Tag Archives: print

Wisconsin newspapers fight bill to eliminate meeting minute publication

Wisconsin newspapers are pledging to fight a bipartisan effort in the state Legislature to eliminate a requirement that meeting minutes of government entities be published in local newspapers.

A group of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers announced they were circulating a bill to do away with the requirement that summaries of meetings by school districts, municipalities, counties and technical colleges be printed in the newspaper.

Instead, the meeting minutes, or summary of what occurred at a public meeting, would instead be posted on the government entity’s website.

Supportive lawmakers pitched the proposal as a way for cash-strapped governments to save money and a way to increase access to the information.

“I don’t know anyone who keeps a stack of newspapers at home to reference minutes of proceedings,” said Rep. Jason Fields, D-Glendale, in a prepared statement. “It is better to allow taxpayers to save money and have better and easier access to minutes.”

But Beth Bennett, executive director of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, sees the proposal as an attack on the public’s ability to know what their elected representatives and local governments are up to.

“Obviously we’re adamantly opposed to it,” said Bennett, whose organization represents more than 230 weekly and daily newspapers in the state. “Maintaining access to public information is at the very core of what we do as an industry. We believe posting information on a government website does not notify anyone of anything. It is not pushing information out.”

Bennett said she did not find out about the bill until Jan. 24, the day its sponsors put out a press release announcing the idea.

A special legislative task force that last year studied the state’s public notice requirements did not recommend making the changes being pursued in the bill.

The proposal is sponsored by Fields and Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, along with Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, and Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee.

The sponsors say the proposal is supported by eight groups representing school boards and administrators, counties, technical colleges and municipalities.

The bill would affect the requirement that meeting minutes be published in the local newspaper.

It would not change the requirement that meeting agendas and other legal notices be printed.

Bill sponsors said the change would affect nearly every government entity statewide, except townships, the city of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public School District, which already are exempt.

Neither the lawmakers nor Bennett had an estimate of how much the change would save taxpayers — and cost newspapers.

But the bill sponsors did have some anecdotal costs that they reference in their pitch for co-sponsors.

They claim that annual savings would be $12,000 for the Green Bay school district, $3,600 for the city of Wausau, just over $4,400 for La Crosse, $11,000 for Eau Claire and $2,100 for Beloit. And, they say, Outagamie County would save about $6,500 a year while Wood County would save over $13,000 annually.

The measure would have to pass both the state Assembly and Senate — which are controlled by Republicans — and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before taking effect.

Write an essay, win a newspaper in Vermont

The owner and publisher of a Vermont weekly newspaper is extending an essay contest to find a new owner for it after failing to get enough entries.

Ross Connelly had hoped to get at least 700 essays from which to pick a winner to own the Hardwick Gazette but said that he had received fewer than 100 since the contest started June 11.

The entry fee is $175. Contestants are expected to write up to 400 words about their skills and vision for owning a rural weekly newspaper in Vermont.

Connelly announced in the newspaper that he was extending the contest by 40 days.

“Besides garnering a number of excellent essays, the contest to this point makes a strong case there are people in this country and elsewhere who recognize the importance of a community newspaper, and have the skills and drive to be successful running one,” he wrote.

The deadline to enter is Sept. 20.

The winner would assume ownership of the newspaper and its historic building, equipment, website and proprietary materials needed to operate the business. The newspaper is printed offsite at a press not owned by it.

Connelly and his late wife, Susan Jarzyn, bought the newspaper in 1986 after moving to Vermont from Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. She died in 2011, and he has said he would like to retire.

He had been unsuccessful selling the newspaper so he came up with the essay contest.

If he doesn’t receive at least 700 entries, he’ll refund the entry fees. He also has the option to extend the contest another 20 days.

On-demand only bookshop opens in Paris

To many Parisians, the letters PUF have always been associated with the intellectual heart of the French capital. So when the 95-year-old venerable publishing house specializing in human and social sciences was forced to close its historic bookshop on the Place de La Sorbonne in 1999, it left a big void in the heart of many students and researchers.

But Les Presses Universitaires de France is back, just a stone’s throw from their previous location in the Quartier Latin neighborhood.

While the PUF’s new bookshop is not as big as it used to be, its riches could fill the life of any reader. The few books on the shelves aren’t for sale, but around 3 million titles are available in the 72-square meter store, which opened last week.

All-digital bookshop

“This is the first all-digital bookshop in Europe that sells books on demand only,” PUF general manager Frederic Meriot told The Associated Press. “It is a model for the future, a model in which digital and paperback books can work together.”

PUF’s comeback in the City of Lights couldn’t have been possible without the Espresso Book Machine, the robot that prints, binds and trims books in a few minutes. Available since 2006, the first one was installed briefly at the World Bank’s bookstore. There are now more than 100 in bookstores and libraries across the world.

At PUF, it has been installed at the back of the shop and arouses interest from all kind of visitors. When the AP visited the shop recently, three police officers were passing by and came in to learn more about books on demand.

“In France it’s a small revolution,” says Pauline Darfeuille, a project engineer from the Printers’ national union who helped PUF set up the machine. “There are only five (machines) of this type in the country.”

The Espresso Book Machine uses two PDFs, one for the cover and another for the text. While the cover can be printed in color, the inside of the book is black and white only. It takes only a few minutes to create a book.

The Espresso Book Machine uses two PDFs, one for the cover and another for the text. While the cover can be printed in color, the inside of the book is black and white only.
The Espresso Book Machine uses two PDFs, one for the cover and another for the text. While the cover can be printed in color, the inside of the book is black and white only.

“In the meantime, readers can enjoy a cup of coffee from the shop at a reasonable price,” says Alexandre Gaudefroy, who has managed the PUF project since its inception. “The idea was to create a tea room and a bookshop at the same time.”

“It’s unbelievable,” says Zeina Genadry, who used to buy books at the historic PUF bookshop, as she flips through the pages of the biography of Montaigne from Stefan Zweig that just came out of the machine.

Although the cover of the books are a bit sticky compared to those of traditional paperbacks because of the gloss used during the process, the machine produces library-quality books sold at the same price as in traditional bookshops.

According to Meriot, the on-demand-only model that PUF is developing in parallel to its traditional publisher’s activities has a bright future.

“Not only because at an equivalent price all readers, even among the young generations, prefer paper to digital,” he said. “But also in terms of costs for us. We could not have afford to rent a 600-square-meter (6,450-square-foot) shop like we had in the past. With the Espresso Book, we don’t need warehouses to stock the books, we don’t spend money to pulp the books already printed that didn’t sell, and it’s also a low-carbon way of making books.”

Meriot said he needs to sell about 15 books daily to break even. He sold 60 on the opening day of business.

“It was almost a riot, our booksellers didn’t even find the time to take a break for lunch,” he said.

For now, about 5,000 titles from the PUF catalog are available at the bookshop, with an extra 3 million titles from other publishing houses and sources put together by On Demand books — the company behind the Espresso Book Machine — also printable at the shop.

 

On Demand and on the Web …

Les Presses Universitaires de France.

Espresso Book Machines.

 

Argentina capital is bookstore capital of the world

All across Argentina’s capital, lodged between the steakhouses, ice cream shops and pizzerias, is an abundance of something that is becoming scarce in many nations: bookstores.

From hole-in-the-wall joints with used copies of works by Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel de Cervantes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to elegant buildings with the latest children’s books in several languages, Buenos Aires is filled with locales that pay homage to print.

The city of Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita than any other major city in the world, according to a recent study by the World Cities Cultural Forum, an organization that works to promote culture. With a population of 2.8 million people within the city limits, there are 25 bookstores for every 100,000 people, putting Buenos Aires far above other world cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York. The closest is Hong Kong, which has 22 bookstores per 100,000 people.

“Books represent us like the tango,” said Juan Pablo Marciani, manager of El Ateneo Gran Splendid, an immense bookstore in the affluent Recoleta neighborhood where 7,000 people visit each week. “We have a culture very rooted in print.”

Behind the high number of bookstores, 734 by last count, is a combination of culture and economics.

Culture boomed along with the economy in the early part of the 20th century, and even if the economic path grew rocky, ordinary Argentines embraced and stuck to the habit of reading. To this day, many across the region call the Argentine capital the “Paris of Latin America” thanks to its architecture, wide streets and general interest in the arts, music and literature.

During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, many top writers and editors fled to Argentina, further cementing the country as a literary capital and powerhouse for printing.

In 2014, there were 28,010 titles in circulation and 129 million books were printed in the country, according to the Argentine Book Chamber, making it one of the most prolific book printers in Latin America.

Many stores carry rare books that are hundreds of years old. At Libreria Alberto Casares, bookworms can gaze at a collection that includes a French translation of Spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega from 1650 and Gregorian chants on papyrus dating back to 1722.

In buses and subways, in parks and cafes and even in malls, it’s common to see people flipping pages of whodunits, histories and poetry, or most recently, new books about the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, a case that has rocked the country since he was found shot dead in his bathroom Jan. 18.

“I was born with paper books and I’ll die with paper books,” said Aida Cardozo, 65, who was recently reading “Las Huellas del Rencor,” or “Traces of Resentment,” philosopher Santiago Kovadloff’s work on changes in Argentine society over the last 13 years.

“Computers are for responding to emails and using Facebook, but not to read a novel,” she said.

Books also receive help when it comes to staving off the digital deluge. There are no sales taxes on books, notable in a country where most products get 21 percent slapped on top of the sticker price. And heavy import taxes on books, and electronics such as e-readers, help keep the local printing industry strong. While Argentines are increasingly glued to their mobile devices, customers who want to use foreign retailers like Amazon have to pay a 35 percent surcharge on their peso-denominated credit cards.

The use of e-readers like the Kindle is still relatively low. Less than 10 percent of the 1.2 million people who attended the city’s annual book fair last year said they used electronic devices to read books, according to a fair survey.

Ignacio Iraola, the Southern Cone editorial director for publishing house Grupo Planeta, said the economic factors make printed books an attractive business for bookstores and make books a popular gift in tight economic times.

“A book costs 200 pesos ($23) compared to 400 pesos $46 for a shirt,” said Iraola. “And the perceived value of a book is much higher.”

Ads out of closet, into mainstream with gay themes

A new TV commercial features a good-looking young woman on a beach vacation lounging next to a good-looking young man. He bemoans the glare on his iPad and she fills him in on the Kindle Paperwhite’s sun-friendly screen.

He clicks to buy one himself and suggests they celebrate with a drink.

“My husband’s bringing me a drink right now,” chirps she.

“So is mine,” smiles he as they turn and wave at their male loved ones sitting together at a tiki bar.

Welcome to the latest in gay imagery in mainstream advertising, where LGBT people have been waiting for a larger helping of fairness, or at least something other than punchlines and cliches.

While there are still plenty of those, something has happened in advertising over the last two or three years, nearly two decades after Ikea broke ground in the U.S. with a TV spot featuring a gay couple shopping for a dining room table – a spot that ran only once in New York and Washington, D.C., and was pulled after bomb threats to Ikea stores.

Today, gay and lesbian parents and their kids are featured – along with pitchwoman Ellen DeGeneres – in J.C. Penney ads. Same-sex couples have their own, advertised wedding registries at Macy’s and elsewhere and President Barack Obama offered his seal of approval by evolving into a supporter of gay marriage.

Two happy young men sit together eating at a dining table, with wine and romantic candlelight, in a section of a Crate & Barrel catalog marked “Us & Always.” And we made it through a Super Bowl without any gay jokes at commercial breaks – like the Snickers ad of several years ago featuring two men freaking out after kissing by accident while eating one of the candy bars.

Traditionally lagging behind TV and film content in terms of LGBT inclusion, advertisers in this country are facing considerably less trouble than they used to when taking on gay themes, observers said. Penney’s rebuffed critics and launched a lesbian-focused catalog ad for Mother’s Day that the company followed with a two-dads family – a real family – for Father’s Day.

DeGeneres, who married Portia de Rossi in 2008, continues as a CoverGirl in magazines. Also recently? A lesbian couple was treated to fireworks in a commercial – real ones flash on screen – for K-Y Intense, a personal lubricant that makes their moment or two more memorable. They’re shown spent and satisfied in bed, hair tussled. “Good purchase,” one says to the other.

Though Crate & Barrel declined comment for this story and Amazon didn’t respond to email requests for the same about the Kindle ad, LGBT-focused marketers and monitors think the Mad Men and Women of today’s Madison Avenue and the companies that employ them might finally be getting it. Now, they hope, a greater degree of diversity in skin tone and ethnicity will follow.

“They’re no longer just targeting gay and lesbian people. They’re targeting people like my mom, who want to know that a company embraces and accepts their gay and lesbian family members, friends and neighbors,” said Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for the media watchdog group the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Others, too, are celebrating the newfound bump in ad visibility, a mirror of cultural gains overall. It’s a boost that comes as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up oral arguments later this month in key challenges that could lead to further recognition of same-sex marriage and spousal benefits.

Bob Witeck, who consults for Fortune 100 companies on LGBT marketing and communications strategies, put the buying power of U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults at $790 billion last year. He estimated, roughly, the U.S. LGBT adult population at 16 million, though others say their ranks could be as many as 25 million.

There’s no demographic evidence or social science that points to the LGBT segment as notably higher earning or wealthier than anybody else, though they’re often louder in protesting offensive ad messaging and loyal to brands and companies that support them.

“Things have changed significantly in terms of risk and reward,” Witeck said. “Businesses don’t view this as a risk model any longer.”

Particularly, he said, when it comes to portraying marriage.

“Marriage, at one time, was the third rail,” Witeck said. “That terrified companies. Most of this happened when the president said he supported marriage equality.”

A consumer lust for “truth-telling” isn’t lost on major advertisers, including those that once restricted themselves to trotting out gay-friendly fodder as one-offs when Pride Month and its multicolored flag flies freely each June. One recent pride standout in advertising, restricted to digital markets, is an Oreo cookie with a mountain of multicolored filling.

The company fielded queries from consumers who thought it was available for purchase in stores. It wasn’t.

American Airlines, in 2010, ran outdoor advertising at bus stops and subway stations in New York showing two men on a beach with the slogan: “Here’s to his and his beach towels.Proud to support the community that supports us.”

Generally, Witeck said, putting a human face on gay couples and families in advertising is where much of the effort lands today.

“For the gay consumer and their families and friends, and lots and lots and lots of Americans, they expect to see those couples appear everywhere, but they don’t want them trotted out with a pride flag,” Witeck said. “Amazon didn’t ballyhoo the message. They just landed it.”

Mark Elderkin, CEO of the Gay Ad Network, which focuses on the LGBT niche market, said mainstream gay messaging has “passed the tipping point, where there’s more to gain than there is to lose” for advertisers.

While there are groups of “vocal antagonists,” he said more advertisers bolstered by broader media exposure for gay characters and storylines in non-ad content _ “The New Normal,” “Modern Family,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” CNN’s out-of-the-closet anchor Anderson Cooper – have explored non-traditional families and included LGBT imagery in “normal” settings.

“It seems to be moving quickly forward. It’s companies that want to be more on the leading edge, more for the next generation of this country,” Elderkin said. “It’s not your parents’ brand anymore. It’s your brand and your kids’ brand.”

To purchase the all-new Kindle for only $159, click here.

On the Web

“Husbands,” the Kindle ad: 

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7d4I/amazon-kindle-paperwhite-husbands