Tour illustrates challenges in Delta even after 50 years

By David Hampton

Hampton, David
David Hampton

Given the facts and the right information, people will do the right thing.

I have often said this in speaking to students about the importance of good journalism — reporting that examines and analyzes and helps people reach logical and helpful solutions to the problems we all face. Yes, we differ, we debate, we filter things through our political leanings, but if we look at the facts and we keep our eyes on common goals, we can find solutions.

That’s a pretty basic belief that underlies our democracy. We believe most people will support what is best for the common good. Don’t we?

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Politely refuting the ‘liberal bias’ label

By Al Cross

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Al Cross

Last month I shared the story of a community newspaper editor who showed an effective way to respond to concerns of readers, often not politely expressed, that his newspaper was liberally biased. Brian Hunt of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin is an experienced editor, but an intern at a Kentucky weekly newspaper took a very similar approach in a manner that was just as professional. Here’s an adapted version of our report on The Rural Blog:

Josh Qualls was having difficulty finding a source to help him explain how the House health-insurance bill might affect seniors on Medicaid in Lincoln County, Kentucky, where he recently completed a summer internship with The Interior Journal in Stanford. So he went to the Boone Newspapers weekly’s Facebook page.

“The very first response echoed some of the most disheartening, gut-wrenching rhetoric we’ve seen directed toward journalists in recent months. Its author offered a scathing indictment of the news media and accused us of being liberally biased,” Qualls wrote in his intern report to the Kentucky Press Association, relying on memory because the poster had deleted the post. “She talked about how much ‘Obamacare’ didn’t help her health-hindered family, so I saw a way to connect with her.”

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More newspapers found in violation of ’75 percent ad rule’

By Max Heath

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Max Heath

There’s been an uptick in recent years of newspapers found in violation of the 75 percent advertising rule, which prohibits Periodicals from running more than 75 percent advertising percentage in more than half the issues in a 12-month period.

The exact wording of the rule is in DMM 707.6.1.3: “General publications primarily designed for advertising purposes do not qualify for Periodicals mailing privileges, including publications that: a. Contain more than 75 percent advertising in more than half of the issues published during any 12-month period.

Requester publications cannot exceed 75 percent advertising in more than 25 percent of their issues.

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CJR article errs in assessment of public notice, newspapers

By Richard Karpel

Karpel, Richard
Richard Karpel

In a recent article in Columbia Journalism Review, Liena Zagare and Ben Smith argue that local governments should move public notice and other civic advertising from newspapers to local-news websites like their own BKLYNER.

To buttress their case, they claim that a newspaper in their borough, the Brooklyn Eagle, recently had “three of its 12 pages entirely covered” by advertising designed to “make sure taxpayers see how their money is being spent, and to prevent officials from hiding corrupt deals.” But those three pages of advertising in the Eagle were placed by law firms, not public officials. And its purpose was to provide official notice of courtroom process, not public spending. That’s a pretty glaring mistake. Surely, CJR would want to correct the record, right?

We thought so too, but CJR disagrees.

However, we’re less interested in CJR’s editorial policy than in what the mistake illustrates about the authors’ understanding of public notice: It is sorely lacking. And people who write about subjects they know little about tend to spread misinformation, which is what Zagare and Smith have done.

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Newspapers can learn from fate closing in on retail giants

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

Retail disruption is the preoccupation du jour for financial analysts, business reporters and a large slice of the public at large that suddenly finds itself increasingly relying on Alexa to handle shopping for paper towels and underwear.

Kmart’s been struggling for a long time now. Stock prices for Kroger took a beating last week on news Amazon was buying Whole Foods. But perhaps no giant of retail better exemplifies the struggles of adaption than Sears.

From its beginnings in the 19th Century, Sears Roebuck and Co. was a precursor of sorts to e-commerce. Its massive catalogs were the stuff of which dreams were made – from the latest in fashion, to a desperately needed set of tires, to all those Star Wars action figures that were at the top of so many Christmas lists.

At one point in its history, Sears even sold prefabricated houses. Order the one you wanted, and a team soon arrived on your property to set up shop – I mean house.

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New law on liquor ads takes effect July 1

By John C. Henegan Sr.

2016 henegan, john
John Henegan

In the exercise of its powers under the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, the State Legislature recently amended the state law regulating liquor advertising and signage, Miss. Code § 67-1-85 (2016).

Under the current law it is unlawful for a newspaper in a “dry” municipality, county, or judicial district to publish liquor advertising even if the advertising only appears in papers only distributed in a “wet” municipality, county, or judicial district.

The title to S.B. No. 2345 sums up the change:  The new law “DELETE[S] THE PROVISION THAT MAKES IT UNLAWFUL FOR ANY ADVERTISEMENT OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES TO ORIGINATE IN ANY MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY OR JUDICIAL DISTRICT WHICH HAS NOT VOTED TO LEGALIZE THE SALE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES . . . .”

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Secrecy abounds in selection process of university leaders

By Jimmie Gates
The Clarion-Ledger

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Jimmie Gates

I have a keen interest in who becomes the next president of Jackson State University.

I’m an alumni of JSU and believe historic black colleges and universities serve a vital role in higher education.

The next president selected will be JSU’s 11th permanent president.

I can’t tell the state College Board who to select, but I know that we need stable, good leadership at the flagship historic black college in Mississippi.

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