Local Journalism Sustainability Act
Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.”
Wick Communications is a family-owned community media company with newspapers, websites, magazines and specialty publications in 11 states, including Louisiana where it has published The Daily Iberian (New Iberia) for more than 50 years.
Francis Wick is currently the company’s CEO, operating out of its headquarters in Sierra Vista, Arizona. He worked a couple of years at The Daily Iberian when he was still new to the newspaper business, while I was publisher of that newspaper.
Francis had an idea where communities and the federal government could provide some extra support for community newspapers, to help them continue their important work in the communities they serve, and help avoid more news deserts – communities that are no longer served by a local newspaper.
Francis’ idea reminded me of that quote from Einstein about seeing the same old thing but having a new thought.
His idea is now being considered by Congress, with a bill that would accomplish much of what Francis envisioned.
Francis asked recently to have LPA make sure its members knew about this bill and the potential benefits it could offer community newspapers, if approved. Francis’ idea was to seek tax breaks, not for newspaper publishers, but for a newspapers’ advertisers, subscribers and to help support the payroll of its journalists.
The idea has found support in Congress where it is called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (HR 7640). Those in the newspaper business, and others who support newspapers, are asked to contact representatives in the Senate and House to urge support of HR 7640.
Click here to see an Editor and Publisher podcast with Francis on the America’s Newspapers website that tells more about his idea and why he thinks it worth your support, along with an overview of the proposal and what it’s about, some talking points, editorials supporting the bill and more. It is a creative idea and might provide some benefits to community newspapers. Check it out.
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Search for new director
The LPA board set up a search committee to oversee the effort to find a new executive director, following my announcement last month that I am retiring.
The committee is comprised of Sam Hanna, Jr., board president; Mary Terry, president-elect; McHugh David, secretary-treasurer; and board members Darrell Guillory, Dan Shea and Norris Babin.
More than 40 people submitted resumes and other information about themselves, asking to be considered. The committee reviewed those applicants and narrowed its focus to a smaller number who were interviewed by video conference last week.
The committee now has identified its finalists, one of whom presumably will be the next director.
The efforts of the search committee members are significant, on top of their regular volunteer duties as an LPA board member or officer, on top of their duties with their own newspapers, on top of their personal responsibilities. The video conference interviews alone took several hours, plus there has been significant discussion and plenty of email exchanges.
I am confident the committee will select a well-qualified candidate who is a good fit with LPA and its members.
I mention this effort, not only to give you a bit of an overview of where things are with the search, but to remind you of the significant contributions to LPA and Louisiana’s newspapers that your board members continue to make, on this search effort, on monitoring legislative and legal issues, and on other efforts that benefit LPA members and others.
Will Chapman is the executive director of LPA. He worked in the newspaper industry, at various times in most every aspect of the business. He’s a past president of LPA following his father and grandfather who also held that office. Email him at email@example.com, or call him at 225-344-9309 (ext 108).