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NYNPA produces two regular electronic newsletters: "In a New York Minute" is NYNPA's weekly e-newsletter containing NYNPA, member, and industry news, while the "NYNPA News Media Literacy/NIE News" is a monthly e-newsletter containing news related to the NYNPA and New York Newspapers Foundation's initiatives related to News Media Literacy and Newspapers In Education.

For Association news, see below.


November 9, 2019

Remembering Jerome Wilson
by NYNPA Executive Director, Diane KennedyJerry and Eleanor

Jerome L. Wilson, a former New York State Senator and prominent New York broadcast journalist who served as NYNPA’s legislative counsel for nearly 20 years, died in Essex, Connecticut on November 1 at age 88. He retired in 2007 but continued to follow our activities and was a strong supporter of our work until his very last days.

Jerry loved newspapers and was an enthusiastic and tireless advocate for legislation that would preserve the rights of the press. Jerry and I worked on legislation to enable litigants to sue for attorney fees following wrongful denials of access to public records, and to authorize audiovisual coverage of court proceedings. We also battled legislation to impose sales taxes on newspapers and advertising, to grant a post-mortem right of publicity to celebrities, to make driver records secret, and many more. Jerry and his wife Ulla attended many NYNPA conferences. I will miss his friendship, counsel and humor.

Jerry’s daughter Janet, herself a successful newspaper journalist, wrote his obituary:

With the backing of Eleanor Roosevelt, Wilson was first elected to the State Senate in 1962 at the age of 30 as a civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activist, who along with fellow reform Democrats was intent on replacing corrupt Tammany Hall incumbents. Sen. Wilson represented a district covering Yorkville, East Harlem and parts of Harlem for three terms, pushing rental housing reforms and affordable healthcare, in between street protests and marches.

But after learning from a Times editorial writer about interest in reforming the state's then "brutal" divorce law, Wilson, in his own words, wrote that, "From that day forward he became a champion in reforming New York State’s antiquated divorce law.”

In taking up this challenge, he soon discovered that 18th century statute sanctioned only one ground for divorce, adultery. Sen. Wilson also learned that this was especially unfair to women who had abusive husbands. Even if they were severely beaten, "this outrageous conduct was not grounds for divorce in New York State."

He harshly castigated the powerful lobbyist for the state's Roman Catholic bishop on the Senate floor, according to front-page coverage of the bill by the Times, drawing criticism from colleagues, but also, through a series of legislative maneuvers, eventually winning important changes. The modernized law allowed new grounds for the first time since 1787, the most important of which were physical and emotional cruelty. The law also permitted a “living apart” ground that permitted divorces without having to prove fault by either party.

At the urging of then Rep. Bella Abzug, Sen. Wilson ran as the Democratic-Liberal candidate for Congress in the 17th Congressional District, the so-called “Silk Stocking” District of Manhattan’s East Side, basing his campaign on his vocal opposition to the war in Vietnam. His campaign was endorsed by The Times. He lost the race to an incumbent Republican by fewer than a thousand votes. A Democrat named Ed Koch won the next election.

Following his election loss, Mr. Wilson became an on-air news correspondent for WCBS-TV, serving as the station’s political editor covering state and local politics. During this time, he attended night classes at the New York University School of Law and was admitted to the practice of law in 1971.

Mr. Wilson left WCBS to join the international law firm of Rogers & Wells, where for more than two decades, he represented a number of media organizations, including Newsday, The Associated Press, and the New York News Publishers Association. Mr. Wilson successfully lobbied for an experimental program allowing audio-visual coverage of court proceedings and the state Shield Law, which protects journalists from being forced to serve as witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Born in Washington, D.C. on July 16, 1931, Mr. Wilson was a graduate of Colgate University and served as a lieutenant in the United States Air Force, where he received the Commendation Ribbon for his work as an Information Services officer in postwar Germany.

Following his discharge from the Air Force in 1957, Mr. Wilson moved to New York City and was Assistant Public Relations Director of the National Urban League. He was active in the Democratic reform movement founded by Mrs. Roosevelt, served as President of the Yorkville Democratic Club, and as Chairman of Eastside Citizens for Kennedy in the 1960 Presidential Campaign.

He was appointed Assistant to Manhattan Borough President Edward R. Dudley, serving as press secretary until he was elected to the State Senate.

Wilson retired from the active practice of the law in 2008. He had learned to sail as a Boy Scout, and spent a happy 20 years sailing off the New England coastline. In retirement, he served on the Essex (CT) Library Association, and created the talk series "Essex at Sea." He authored four books of sonnets entitled “Sonnets After Shakespeare” and two collections of free verse entitled “Poetry of Current Events” and “Poetry for Adults.” He translated a collection of poems by the German Romantic poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

He wrote extensively about the European Union and was a regular contributor to the Shoreline Times and a number of online Connecticut news websites.

Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife, the former Ursula Anna Thron, and four daughters from his first marriage, Janet Wilson, a reporter for USA Today/The Desert Sun; Sarah Wilson, a partner at Covington & Burling; Marion Wilson, a successful New York artist and Emma Wilson, director of the Portland Art Gallery. Mr. Wilson is also survived by two stepsons, Christian Johnson, Windsor, CT financial director, and Dirk Johnson, professor of German literature at Hampton-Sydney College. He is also survived by six grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.  

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October 2, 2019

Bradley Waters named Sentinel publisher

Bradley R. Waters, 32, was named publisher of the family-owned Rome Sentinel newspapers today by company president and owner Stephen B. Waters who is stepping down from the position he has held since he succeeded his father, George in 1993. Stephen joined the Sentinel in 1974 and will continue to serve as president and editor.

Bradley Waters will be the sixth generation of the family to serve as publisher since Augustus C. Kessinger purchased the newspaper with his partner, Franklin B. Beers in 1864.

The publisher lineage since A. C. includes his son, Albert Remington Kessinger, Bradley C. Barnard, married to Albert and Margaret Everiss’ daughter Margaret, George B. Waters, married to Bradley and Margaret’s daughter, Shirley.

Since he joined the newspaper in 2010 as general manager, Brad Waters has been instrumental in expanding the base of the news business to include the Boonville Herald, the Clinton Record, and the printing of numerous weekly and special publications. He has added press color capacity, implemented direct computer-to-plate production, and streamlined the Sentinel online presence.

Stephen Waters said, “The newspaper and the community will be well-served by Brad’s skill set. My generation brought news production and accounting into the computer age, and brought the newspaper online in 1995, shortly after the World Wide Web was created. Brad’s generation has worked vigorously to reduce production costs, started online multimedia services, engaged readers more closely, and assured our place supplying reliable community news and services on multiple platforms.”

“The last 100 years of retail advertising supported 75 percent of the cost of delivering newspapers in print, Waters added, “but changes in retail require affordable electronic subscriptions to nurture community over the next 100 years. Local news has a great future.”

Brad Waters said, “It’s an honor to be called a sixth generation publisher, and with that comes great responsibility to the community and to our employees. We have a long road ahead, revenue models are changing, and we must change with it to continue our mission in bringing reliable community news to our area.

“Dad’s editing and writing will be a continued asset as he remains in the president and editor positions. He laid the building blocks to give this opportunity to me, and I hope to do the same for the seventh generation.”

Brad Waters graduated from St. John Fisher College in Rochester with a degree in Communications & Business. Brad played baseball and soccer at Fisher and advanced Fisher’s national award-winning newspaper and magazine.

Brad Waters is married to Westernville native Jenna Hubbard Waters, a nurse practitioner for Bassett Healthcare in Clinton.

Making the announcement, Stephen Waters acknowledged the long history of Sentinel community support.

A.C. Kessinger led the Sentinel from a weekly printed on a manual, single-sheet Washington press to a daily newspaper printed using newly invented Linotype machines and a Hoe cylindrical web letterpress at new offices at 136 N. James St.

Kessinger Dam was named after A. R. Kessinger who helped establish Rome’s plentiful water supply in 1909 and later served as Rome’s postmaster and mayor.

In the 1940s, Bradley Barnard established the WRUN-AM and WRUN-FM radio stations, championed building the RFA football stadium, and helped establish the Chamber of Commerce precursor to the Rome Industrial Development Corporation.

George Waters designed and built the new Sentinel offices at 333 W. Dominick St., advancing production to photocomposition and printing to offset lithography. He helped acquire the Rome Art and Community Center, build the new Jervis Library addition, and build additions to Rome Hospital.

Stephen Waters, an original member of Mohawk Valley EDGE and the Rome Hospital Foundation, helped computerize the Rome Chamber of Commerce.

Brad Waters follows in the footsteps of his predecessors as an active member of the community. He serves on the Oneida-Herkimer Community Foundation Board, and the boards of the Family-Y and Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. He also serves nationally on the Inland Press Association’s committee for family-owned newspapers.

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June 14, 2019

GOOGLE USES NEWS TO GENERATE REVENUE WHILE LEAVING PUBLISHERS OUT IN THE COLD

Sample Op-Ed from News Media Alliance

The American public consumes more news than ever, with more than 200 million unique visitors consuming digital news each month. However, the economics of that consumption will not sustain the investments needed for quality journalism. The news industry has seen revenues drop 54 percent since 2006, according to research from Pew. The rise of the tech platforms and their dominance of online content has played a major role in this trend.

Although many may claim that the two trends are unrelated and that the news industry has not adapted to digital distribution, a new study, containing analysis conducted by experts at strategy and economics consulting firm Keystone Strategy and written by the News Media Alliance, illustrates that the news industry’s loss has been directly impacted by Google’s gain.

According to the study, news content has produced significant financial returns for Google:

  • 39 percent of search results and 40 percent of clicks on trending queries are news content;

  • 16 percent of results and clicks on the “most searched” queries are news results;

  • In 2008, Google News generated approximately $100 million to the company;

  • Based on News Media Alliance members’ traffic, news consumption on Google Search is at least six times larger than on Google News;

  • Taken together, Google made an estimated $4.7 billion in revenue from news content in 2018; this is a conservative estimate, with the actual number likely being considerably higher.

This estimate is conservative and the true value of news content is likely much higher for several reasons that are difficult or impossible to quantify. Not only is Google driving Search with news, but the company is using news content for product development, such as training its artificial intelligence services, in order to keep users in the Google ecosystem. The additional uses of news content as drivers of engagement are also potentially serious drivers of data and revenue for the platform.

Most notably, AMP (accelerated mobile pages) and the addition of a “Breaking News” category on YouTube have made it possible for people to indulge in all the news content they want without ever going to a publisher’s website. As a result, publishers are losing ad revenue, brand recognition and valuable data that could help them build stronger relationships with their readers. Google, on the other hand, is generating more traffic and user data that they can use to keep consumers in their ecosystem for even longer periods of time.

As with any business, in order to survive, news publishers need to be able to make money from their own product, which can be reinvested in reporting. While information wants to be free, journalists need to get paid. This requires finding common rules for a fair and equitable online ecosystem that allows publishers to thrive and maintain the quality of their content that readers expect.

This is not only essential for the future of journalism, but helps ensure an informed democracy and civic society. Our local communities and public discourse rely on the availability of and access to high-quality news that keeps our decisionmakers accountable. News deserts are a growing concern, leaving many communities without access to local news. Local news publishers’ health and sustainability – and that of our democracy – requires the platforms to acknowledge their role and to engage with publishers to create a more just digital marketplace.  

 

May 10, 2019

ErniePyleThe 75th anniversary of D-Day is an appropriate time for us to recall the sacrifices made by those serving and who had served in our Armed Forces.

To mark this occasion, the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana, Indiana, and Scripps Howard Foundation offer this reprint of three columns written by Ernie Pyle immediately after the Normandy invasion. It’s a reminder to all of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many Americans to maintain the freedoms we enjoy.

Below are links to a few of Pyle's articles and several images. More of Ernie Pyles work can be found and donations can be made to preserve it at Ernie Pyle World War II Museum website at www.erniepyle.org.

JPG Images - Ernie Pyle with Typewriter, 1944, Ernie Pyle Mugshot 1, Ernie Pyle Mugshot 2 and Ernie Pyle with Tank, 1944

Articles:

Background info and Ernie Pyle Bio

The Horrible Waste of War column

A Pure Miracle column

A Long Thin Line of Personal Anguish column

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February 7, 2019

Issues of Interest to Newspapers in Governor Cuomo’s 2019 Proposed Budget

Diane Kennedy, President

The Governor’s budget proposal, as always, contains a wide array of policy proposals that go beyond fiscal matters. The budget documents consist of Appropriations bills, which do contain (primarily) detailed descriptions of state revenues and expenditures, and Article VII bills, which are introduced in accordance with Article VII of the state Constitution, and which contain policy proposals. This year’s budget contains some proposals which have been introduced year after year, and some which are new. The budget is due to be passed by April 1.


I.          Elimination of Newspaper Paid Legal Notice Advertising of Public Works Bid Notices
Every year, the Governor proposes legislation to scale back or eliminate paid newspaper public notices. A recurring proposal pertains to notice of bid opportunities on infrastructure work. Current law requires most state agencies and local governments to place paid newspaper legal notices seeking bidders on proposed public works contracts. In recent years, the Governor has expanded the list of agencies authorized to use alternate methods of performing public works projects that consolidate the entire process under one private contractor. Contractors are selected from a list the state develops through “publicly advertised” requests for applications. To date, those requests have often been published in newspapers, but the legislation does not specifically require it.

The Transportation Economic Development Article VII bill (S.1508/A2008) expands the 2011 Infrastructure Investment Act, which authorized a pilot project enabling a handful of state agencies to use a variety of alternate contracting methods for large projects such as the Tappan Zee Bridge, rather than the traditional “design-bid-build” method of issuing contracts for public works. If enacted, the budget would add the Dormitory Authority, Urban Development Corporation, Department of Health, Office of General Services and Olympic Regional Development Agency to the list of authorized entities, and would add a variety of alternate project delivery methods to the existing design-build and best-value methods. Current law applies to highways and bridges, and this legislation adds public buildings. The threshold for using an alternate project design method would be lowered from $5 million to $1.2 million.
The Legislature has significantly scaled back the scope of these proposals in recent years. It remains to be seen whether the Assembly and the new Democratic Senate Majority will push to limit the application of the legislation. The Legislature has very little actual power to alter the Governor’s budget proposal.

II.         Freedom of Information Law Amendments
            1) Amendments to FOIL would discourage law enforcement agencies from publicly disclosing the identity of persons who have been arrested. Part II of the Public Protection General Government Article VII bill (A.2005/S.1505) would add disclosure of booking information and mug shots to the list of information for which disclosure is considered an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” The legislation does not forbid disclosure by police agencies, although the preamble to the actual bill text claims it would. However, the addition of this language to FOIL could make it more difficult for news organizations to litigate FOIL cases involving arrests, and could make it easier for police agencies to conceal arrests of fellow law enforcement officers or politically powerful individuals.

            2) Another proposal returning from previous years is found in Part BB of the Public Protection General Government bill. The legislation would subject the New York State Legislature to the same section of FOIL which governs state and local agencies. Currently, the Legislature is subject to Sec. 88 of Public Officers Law, which includes a list of the types of documents the Legislature must make publicly available. Shifting the Legislature to the executive section of FOIL would make most records available, with exceptions for personal privacy. Some new records which might become available could include legislators’ schedules and some non-personal correspondence. Nearly all other records are currently public.
The same section of the bill would allow for disclosure of proposed terms of collective bargaining agreements involving public employee unions.

Records pertaining to “critical infrastructure” could also be kept secret if disclosure might endanger the life of any person.

Records deemed to be of significant interest to the public would be proactively disclosed on the website of the respective house of the legislature and all agencies.

Businesses seeking to have information they provide to state government shielded from public disclosure as trade secrets would need to identify in detail which portions of records they believe should be secret, and would need to periodically reapply for permission to have the documents shielded from disclosure. Appeals would be expedited.

Records of call to county E-911 lines would no longer be exempt from FOIL.

There is one major difference this year, in that the proposals are contained within a bill that is an integral and necessary part of the budget, and which the Legislature has very little power to alter. In earlier years, it was contained in a standalone bill that was never brought up for a vote.

            3) Maternal Mortality Review Board
The Health and Mental Hygiene Article VII bill Part R (p. 187) sets up one or more Maternal Mortality Review Boards within the state Department of Health. Presumably, the initiative was prompted by investigative reporting by The New York Times revealing an alarming increase in childbirth-related deaths of women in the United States. Although data provided by the Commissioner of the Department of Health to the Maternal Mortality Review Board will be scrubbed of any information that would identify the woman, any doctor or hospital or even geographic location, the Board is specifically exempt from FOIL and the Open Meetings Law. Instead, it will issue a public report. Confusingly, the legislation also references an advisory council within the Department of Health to review the findings of the Maternal Mortality Review Board, which will develop policies based on the findings, and there is no language indicating whether the advisory board will be subject to FOIL or OML.

III.       Plastic Bag Ban
Part H of the Transportation Economic Development bill (A.2008/S.1508) bans the use of plastic carryout bags, but specifically exempts from the ban plastic bags that are used in newspaper home delivery.

IV.      Enhanced Criminal Penalties for Assaulting a Journalist
The Public Protection General Governor bill, Part V, would enact enhanced criminal penalties for anyone who physically assaults a working journalist, amending a section of law which applies to a list of public and private employees, including  transit workers, school crossing guards, and health care workers.

V.        Advertising
The Education Labor and Family Assistance Article VII bill (A.2006/S.1506) adds the newly protected categories of gender identity to laws which prohibit discrimination in advertising for housing, employment and places of public accommodation. Advertisers would also be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of  a person’s “lawful source of income,” which presumably refers to public assistance.

The legislation also seeks to eliminate unscrupulous consultants who falsely claim to be able to assist military veterans in obtaining benefits, and imposes disclosure language on any advertising promising assistance in exchange for payments.

All of these bills are available for review on the websites of the Assembly and Senate, as well as the New York State Division of the Budget.

New York News Publishers Association, Inc.
Phone/Fax (518) 449-1667 - Toll-free: (800) 777-1667

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