By Steve Key
Hoosier State Press Association

As the year winds down, it’s a good time to reflect on what we do. For the Hoosier State Press Association, the goal is to serve our Indiana newspaper members.

That goal pushes us to consistently explore new ways to better the industry through programs and initiatives.

On the front page of this edition of The Indiana Publisher, you will see we are offering a new set of marketing tools that newspaper advertising departments can use to efficiently create additional revenue products. HSPA’s relationship with the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association created this opportunity for our members.

Earlier this year, the HSPA Foundation launched the first class of interns for newspaper advertising departments. The university students were so impressive that three of the eight were offered jobs by the end of their 10-week stints selling advertising for those newspapers.

The Foundation also has made available, through a collaboration with several other press associations, the Rural Health News Service column written by Trudy Liebermann. This provides free content on a topic that most small Indiana newspapers would not have the resources to report on but is of vital interest to many readers.

For several years now, Indiana editors have been able to tap into the HSPAInfo.net content-sharing program. Former publisher John DePrez collects stories of regional or statewide interest and posts them for editors to peruse.

Some newspapers use the content to create their own statewide-coverage page. Some editors take a story idea and have a reporter replicate it with local data and interviews.

The HSPA Foundation has placed more than 100 journalism students in state newsrooms under the Eugene S. Pulliam internship program. Ten students every summer get 10 weeks of experience as a reporter, photographer or designer, covering the inevitable county fair but also feature and hard news subjects in the communities where they work.

Midwest Advertising Placements, HSPA’s advertising arm, placed more than $1 million in advertising in Indiana newspapers during 2014. MAP strives to make it easy for advertisers or ad agencies to use newspapers to deliver a message.

MAP brings dollars through the front door of newspapers, allowing ad staffs to develop other advertising leads to maximize revenue opportunities for our members.

Member newspapers also have access to an HSPA staff attorney to serve as a legal resource.

I can answer public access or libel questions for the editorial staff and Fair Housing Act or political ad requirements for advertising departments. Only three other press associations have in-house counsels.

Both HSPA and the Foundation have funded amicus briefs to represent our industry’s interest in lawsuits that come before Indiana appellate courts.

In 2014, the Foundation supported Evansville Courier & Press litigation to make sure certificates of death remain available for inspection and copying through county health departments.

The end of the year also marks the beginning of another state legislative session. HSPA’s efforts to protect newspapers’ interests and the public’s right to know remain the elemental reason for our existence.

As we ring in a new year, I hope you value the investment of your HSPA involvement as we strive to continue to earn the trust and support you have given the association since 1933.

Steve Key is executive director and general counsel for HSPA.

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