HSPA continues services during COVID-19 pandemic

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2020 advertising, newsroom events to be rescheduled

The world has turned upside down in dealing with COVID-19. While primarily working from home, the Hoosier State Press Association continues its efforts to serve our 160+ member newspapers. Executive Director and General Counsel Steve Key logged 92 calls and emails seeking advice or asking questions in March. That surpassed the total for January and February combined.

“Initially there were a flurry of calls concerned with the looming executive order shutting down the state and whether newspapers would be designated as an essential service,” Key said. “Then the calls were dominated by questions concerning the lack of transparency by hospitals and county health departments as to basic information on preparedness and number of cases.”

Executive Director and General Counsel Steve Key logged 92 calls and emails seeking advice or asking questions in March. That surpassed the total for January and February combined.

“Even going into April, government transparency remains an ongoing issue across the state. Local government entities continue to struggle with how to properly give notice of emergency meetings or use a process allowing the public to “observe and record” as required by the Open Door Law, even under the governor’s order.

All of the questions in this month’s Legal Hotline are connected to the pandemic.

Key has had conversations with Public Access Counselor Luke Britt, Indiana Homeland Security Department general counsel Jonathan Witham, the governor’s Press Secretary Rachel Hoffmeyer and the local office of the federal Small Business Administration in the past few weeks.

HSPA has served as a conduit of information helpful to Indiana newspapers. The information has ranged from information about the Payroll Protection Program launched by Congress, to ideas among Indiana newspapers and other national entities on how to engage and serve Hoosier readers and help local businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. HSPA has been posting these ideas on its website — www.hspa.com.

Meanwhile, HSPA’s Pam Lego and Shawn Goldsby continue to process advertising placements and quotes for potential advertising. Attempting to bring some revenue to our members during the crisis.

The Foundation successfully placed nine journalism students with Indiana newspapers under the Eugene S. Pulliam Internship program for this summer.

It appears they’ll have an internship like none any previous Pulliam interns have experienced due to the virus.

The Foundation Board did decide to postpone all events with future dates to be determined. The Advertising Gala and its Advertising Contest will be rescheduled. The same goes for the Better Newspaper Contest and Awards Luncheon. And the Reporters’ Workshop that had been scheduled for this month also will be rescheduled.

Key urges the HSPA-member newspaper staffs to continue to set aside for future judging excellent advertising and newsroom work for recognition, albeit at a later date.

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