Curley Plans Continuity p. 16

By: DEBRA GERSH HERNANDEZ DURING THE CHANGES in the Newspaper Association of America this year ? and the ones to come ? NAA officials have stressed the importance of continuity.
Incoming NAA chairman John J. Curley, president, chairman and CEO of Gannett Co. Inc., plans during his term to continue with the visioning process already in place.
"I have a view of the organization that the president, in this case John Sturm, runs it. The board, like other boards, reviews, goes over the issues, supervises when required, makes sure the funding is there, and stays out of the way," Curley said. "I think John and his staff know the goals and carry them out.
"I just think my philosophy is, John and the key executives and staff run it based on goals. We can't have a stop-and-go policy. It has got to transcend time," he said. "We have to lock in on a visioning plan and keep it growing, rather than change from year to year."
Although the nature of policy issues lends itself to continual change, Curley cited the importance of membership input and the need for the chairman not to transform NAA policy himself.
It was the "visioning process" ? led by Curley's predecessor, Uzal H. Martz Jr., president and publisher of the Pottsville (Pa.) Republican ? that Curley said formed the "basis for where NAA staff spends its time and money."
"Last year was the first full year to focus on the realigned goals and the need to build on them and keep going," Curley said.
Citing the strength of NAA's marketing and government affairs activities, Curley noted, "One thing NAA needs to be forceful and on top of is stressing the fact that the members must keep making strides in minority promotion and hiring."
While he noted that process "is individual, newspaper by newspaper," Curley added that, "NAA needs to keep making that point. It is good business and it is fair."
Further, Curley believes he is taking over the chairmanship of a vital industry, not one that is a failing dinosaur, as some have called it.
"I think the newspaper industry is in better shape than reports would indicate," he said.
"In virtually every market, newspapers do have as readers the folks who advertisers want: People with good demos [demographics], good education, people interested in government ? we get about 80% of those people. No other kind of media can say that.
"Sometimes we don't stress that enough on a national scale," Curley added.
"While circulation may be sideways, the pass-along rate continues to rise," he explained. "There are more people in households where both go to work. As a result, people buy more single copy papers, sit in [coffee shops or elsewhere] and read. It's a part of their morning or even lunch hour. Our readership is continuing to increase.
"For that reason, we are able to convince advertisers that we are doing well. People are reading the paper," Curley said.
Curley suggested the industry overcome talking only about circulation and promote what it has.
But rather than charge NAA with undertaking a national promotion campaign, Curley said newspapers would be better served to use their own demographics and pitch their own space.
"You know what you want to sell," he said. "If you get into a generic campaign, you only promote a concept, not what you specifically are doing well. Each newspaper has its own nuances and targets. We do have a decent story to tell."
In addition to the business and policy sides of the industry, Curley said newspapers also must examine the reporting.
"I think that with the press freedom, we have to continue to be responsible in the reporting context," he said. "Sometimes reporters get a little sloppy, careless.
Incoming Newspaper
Association of America chairman John Curley says he'll proceed with the organization's visioning process, but offers some advice
of his own "Remember, a lot of people know what's happened. They've seen it. People want to see reporting in context," he said, noting that sportswriters "always have to do that" because so many people already have watched the event.
"When you get into the political arena or reports of government actions, there are fewer witnesses."
Further, Curley thinks, "Sometimes the anonymous source is overdone. That's fine if you've really, really got something that you've got to put forward," he said. But, "I've seen anonymous sources for things that are public. We need to get tougher and stand up behind this."
?("One thing NAA needs to be forceful and on top of is stressing the fact that the members must keep making strides in minority promotion and
hiring.") [Caption]
?( ? John Curley, incoming NAA chairman and president, chairman and CEO
of Gannett Co.) [Photo & Caption]


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