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Defense saves notices, derails libel measure while transparency reform fails in tough session

AUSTIN — Newspaper public notice survived serious attacks in the 85th Texas Legislature, and press interests fended off dangerous bills that would have made newsrooms more susceptible to libel suits.
Transparency legislation championed by the Texas Press Association and its allies did not fare as well, however. Most pro-transparency bills fell victim to a deeply divided legislature that fought bitterly over everything from sanctuary cities to tax reform to transgender bathroom access.

Analysis by Donnis Baggett, TPA executive vice president

6 tips for catching your writing mistakes (and protecting your credibility)

You, reporter/blogger, have been working on a story all day, and it’s deadline time. You hope your story’s free of typos and grammatical mistakes. But at this point, you’ve read it so many times, you fear you’ve missed something. No one is available to read behind you and it’s nearly time to hit “publish.”
A training session from NPR offers tips and exercises to bring out the “inner copy editor.”

Periodicals postage advertising standards, measurement

With the advent of the new Marked Copy Alternate Process, some corollary questions about advertising and non-advertising measurement have arisen.

Advertising measurement of newspapers is only required to compute higher, zoned pound rates on ad matter by distance outside the county, and allows lower, unzoned rates for all editorial matter. Rules concerning ad measurement are shared below, with updated citations from the U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual and Customer Support Rulings.

Stop killing your social stories with bad headlines and images

No matter how great your content is, if you don’t package it properly, few will read or share it. 
Writing a great headline and choosing a dynamic main image for every article matters more now than ever — on a crowded Facebook feed that’s already turning out link posts for video, you’re playing a zero-sum game for your audience’s attention. That headline and image are frequently all anybody’s going to look at.

Webinar: Building a strong service directory

A webinar to help newspapers develop a profitable service directory will be offered by Online Media Service on June 7.
“Building a Strong Service Directory to Increase Revenue” is scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, June 7. Registration fee is $35. The session will be recorded so that those who don’t have time in their schedule for the live event can access the recording and see it at their convenience.

Property Taxes 101: A primer for journalists

So the city you cover is considering raising property taxes and your editor wants a story today. If you’re like many journalists, you didn’t get a lot of training in college on municipal budgets. Journalist’s Resource offers some great information for writing about property taxes, what readers need to know about an impending increase in their property taxes and calculations for showing the impact on individual property owners.

FOI Foundation of Texas announces call for entries for Spirit of FOI Award

AUSTIN – The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is accepting entries for the 2017 Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award recognizing outstanding journalism exploring open government and the public’s right to know. The deadline for submission of entries is Thursday, May 18. The contest is open to newspapers, broadcast news organizations and online news media. Nominations must have been published or broadcast in calendar year 2016 and can be a single news story or series, an editorial or series of editorials, a column, an editorial cartoon or a community FOI project.

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Donna Burton
GROOM – Donna Burton, publisher of the Groom-McLean-Lefors News, died April 9. She was 61.
She was a member of the Texas Press Association and served as editor of the Groom News from 1990 to 2009, when she became the publisher and owner of the paper. 
A native of the area, she was active with the Girl Scouts as a local troop leader and council president. She also worked with youth as part of the Catholic Christian Mothers group.
She is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and other relatives.