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Welcome to the official blog of the British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA).

We look forward to sharing stories from across our network of news providers, as well as articles, links, and announcements from industry friends everywhere. Be sure to check this space often for BCYCNA updates, and to offer your feedback on community newspapers!

Dead at Deadline! Emergencies are just part of the game in our business

Published on August 25, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

By Kevin Slimp

The News Guru

Kevin@kevinslimp.com

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In retrospect, I love the email subject line: “Dead at deadline.”

The email came to me at 6:15 last night, just as I was getting ready to take my two teenagers out for dinner. It was from Joe, a publisher at a small weekly who, like many newspaper publishers, has become my good friend over the past 20 years.

Before I tell you more about the email, let’s step back in time to yesterday afternoon when I mentioned to some folks in my office that I needed to come up with a topic for today’s column. A couple of ideas were tossed around when, finally, I said, “Don’t worry. Something will come up. It always does.”

I just didn’t know that “something” would be my friend, Joe. I threw the Xbox remote to my daughter and said, “Take Zach on in a game of Tetris while I make a phone call.”

After a few rings, Joe was on the other end of the line. It’s funny how, after being in this business for so long, things like this don’t seem nearly as frantic as they once did. We’ve all faced crises at deadlines, and we’ve all lived to tell the tale. But this was a tough one.

Seems there was a big storm yesterday that knocked out the power at Joe’s paper for a while. When the lights came back on, Joe and his staff opened InDesign to finish laying out the pages. That’s when the problem arose.

As Joe went to open the InDesign file he had been working on before the storm, the words “Cannot place this file. No filter found for requested operation” popped up on the screen. It might as well have said, “Danger, Will Robinson,” because, just as in the old TV series “Lost in Space,” Joe had a major problem on his hands.

He was, as he so eloquently penned, “Dead at deadline.”

After a couple of decades as a consultant, I’ve learned a few important skills that help at times like these. The most important task at deadline is to get the paper out. Figuring out the exact cause of the problem can come later.

Once, while training the staff at The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, a pressman ran into the room shouting, “We need you now!”

It seems the plates were on the press, it was a few minutes past deadline, and there was one page that wouldn’t go through the RIP (the processor that sends the files to the platemaker). We could have spent precious time trying to determine the cause of the problem. But no one was very interested in the cause. They just needed a plate. I made some adjustments to the PDF, sent it to the RIP, and we figured out the cause of the problem later.

Back to Joe’s problem. We could figure out the cause of the issue later. Right now, we just needed to get those ads on his pages so the PDFs could go to the printer.

The first course of action is to get the easy stuff out of the way. After learning he had already tried restarting the computer, I suggested he go ahead and try creating PDFs from the pages, even though it was doubtful they could be used.

He did. And they couldn’t be used. All of the ads were pixilated throughout the pages.

Next, since it seemed like an InDesign filter problem, I walked Joe through creating a “package” of the InDesign file, which he then sent to another computer. It was doubtful that two computers would have the same filter missing in InDesign.

You guessed it. When he opened the InDesign file on the other computer, Joe saw the same dire warning on the screen, “Cannot place this file. No filter found for requested operation.”

What were the chances that two different computers would lose the same filter during a thunderstorm?

This had all taken place within about 15 minutes. My next idea was to walk Joe through the art of creating a Photoshop “action” that would take each of his ads and convert them to another format, perhaps TIFF or JPG.

That’s when things got really interesting. Photoshop could not open the files. You guessed it. A different warning appeared, letting Joe know that the files were corrupt.

I know what you’re thinking. What about the backup files? None. What about Time Machine (a built-in function on all Macs since 2008 that periodically “remembers” everything done on a computer and saves it for future use)? Joe’s staff was working on Windows-based computers, so there was no Time Machine.

It wasn’t the time for a lecture on backing up. It was deadline. And by now, 30 minutes had passed.

I asked Joe if he had the original InDesign files in which the ads were created. He did. I thought for a moment about replacing the original links with the InDesign files (you can place an InDesign file on another InDesign document), but there was too great a risk of font and link issues within those files.

Finally, I told Joe he had two choices. The first was to go with the pixilated PDF he was able to create. The second option, I explained, was to open each InDesign ad file, export them as PDF files, then hope for the best. Joe decided on the second option.

At 9:29, I received this message from Joe: “It will truly be a good night, thanks to you. Paper transferred to printer with no errors. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Sorry I interrupted your dinner with the kids. Will look forward to winter convention and dinner.”

Yes, the kids and I did have dinner. I did most of my work with Joe while we drove to and from Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant. On the way to the restaurant, I apologized to my kids for being on the phone during the drive.

My daughter, who doesn’t miss much, remarked, “I noticed you were taking the long way to Abuelo’s.”

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Elections Laws and Canadian Newspapers

Published on August 25, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

We sent out an e-blast about election regulations and advertising earlier this month, but we thought we’d include it in the August newsletter just in case you missed it.

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper dropped the writ – or asked Governor General David Johnston to dissolve Parliament – on August 2.

That means Canada is heading into the longest federal election campaign in recent history.

But what impact will this political marathon have on community newspapers and advertisers?

Newspapers Canada has put together a list of frequently asked questions to ensure papers understand election laws, so we thought we would share this helpful information with BCYCNA members.

The list covers advertising blackout periods, special authorization, rates for candidates and political parties, interest group restrictions and the publishing of official and unofficial opinion polls.

For more information about election advertising, please also consult p.30-32 of the BCYCNA Media Guide.

Note: Login information for the Media Guide was emailed to publishers on July 21. If you need your login information, please contact us at 1-866-669-9222 or info@bccommunitynews.com.

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Bob Groeneveld Retires:Langley Legend’s Byline Still Lights the Advance Ablaze with Humour

Published on August 25, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

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Bob Groeneveld retired in May, but his humour and byline won’t be disappearing into the archives any time soon.

The former editor of the Langley Advance and the Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows Times passed the torch to long-time community journalist Roxanne Hooper, but he continues to offer insights through his “Odd Thoughts” column in the Langley Advance.

“I’m finding retiring to be a difficult bit of work,” Groeneveld wrote in his column in May. “It was not easy finding the ‘off’ switch. Instead, it seems I am powered through a dimmer switch.”

Since his retirement, Groeneveld has covered some interesting issues with his usual wit – from BC’s wildfires to fears and phobias and the idea of forming a new federal party – the Canadian Return to Access Party or C.R.A.P for short.

“From now on, at least for the time being, penning my Odd Thoughts constitutes a week’s work,” Groeneveld wrote. “I am now committed to spending a hard hour or so every week at my keyboard (sometimes – but rarely – as little as 20 minutes, if the muse is hot).”

He added that his column is a way to satisfy the “plaintive cries of readers who professed they would be lost without [his] maundering thoughts to guide them through harder bits of life’s little bumps and turns.” However, he also admitted it might be a way to satisfy his writer’s ego.

Groeneveld worked in community news in BC for 38 years, starting as a reporter with the Advance and then moving to editing positions in the 1980s.

He plans to use his newfound spare time to focus on gardening and playing the guitar and saxophone.

Groeneveld also praised his successor – who has been working in community news since age 15.

“Roxanne brings a lot of experience and goodwill to the position,” he said. “I’m confident that all of our readers will appreciate the commitment that she has to community service.”

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Journalism More a Calling than a Career: Frank Bucholtz Retires…but Only for One Day

Published on July 29, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

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Frank Bucholtz, longtime Langley Times editor, may have retired at the end of June, but he shows no sign of hanging up his sense of journalistic curiosity.

Bucholtz’s career in BC community news spanned 37 years, the last 17 of which were spent making his mark on stories as editor of the Times.

“I wish to thank the people in Langley who make putting out a community newspaper and news website so fascinating,” Bucholtz wrote in a farewell piece in early July. “Langley has a very large core of people who are deeply committed to making this community better.”

Bucholtz is known for covering stories with integrity, humility and a dedication to in-depth research.

“He was the expert on the Fraser Valley, constantly astonishing me with his knowledge about not only Langley, but Surrey, Abbotsford, Mission, and many other communities,” Charlie Smith wrote in a Georgia Straight column on July 3. “Bucholtz always did his homework, which accounts for his long tenure in the media.”

Bucholtz has continues to cover stories through his “Frankly Speaking” blog. Only two days after retiring, he was back at the keyboard writing a thoughtful commentary on the results of the Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite.

“There is simply no justification for governments to spend about $6 million of taxpayers’ money trying to get the result they wanted. It is unprecedented – and it is wrong. Voters instinctively know that,” Bucholtz wrote.

Since then, he has written pieces about the new multi-use pathway over the Port Mann Bridge, the impact of the transit plebiscite rejection on bus drivers, travelling to Vancouver Island by bike, Translink executive layoffs and Donald Trump’s decision to run for president.

Frank Bucholtz may be retired but he will always be a journalist and a certified news junkie.

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Use the Right Advertising Tool

Published on July 29, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

Written by John Foust, Raleigh, NC

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You may have heard the story about the man who asked the clerk at the hardware store for a wrench. “What kind of wrench?” the clerk asked. “Just show me what you’ve got,” the man replied. Not quite knowing what to do, the clerk pulled a socket wrench from the shelf. “I think I’ll try it,” the man said.

About an hour later, the man came back to the store and said, “This wrench didn’t work. Do you have a different kind?” The clerk put a crescent wrench on the counter, and the man said he would try that one.

After another hour passed, the man returned to the store and said, “This one didn’t work, either. Do you have a bigger one?” The clerk went to the last shelf and found the biggest pipe wrench in inventory. “How about this one?” he asked. The man broke into a big smile. “I know that one will work. I’m just going to use it as a hammer.”

Ridiculous, isn’t it? But how many times have we seen advertisers do something similar? They insist on using the wrong tool and then get frustrated when it doesn’t meet their expectations – even when their expectations are way off base.

Generally speaking, there are two types of advertising – image and response. Image advertising – or institutional advertising, as some people know it – is designed to give consumers a positive feeling about the advertiser. The car dealer that runs ads claiming to be “the friendly dealership” is presenting itself as a nice place to do business. There’s no specific call for action. The appeal is indirect: “If you like us enough, maybe you’ll decide to buy a car from us.”

While image advertising can pay big dividends, it’s a longer cycle. Powerful brands like Apple, FedEx and Coca-Cola didn’t win their market share overnight. Their overall growth has been gradual – not necessarily snail-paced, but step-by-step in an upward direction.

On the other hand, response advertising is designed to create urgency. “Buy now,” an ad might say, “because we’re having a sale”… or “because this offer expires on Saturday.” There is a faster payoff and results are easier to measure. When an advertiser has a sale, you’ll find out immediately if it’s a success. Either it works or it doesn’t.

Repetition often forms a strong bond between image and response advertising. A business that runs a strong image campaign – one that resonates with its target audience – will eventually make sales. And an advertiser who runs a lot of response ads – ads that get results – will establish a strong image in consumers’ minds.

Some of the best campaigns deliberately combine image and response. They project a carefully crafted image and ask for specific action – all at the same time. (“We’re the friendly car dealer. That’s why we’re offering you these weekend specials.”) If you take this approach, make sure it’s a consistent strategy, not a one-and-done experiment.

It’s all about using the right tool.

(c) Copyright 2015 by John Foust. All rights reserved.

 

CREDIT LINE

John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. E-mail for information: john@johnfoust.com

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New Editors Take the Helm at Langley Times, Nelson Star

Published on July 29, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

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There have been some changes at BC’s community newspapers over the last few months, including the appointment of some new editors. So we thought we’d share these exciting changes with our members. If we have missed anyone, please send us an email and we can include your new position in our next newsletter.

The Langley Times

The retirement of Frank Bucholtz at the end of June, left the Langley Times with some big shoes to fill.

But the paper has found the perfect new editor from within its newsroom: Brenda Anderson.

Anderson has been with the Langley Times for 17 years – as long as Bucholtz was editor.

She has covered business, police, fire and general news beats, and has served as the paper’s arts and lifestyles editor.

The Nelson Star

In January, Greg Nesteroff became the editor of the Nelson Star.

He has worked as a reporter in West Kootenay for the past 17 years and is excited about this new opportunity.

“As a native Kootenaian, I consider it an honour,” he told the Star.

Nesteroff will also serve as editor of the Castlegar News and continue to write his weekly column for the West Kootenay Advertiser.

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BCYCNA Media Guide: A Free Resource for Member Papers

Published on July 29, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

The BCYCNA has produced a media guide, including information about copyright, court reporting, defamation, libel and advertising regulations for member papers to use in their daily reporting and work.

The guide is available in both digital and downloadable PDF formats for the convenience of publishers, editors, reporters and advertising staff. Login information was also sent to each of our publishers on July 21.

This document was inspired by questions about what can and cannot be printed or posted on websites and is the result of the curiosity, attention to detail and professionalism of people working in community news in British Columbia.

The Ontario Community Newspaper Association published a similar document in 2013. The BCYCNA guide loosely reflects Ontario’s version and includes additions and updates by Vancouver lawyer David F. Sutherland and paralegal Vincy Cheung.

While the media guide is not a legal document, it is intended to serve as a helpful source of information for when journalists have questions about what they can and can’t report on or publish.

The BCYCNA has already received feedback from journalists and editors who have found the guide to be a useful addition to their newsrooms.

The association is dedicated to providing resources that help our member papers, which work hard to bring news to communities across the province.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the BCYCNA Media Guide or how to access it. Phone: 604-248-4207 | Email: info@bccommunitynews.com

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Ma Murray 2015 Winners

Published on April 27, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

What a night!

In case you missed it, here are the final results from this weekend’s Ma Murray Awards.

We’ll post a full recap with photos shortly.

And if your paper took home a gold in any category, we’ll be sending all the photos directly to your editor within the next day or two, so you can write about it in this week’s paper.

Congratulations to everyone!

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Only TWO DAYS left to register for the 2015 Ma Murray Awards!

Published on March 26, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

Here in the BCYCNA office, we’ve spent the last few days reaching out to all of the Ma Murray finalists who haven’t yet registered for the Awards Gala dinner or booked a room at the River Rock. If you are a finalist, these will be covered by the BCYCNA! (…But you still have to confirm your attendance – please do so by filling in the online registration form. And if you plan to spend the night at the River Rock, you need to book your own room! Get all the hotel details here.)

Did we mention the deadline is just two days away? Please take action by Friday, March 27 or you could miss out!!

Of course EVERYONE is welcome to attend, and we want to see all of you there. Anyone who’s been to the Ma Murray Awards will tell you it’s a ton of fun. Join your colleagues from across the region. Put faces to names and let’s celebrate our industry!

As you know by now, the evening will be hosted by CBC’s Gloria Macarenko and morning radio host Kevin Lim from 102.7 The Peak (but those of you in the Interior will know him from 99.9 SUN FM).

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And – just announced: our after-party entertainment will be six-piece Vancouver party rock band Jane’s Blonde! This year the after-party will take place right in the theatre. After the last award is handed out, refresh your drink and watch the stage transform. You’ll be dancing in no time.

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We can’t wait to see you on Saturday, April 25 at the River Rock! If you have any questions, contact Kerry in the BCYCNA office at kerry@bccommunitynews.com or call 604-248-4207 or toll-free at 1-866-669-9222.

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BCYCNA Ma Murray Awards – Announcing the 2015 Finalists!

Published on February 23, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

Ma-Murray-2015-finalist-announced-headerThis is such an exciting time of year in the BCYCNA office. Award entries poured in and were sent straight back out to judges… Then judges’ decisions poured in, and now the day has arrived that we can share their top picks with you!

So, let’s skip the small talk and take you straight to the good stuff. Click here to go straight to our updated awards page to see this year’s finalists. Congratulations to everyone!!

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