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.

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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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Concerns rise that ‘big media’ problems affect local media too

By Al Cross

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Al Cross

Trust in “the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio” in polls taken by the Gallup Organization was at 32 percent last year, the lowest ever – and was significantly lower than the 40 percent recorded in 2015. Rural newspapers have often presumed that such trends don’t affect them, because they’re in closer touch with smaller communities, where readers know the people at the paper. That is not as safe an assumption as it once was, based on some events, trends and issues we’ve reported lately in The Rural Blog.

For example, a Feb. 5-6 Emerson College poll of registered voters, weighted to reflect turnout in the 2016 election, found them evenly divided about the Trump administration’s truthfulness, but by 53 to 39 percent, they considered the news media untruthful.

The Pew Research Center found in early 2016 that there was little difference in the trust of local and national news outlets. About 22 percent of Americans said they trust local news outlets a lot, and 18 percent said that of national news sources. Recently, rural and community journalists have voiced concern that the attacks on “big media” are hurting “little media,” too.

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Requiem for a Ranger

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he does himself.” — Josh Billings

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Ray Mosby

ROLLING FORK — I was going through some old papers last weekend when I came across something that figuratively knocked the wind out of me. Almost exactly 11 years ago this week, I lost a dear friend and memories of him flooded across my mind like a ship’s deck awash in an intemperate sea.

There’s a picture on my wall of my grandson when he was 10 or so, sitting on my deck, and behind him in the chair, head resting on his shoulder, is the great big, beautiful, stupid old Golden Retriever that dwarfed him both in that photo and in real life.

I felt anew the not properly describable ache that we humans associate with loss and the sometimes stereo system of my mind chose to play perhaps the best lyric from “Mr. Bojangles” that was appropriately perfect: “…his dog up and died. Yeah, up and died. After 20 years he still grieves.”

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Calculating your best revenue area for new subscribers

By Lewis Floyd

Floyd, Lewis
Lewis Floyd

There was a time we went after circulation at “damn the expense – full subscriptions ahead.” The understanding was the cost of delivery was offset by ad revenue. Then advertisers decided that “all circulation was not equal.” As more advertisers came to this conclusion, ads or inserts declined as they were specified for areas the advertiser believed worked best for them.

As revenue declined, expenses were cut. In some cases publications pulled out of areas not generating ad revenue; in other cases subscribers quit from a lack of advertising or due to things they liked being removed from the publication.

In response to these declines, publications cut more expenses, increased subscription rates, and the circle began again with more cutbacks from advertisers. This is a cycle we must stop to survive, so how do we go about it?

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