Three reasons to smile about journalism today


By Karen T. Braecksl
HSPA Foundation

Every so often life affords us 30 seconds to look at a completed task and smile.

And when three such opportunities occur in the same number of weeks, it seems like we struck gold. (OK, I exaggerate.)

But I must admit when I looked at the Meet the Speakers page of the new Annual Conference brochure, I smiled.

It took months to reschedule some from the canceled February conference (after Mother Nature struck) and recruit others.

In the end it looks awesome. I hope our members realize the talent available to them in a single day.

I dare say at least one person in the lineup will attract a member enough to sign up.

The joint conference is designed for publishers, executives, ad staff and circulation executives (as well as those editors who always enjoy mixing with the “dark side”).

The Hoosier State Press Association and HSPA Foundation Boards of Directors opted to try this format last fall to increase attendance at the conferences and Advertising Awards Gala and participation in the golf outing. It also provides an opportunity for the business side to network across departments.

Note the Newsroom Seminar remains a stand-alone event for editorial staffers. With more than 200 people attending, six sessions running in the morning and two hours of doling out awards, we opted to leave well enough alone. (Living in the shadows of the Indy 500, we certainly know not to tinker with a well-oiled machine.)

Both the HSPA and Foundation boards realized the cost at the upscale JW Marriott might prohibit some newspapers from sending staff. After many hours with the calculator and note pad, we devised a formula that allows each discipline to attend at basically the same rate as last year’s conference.

These subsidies required approval by both boards. It shows the strong commitment of the association and Foundation to training, problem solving and networking.

The Indiana Newspaper Advertising Executives Association and the Indiana Circulation Executive Association pitched in too.

Using their innate skills, the INAEA recruited to date more than $10,000 in sponsors. (Please buy INAEA board member Laura Ragle a drink at the Awards Gala. The advertising director for Schurz Communications properties in Bloomington, Bedford, Martinsville and Mooresville landed about 90 percent of these.)

The ICEA offers a $50 coupon toward the $75 conference fee to help defray expenses this year for circulation managers.

Without this support, circulators’ registration fees would triple this year. (To qualify, attendees must verify circulation as their primary responsibility. We understand everyone wants to increase numbers, but you get the point.)

We hope you take advantage of this opportunity to hear top national speakers right here in Indiana. Your discounted room rate should help you enjoy a night at one of Indy’s finest hotels. (And ICAN members would have to go to Motel 6 to find a better deal. They get a $75 discount when they stay Sept. 25.)

New advertising interns

Another smile came after meeting our new advertising interns.

In the latter part of May, Pamela Lego, director of HSPA’s advertising arm, held a sales training session for the five students. Pete Van Baalen, ad director at the Herald Bulletin (Anderson), taught in the afternoon.

One could detect the energy in the room as the students introduced themselves.

The advertising intern program is running in the pilot stages in its inaugural year, but seeing faces instead of names on paper proved something worked.

In most cases HSPA Foundation matched students with newspapers in or near their hometowns – and at least two in small communities.

We will never know if the newspaper and student would have crossed paths through some stroke of luck, but we like to think the program helped facilitate their meeting.

The verdict remains out, but at this point we proclaim the new program a keeper (subject to annual review).

Eugene S. Pulliam interns

Last week the Pulliam interns gathered at the HSPA office for a workshop with multimedia mentor Jim Brown, executive associate dean emeritus of the IU School of Journalism – Indianapolis.

I look forward to meeting each class of bright young journalists eager to chase even county fair stories – particularly if they cover their own hometown. This year proved no different.

Brown divided the 10 interns into groups and sent them to three businesses in area that agreed to allow them to interview and shoot video – on their smartphones. The groups visited Red’s Classic Barber Shop, Edward E. Petri Co. jewelers and Indianapolis Monthly.

After a morning of instruction on video storytelling and shooting, they left about

1 p.m. on assignment. By 3:15 they shared their edited videos to the group. (I stayed at the office and tried to figure out how to keep my fingers off the iPhone lens.)

People ask me why I still work.

I just smile.

Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.