InfoNet Cover Letter

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Dear HSPA Publisher,

As announced in the Indiana Publisher and at the HSPA Annual Meeting, the association is launching a secure, shared-content Web site – HSPA InfoNet.

When?  When enough papers sign up to participate.  Here’s your invitation to do so.

Why should you?  Well, as newspapers continue to wring costs out of their operations, the concern grows on how we’ll be able to maintain quality content that will retain and grow readership.  HSPA InfoNet won’t eliminate this problem, but it will provide participants with unique content created by other newspapers that will enhance depth and interest to your news report not possible with the use of syndicated or non-local copy.

You will be able to use the site free of charge for the first six months of its operation through a grant provided by the HSPA board of directors to underwrite startup costs.  If the site becomes viable, we plan to make it more valuable to you by posting information from students, freelance writers, job seekers and public relations outlets, including colleges and universities, who will pay a small fee to join HSPA as auxiliary members.

But first we need newspaper participation – your participation.  Enclosed is a participation agreement and a statement of practices for the site.  Please sign the agreement and fax it back today.  There is no cost to you, and we will pull the stories from your Web site, not your staff.

HSPA InfoNet is not a finished product – it is a draft – one that we plan to refine during the six-month pilot period.  We know from feedback we received at the HSPA Annual Meeting that there are concerns – such as competitors using your copy.  Right now, we don’t have an answer for that – but, it may not be that much of a problem in practice. Let’s see.

All we know for sure is that we want to give this idea a try, for as Samuel Johnson’s famous quote goes:  Nothing will ever be accomplished if all possible objections must first be overcome.

So, please, despite any misgivings you might have at the moment, sign up to participate in this trial – you can quit any time.  But for now, participate in the sharing and participate in critiquing the site as it develops and gets better.  If we can get this to work, it has the potential to significantly enhance your news report at virtually no cost to you.  Thank you.

Best regards,

Stephen Key
Executive Director
General Counsel