Columns

Publishers can set conditions for publishing submitted articles

Q: A prominent member of the community submitted something labeled as a “news report” on a controversial local topic. He asked us to publish it in the news section of our next edition under his byline. It’s not straight reportage — obviously an opinion piece — it’s way too long and we’ve learned it is the work of a ghostwriter who lives in town. My tendency would be not to run it for the aforementioned reasons. Any thoughts?

It's time to rally the troops

If we weren’t already convinced that the proverbial pen packs a powerful punch, the newspaper industry’s recent success in battling those Canadian newsprint tariffs ought to make all of us sit up a little straighter today. In fact, that victory offers pretty compelling testimony to what we can accomplish as an association, when enough of us take a few minutes out of our already busy days, to make a phone call, write a letter or email, and sling a little ink at an issue that threatens our livelihoods and our profession.

Enemies of the people

As journalists, we are typically reluctant to write about ourselves, or to inject ourselves into a story we are reporting. We have reached this moment in history, though, in which the news we report, and the newspapers we publish, have become the story—a story with dire implications for journalism’s future, the First Amendment that protects it, and the life of our democracy which relies on it.

Guidelines for barcode placement available online

Q: If I file a public information request for a copy of a contract from a local governmental body, and they deny my request and then seek a Texas Attorney General opinion as to the validity of their denial, would the local governmental body have to provide a copy of the contract to the Attorney General as part of the process?
 A: Let’s check the Texas Attorney General’s 2018 Public Information Handbook, Section VI, titled, “Attorney General Determines Whether Information Is Subject to an Exception.” 

Public information law under siege in Texas

It has been clear for some time that public information law is under siege in the state of Texas.
Texas attorney general spokesman Marc Rylander’s swaggering performance at an open government seminar held by the AG’s office earlier this year — during which he encouraged public officials to slow-walk public information requests — offered ample evidence of its endangered status. 
Further verification followed this week, when the Texas Supreme Court denied a motion for re-hearing, filed by the Fort Bend Herald in a 2014 case against Fort Bend County officials.

A new look at an old sales technique

Carla has been selling advertising for many years. She has researched and tried a variety of techniques to answer objections. “Just about everybody knows the Feel-Felt-Found formula,” she said. “When a prospect makes an objection – about price, for example – the response is, ‘I understand how you feel. Many others have felt the same way. Then they found that our paper offers good value for their investment.’ 

By John Foust, Raleigh, NC