A Busy Exec Gets Busier p.

By: George Garneau Cox Newspapers president takes on additional duties as president of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association sp.

BUT FOR 11 years at the Dayton Daily News, David Easterly came to life, grew up, studied and spent most of his career in the South, from his first newspaper job at the Denison (Texas) Herald to the presidency of Cox Newspapers, based in Atlanta.
So it's appropriate that after 30 years of newspapering ? on both sides of the divide between journalism and business, Easterly, 51, should take over as president of the Atlanta-based Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
A decidedly low-key kind of guy, the stocky, plain-talking pipe-smoker has developed a reputation as one of the more farsighted executives in newspapers. Nearly single-handedly, he is bulldozing an access road for newspapers onto the nation's information superhighway.
Cox Newspapers, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., is working with BellSouth Corp. and Prodigy Services Co. to provide a combination of newspaper classified ads and Yellow Pages in a single electronic advertising service. The jointly operated company owned by Cox and BellSouth has invited newspapers throughout the South to join.
When he took the SNPA gavel Nov. 17 at the group's 90th annual convention at the sumptious Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida, he took charge of one of the more stable of the nation's leading newspaper groups.
The SNPA's record high membership of 450 dailies, 80% of which don't belong to a national newspaper group, includes nearly every Southern daily.
Thanks to its expanding roster and record attendance at the 20 to 25 conferences and seminars sponsored each year by the SNPA and SNPA Foundation, the association has not raised dues in 15 years. Its staff of seven full- and two part-time employees is supported by the association's and foundation's combined annual budget of about $1 million.
In contrast to his efforts to make Cox, which owns 18 dailies, a leading player in the electronic information marketplace, Easterly plans no such trailblazing at the helm of the staid SNPA.
Instead, "blocking and tackling" are the marching orders for his tenure ? his way of saying the SNPA will stick to its basic tasks in professional training, literacy and diversity. The programs already are good, he said. He just wants to make them better. "It's kind of, If it ain't broke, don't go too far out of your way to fix it," he said, reflecting views characteristic of incoming SNPA presidents. "I want to just keep my head down and keep on keepin' on."
Easterly plans to support the Newspaper Network actively. A one order/ one bill buying system operated by McClatchy Newspapers Inc., it allows advertisers to place preprinted ad inserts in newspapers throughout the country. The network has worked with more than 300 papers, mainly in the West. In October, it took over the Florida Newspaper Advertising Network's 20 papers and recently opened an Atlanta office to handle expanding business in the Southeast.
Easterly said he particularly is proud that a program that he helped start several years ago as chairman of the SNPA's minorities committee will bear its first fruit this year, when three minority students are scheduled to graduate from college four years after receiving SNPA Foundation scholarships.
"It's been kind of a pet project of mine," he said.
The Adopt-A-Student program provides talented members of minority groups who have an interest in journalism with $1,000-a-year scholarships. Students also get $2,000 a year in scholarships from their local daily newspapers, where they work as interns.
After four years, no students have dropped out, Easterly said. The SNPA Foundation plans to offer scholarships to three more college-bound students this year, on recommendations from member newspapers.
The program received high praises at the SNPA convention from Latasha Gethers, a black woman who plans to graduate from the University of Florida in the spring after working three summers as a news assistant and reporter at the Miami Herald.
Except for an executive conference that will deal with telecommunications issues, Easterly said the SNPA will give the subject no special emphasis during his tenure.
But SNPA executive director Reg Ivory said Easterly's telecommunications expertise is a major asset.
? (David Easterly) [Photo]


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