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International Newspaper Group conference provides operations snapshot

After a nearly three-year COVID-related hiatus, newspaper industry executives gathered at the Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island, for an International Newspaper Group conference, Sept. 17-19. The conference provided a snapshot of the innovations, challenges and general state of newspaper operations in North America. Here are five takeaways from the event.

Reporting on prisons: Stories of life inside

Reporting on prisons in the United States can be challenging and often frustrating for even the most respected publications and seasoned journalists. It can't be approached like any other beat. The good news is that organizations are penetrating the confusing, dense veil of prison policies and prison life. And, they’re supporting prisoners who dare to write as incarcerated journalists and sharing tips with editors and journalists on the outside who want to report on prisons.
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The term “objectivity” is itself subjective. If you were to poll the public about their desire and demand for “objective” journalism, many might opine that reporters should stick to the “who, what, when, where and why” model — sans the “why” part. But the “why” is, after all, the essential context of the story, and without it, the public is less informed and not as inclined to read the bare-bones carcass of the story that remains. Of course, contemporary conversations about objectivity and fairness in reporting are much more nuanced and complex.
In the early days of the internet, a few early adopters were starting careers in the news industry and seeing opportunities in digital that their bosses did not fully understand. Today, digital pioneers have become the bosses. Those ahead of the digital movement — like Conan Gallaty, Lisa DeSisto, Grant Moise and Robert Granfeldt — saw their careers take shape in ways they never expected.
Louie Mullen owns over 30 weekly newspapers in small towns across seven states. “Every newspaper is run as an individual. It is a representation of that community. It’s more of an old-school style of running newspapers,” said Mullen, who is buying community newspapers across the country. And, his ownership style is hands-off.
Gaps in news coverage are spreading across the country. But even with this challenge, newsrooms are finding resources and innovative ways to save or even revive their storytelling capabilities. One example is partnerships between universities and media companies. This trend is especially prevalent in local newspapers, which are facing increasing newsroom layoffs as they struggle to survive.
Ryan Sorrell and his team at The Kansas City Defender rely on two methods to reach young people. First, they know that each social media platform has a different ethos, so they personalize content for each brand. Second, they have a broad content mix, blending hard news and culture stories with headlines such as “10 Best Black-Owned Restaurants.”
A report published by the Center for Media Engagement in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin shows how journalists can connect with stigmatized communities by using person-centered language. Caroline Murray, a senior research associate at the school and one of the authors, says this research is important because it demonstrates how journalists can better connect with the communities they cover.
Over the decades since, there have been dozens of cases of news people who turned to a life of politics. Richard Warner Carlson — known as Dick and father to one Tucker Carlson — famously quit TV news to pursue his political aspirations. Malcolm Stevenson (Steve) Forbes Jr. straddled the world of news and politics, including two bids for the Republican presidential nomination. Sarah Palin remarkably went from TV sports reporter to Alaska’s governor to vice presidential candidate. This year, she campaigned for Alaska’s House seat but lost to her Democrat opponent in the special election. The list goes on and on.
Jennifer Bertetto inherited a deadline the day she became the leader of Trib Total Media. She had two years to save the company. Bertetto was named Editor & Publisher’s 2022 Publisher of the Year at the #NewsMedia Business Summit in Harrisburg on Oct. 13, in part, for rescuing the southwestern Pennsylvania newspaper company from its swift plunge toward bankruptcy. In the process, she retained her commitment to her employees, community and journalism.
For the better part of 10 years, journalists have been told that paywalls are the future to funding a sustainable newsroom. Free is out, the funnel is in and pageviews matter a lot less than subscription conversions. What if there is another way? Well, journalists in Chicago are putting that to the test.
It’s one of the oldest stories of human endeavor: From the upheaval and uncertainty of established institutions — in this case, the newspaper industry — comes opportunity. Tony Mecia saw his chance after 11 years with The Charlotte Observer and another eight years as a freelancer writing for various publications. Today, that opportunity has become The Charlotte Ledger, a newsletter-based news product distributed by email.
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The Tuesday edition of the Carroll Times Herald was the final newspaper published by the Wilson and Burns families, the three-generation local owners of the publication for 93 years.
Analysis of media organizations and news stories shows underrepresentation across editorial leadership and coverage.
Registration for the Mega-Conference has begun!
After seeing continued growth in the number of paying members to its two subscription products, CNBC will begin testing a price increase for at least one of those subscriptions next year.
A judge in New York has ruled that a defamation case brought against NBCUniversal by former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California) can proceed.
The high-profile trial is slated to begin Thursday.
After Biden blocked Trump’s attempt to change decades-old definitions, we’re basically back to where we started.
At the end of October, Honolulu Civil Beat announced that it would host pop-up newsrooms at public libraries across the state, bringing groups of staffers to work from the libraries.
The fight against online disinformation is getting a boost thanks to a $3.8 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support Clemson University’s Media Forensics Hub at the Watt Family Innovation Center.
A former newspaper reporter in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been found guilty of murder in the killing of a banker nearly six years ago.
The U.S. government should end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.
Elon Musk on Monday fired off a series of tweets aimed at Apple for allegedly threatening "to withhold Twitter from its App Store" and for pulling most of its ad spend on Twitter.
Editors from the Guardian, Times, Mail, Telegraph, i, Sun and others have unified against SLAPPs.
The grant will establish a $12 million Global Fact Check Fund to support worldwide fact-checking initiatives through 2025.
Post wants to build a business around micropayments for news.
The Wall Street Journal is working in collaboration with the independent research companies Statista and College Pulse to create The Wall Street Journal / College Pulse Rankings.  
Irish regulators slapped Facebook parent Meta with a 265 million-euro ($277 million) fine Monday, the company’s latest punishment for breaching strict European Union data privacy rules.
Twitter will no longer enforce its COVID-19 misinformation policy, according to a note posted to its website.
The Diversity Pledge Institute at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (DPI) is hoping to raise $5,000 in order to expand its leadership development programs aimed at increasing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in newsrooms across the nation.
Nine media professionals share their strategies for growing and retaining audience.
Industry Partner News
In October 2022, Seawave Corporation, publisher of the Cape May County Herald in Rio Grande, New Jersey, signed a contract with SCS to implement the Community Advertising System to standardize and modernize its advertising and production workflows.
We're proud to announce that Column is now a certified B Corporation. Our certification establishes us amongst a small subset of public benefit corporations officially certified by the B Lab, a global nonprofit network committed to making all businesses a force for good. In our most recent blog, Melissa Theiss, head of people at Column, explains our certification, what a B Corp Score means and how we're committed to making an impact.
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the trading platform for journalism — Journexx — is launching its final test phase before opening its doors to the entire publishing industry.
STN Video has announced it will be powering video on PressReader’s Branded Editions platform, an innovative digital publishing SaaS solution for publishers wanting custom digital editions for the web, via apps, and as kiosks.
Today, Column announced that the Maine Press Association has joined their Partner Program as the first New England member.
We need your help in recognizing the next generation of news publishing leaders,. We’re talking about people who are young, bright, and capable of tackling whatever the changing news media climate throws at them. Please help us by nominating a news publishing up-and-comer (or yourself) for our “25 Under 35” feature story that will appear in our February 2023 issue.
It's going to be a rough year for local advertising in 2023. Borrell is forecasting that growth will be at a near-standstill, held back by a combination of economic pressures and a dramatic reshaping of the type of businesses now operating in each market. Borrell will unveil its forecasts and describe the change in business composition during a 45-minute webinar at 11 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Nov. 17. The webinar is free.
Mediahuis, an international media group with a range of powerful brands and activities in many European countries and Ireland's leading print and digital media publisher, reaches millions …
Times-Journal Inc, is a 150+ year old family-owned media company now in the hands of 3rd generation news publishers who are committed to serving local communities with award winning journalism and results driven advertising programs.  In short, there are no hedge-funds or corporate “bean counting downsizers” here to contend with. We are committed to a long-term future in this industry!  Located in the heart of Georgia’s most desirable markets, our communities are the ideal place to live, work and play. 
#NewsMedia Stocks of Interest
Newspeople
In her new role, Chelsey Dequaine-Jerabek will oversee all editorial aspects of VMG's publication websites and collaborate with team leaders to devise and implement social media and SEO traffic initiatives for audience growth and content partnerships.
Szu Yu Chen previously worked as a data journalist and graphics reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where she worked extensively on the midterms.
This is a newly created position that is part of The Washington Post’s expanded commitment to health and science reporting.
NPR has announced that after a comprehensive internal and external search, Eric Marrapodi will be the vice president for News Programming, effective immediately.
Maane Khatchatourian has joined the Los Angeles Times from Variety, where she has been one of the key architects of that site’s dramatic audience growth.
Lenny Bernstein is taking on a new role with The Washington Post on the Health and Science team exploring how the chase for profit in medicine undermines patient care.
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The Baltimore Banner today announced that it has tapped Sharon Nevins as chief revenue officer to lead a dynamic sales team for the startup local news publication. In her new role, Nevins will utilize her extensive relationships and deep sales and marketing experience to build out marketing solutions for their clients.
Dana Goldstein has a new beat measuring how Americans are living today and Vimal Patel joins the Education desk focusing on free speech issues.
Michael Coren is joining The Washington Post as the writer of “Climate Coach,” a new column and newsletter that will help readers navigate the choices they face when seeking to live a more climate- and environmentally friendly life.
Ana Campoy will oversee The Washington Post's Climate Solutions vertical and other climate reporters who focus on innovative storytelling and broadening the paper's audience.
Steve Hendrix is returning to the Local Enterprise team after three years as The Washington Post’s Jerusalem correspondent.
Industry Obits
Bruce Christensen, who led PBS from the mid-1980s to the early ’90s amid attacks on public TV for airing controversial documentaries, died Friday, Nov. 18, at his home in Orem, Utah. He was 79.
A memorial service for Stephen F. Bentley, former co-publisher of The Lawton (Oklahoma) Constitution, will be at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 1, in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
He composed many of George W. Bush’s signature addresses, and later, as a writer for The Washington Post, took a stand against Donald J. Trump.
Fred Hickman, a pioneering sports broadcaster and anchor who helped to launch two major cable networks and influenced and informed a generation of sports journalists and fans, has died.
Gary Martin, the Washington bureau chief for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has died.
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