President's Column August 2015

State of the Association

Just one month deep into this role, to quote Mike Hodges, “as the new, and arguably the best” current president of Texas Press, it’s about time for a ‘state of the association’ report.

Members approved the new board with the start of July. There are about 30 people on the board. Hodges gave us a break-down of the board.

Women make up 46% of the board. That compares to only 32% of the publishers in TPA are women.

About three years ago, Texas Daily Newspaper Association rolled its membership into Texas Press. Fifteen percent of TPA’s membership are daily newspapers. Twenty-five percent of the new board are from dailies.

This shows Texas Press is serious about taking care of its members and the future of this industry.

As many will remember, Texas Press sold its building located on Fifth Street in Austin a couple of years ago. Our offices are now located on Congress Ave. on the Austin American Statesman campus.

Under the leadership of past president Greg Shrader, TPA invested the proceeds of that sale. In our July meeting, it was reported those funds are appreciating nicely. Previously, TPA was only earning about 1% on its investments and now it is just over 5%. Since those investments were made, TPA has earned a little over $260,000.

There will be some separate reports generated about the great work of TPA’s legislative action committee during this last session. The work of your staff and committee members was phenomenal. 

Needless to say, our industry survived some serious efforts to bypass the public with public notices.

New LAC chairman Bill Patterson (Denton Record-Chronicle) sent a note the other day that a recent study shows for young adults with high levels of education and from more affluent households, internet penetration is at full saturation levels.

This seems to be the message the politicos in Austin are spewing to each other.

But as TPA Executive VP Donnis Baggett is fond of reminding us, “...they (young adults) still only see what they go looking for most of the time.”

If you attended the leadership retreat in Austin recently, you heard several suggestions of what Texas newspapers can do between now and the next session to correct that impression. Public notices buried on the internet cannot meet the true meaning of ‘public’.

Texas Newspaper Foundation reported recently it has donated $20,000 to the Texas Center for Community Journalism located at TCU. Tommy Thomason leads this Center which provides training for Texas newspapers. TNF made a similar donation to TCCJ last year and about 160 people received training at the Center. Sign up to receive Tommy’s emails to learn more.

It was also reported Lissa Walls of Southern Newspapers donated $10,000 to Texas Newspaper Foundation in memory of her mother, Martha Walls.

Speaking of TNF, this is the time of year to submit nominations for the Hall of Fame. Since 2007, the Foundation has inducted 35 men and women into its Hall of Fame. 

Nomination forms can be found on the TPA website.

That’s enough industry news.

Well, not really. Here’s some stuff we were talking about in the early 1980’s at TPA:

“Cigarette advertising continues decreasing in newspaper and magazines. Total cigarette ad dollars spent in 1984 were $834.8 million, in 1985 $777.7 million and in 1986 were $629.8 million.”

“Today’s typical household now receives 17 different pieces of 3rd Class Mail (direct mail) every seven days. And according to an assistant postmaster general, the overall volume of direct mail may surpass First Class sometime in the next decade.”

“A recent study by the Southern Newspapers of America Association revealed that: 57% of a newspaper’s income is from local and national advertising. 28% is from classified ads and public notices. 10% is from circulation. And 4% is from preprints.”

Want to get involved with Texas Press?  Make plans to attend the Midwinter Conference and Trade Show in January. It will be at San Marcos.

It’s not that hard. See you there.