers, editors and managers from across the country met at San Antonio's Grand Hyatt Hotel for the 128th Annual National Newspaper Association Convention & Trade Show, Oct. 2-5.
Attendees gathered Oct. 2 for an ice cream social in the hotel's Lone Star Ballroom where trade show vendors demonstrated an array of newspaper-oriented products and services.
Events on Oct. 3 kicked off with breakfast featuring the traditional flag ceremony. A representative from each state carried their respective state flag up the center aisle, in alphabetical order, by state, with Wise County Messenger Publisher Roy Eaton announcing each one. Current Texas Press Association President Randy Mankin, publisher of the Eldorado Success and the Big Lake Wildcat, served proudly as Texas' flag bearer.
State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, spoke at the opening breakfast. Birdwell told the story of his surviving one of the infamous terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Birdwell was stationed at the Pentagon when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the hub of the nation's military command. The 80-ton Boeing 757 airliner, traveling at 530 miles per hour, plowed through one reinforced wall after another, hurling Birdwell to the floor in an area engulfed in flames and reduced to rubble. He suffered burns over 60 percent of his body and of those, nearly half were third degree. Birdwell described his enduring years of treatment, including nearly 40 surgeries to reconstruct his appearance and restore functionality to joints, muscles, tendons and skin. Birdwell attributed his remarkable recovery to outstanding emergency intervention, a stellar medical team at Georgetown University Hospital and most pointedly, his Christian faith.
Concurrent sessions on Friday included "Defamation Law: How to Safely Publish the News" led by Laura Lee Prather, Haynes & Boone LLP, Austin; "What Is Native Advertising" with Lindsay Jacaman, DMN Media; "A Scout Is Frame-ful: Framing, Community Newspapers and the Boy Scouts of America" with Marcus Funk, associate professor, Sam Houston State University; "Farming Out the News: An Analysis of Agriculture Coverage in Rural Newspapers" with Sandra Robinson, California State University, Monterey; "Down-home Democracy: Measuring Citizens' Response to Changes in Small Newspapers' Coverage of Local Elections," with Landon Woodroof, University of Missouri; "Enterprise Journalism: Why Is It Important at the Community Level?" with Mike Leary, San Antonio Express News; "Why Community Newspapers Are Burgeoning in China" with Jock Lauterer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; "Digital Delivery: How the Way Newspapers Are Reaching Young Readers Is Changing" with Jennifer Greer, University of Alabama at Birmingham; and "Students and the Local Library Partner to Revive Local News" with Meg McGuire, Community Reporting Alliance.

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Newspapers: The Foundation of Vibrant Communities E-mail
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 07:39

1williams robertWhat do you care most about in life?
Most of us would put family at, or near, the top of such a list. Friends would be there. So would our jobs or businesses, our livelihoods. Our homes. Maybe our pets. Our hobbies and pastimes. Add in those around us: Neighbors, the community, etc.
That's our world, our "sphere of influence." Whatever happens to those who inhabit that place in our hearts and lives means something to us.
We monitor.
We respond.
We pay attention. We laugh. We cry. We hurt. We rejoice.
We care.
And that is what well-run newspapers do, too. (The italics on well-run are mine.)
As I have traveled the nation this past year, it's been reassuring to see so many dedicated men and women who see newspapering as so much more than a "job." Newspapering is a job in the same sense that being a father or mother is a "job."
Parents are responsible for the well-being of their family. Good newspapers take on that role with the communities we serve. Newspapers are vigilant in protecting our communities from destructive influences, both from without and within. Newspapers sound the alarm with swift, accurate and thorough coverage when sensitive issues arise.
We provide not just facts, but clearly labeled editorials and analysis stories that offer in-depth points — and counterpoints — to help everyone weigh matters with sufficient information.
Newspapers also serve as "points of pride" where communities celebrate individual and collective achievement, offering congratulations and joining in mass celebration.
Newspapers serve communities in sad times as well, providing clear, concise facts about tragic events, their causes and how they might be prevented from re-occurring. When communities are sick or injured, newspapers bleed. We share the pain and shed tears along with our readers.
If the newspaper I've described sounds like a living, breathing thing ... that's because they are.
Despite what a few might have you believe, newspapers are far from dead.
As long as parents take pride in the birth of a baby, a home run by their Little Leaguer, or graduation, marriage, promotion or any number of life's milestones, people will enjoy reading about them in their community newspaper.
As long as people care about who died in their community this week, how high their taxes may rise or who scored the winning touchdown at the high school football game — community newspapers will be alive.
As long as bulletin boards and refrigerator doors display cherished family memories, community newspapers will be alive.
John Donne said: "No man is an island." Because we don't live isolated lives, apart from everyone around, newspapers are going to be here to help us celebrate, mourn and record life's history as it happens. Newspapers are the "tie that binds" people together.
And in the words of that old hymn: "Blest be the tie that binds."
Thanks for reading your newspaper during National Newspaper Week.
Robert M. Williams, Jr. is a weekly newspaper publisher in Georgia and president of the National Newspaper Association, representing more than 2,500 daily and weekly newspapers across America. Email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

2015 Midwinter Conference & Trade Show E-mail
Thursday, 02 October 2014 07:54


Start the New Year off by attending the Texas Press 2015 Midwinter Conference and Trade Show. The meeting, which brings together friends and colleagues connected throughout the newspaper community, will be held Jan. 22-24 in Galveston at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center.
Galveston is rich in history and culture with ample restaurants and shopping, but if sightseeing isn't manageable, then look no further than Moody Gardens itself. The hotel is an ideal family environment with plenty to do and see for all ages. While there, visit the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids, test your balance on the Sky Trail Ropes Course, or take a ride on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.
The conference begins Thursday with committee meetings, an afternoon reception, two-hour Trade Show preview and a hospitality networking reception. Friday continues with the Trade Show (sponsored by Shweiki Media), a silent auction benefiting the Texas Newspaper Foundation, a grand prize drawing, opening banquet and general sessions.
The annual Hall of Fame awards dinner takes place Friday night following Jackson Walker's hospitality networking reception.
Saturday features additional general-session training and a closing brunch sponsored by CenturyLink. Support from our conference sponsors helps offset expenses and thus allows Texas Press to once again offer a 50 percent discount to TPA members and a complimentary registration to TexSCAN participants who qualify.
Registration materials and more details will be mailed later this month and also posted online.
Rooms are available at a discounted group rate of $119 per night. The deadline for room reservations is December 30, 2014. Call 888-388-8484 and mention "Texas Press" for the room rate.



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