Warm Holiday Wishes from your Florida Press Association!
In the spirit of being grateful this holiday season, I would like to personally thank all of you once again for your continued support of the Florida Press Association. Without your loyalty and strong commitment as members, we would not be able to continue to protect the freedoms and advance professional standards of the press of Florida. Put simply, you make what we do possible.
What a year it has been, and no hurricane or storm is going to impede our FPA members resiliency. As I continue to make my way around the state meeting with our members, it is clear we continue to be stronger together. I would like to share the many important initiatives that your membership investment has enabled us to accomplish this year and beyond.
Public Notice Mission Remains Intact: Although the HB 7049 public notice bill with the dreadful county website option language passed, we remain optimistic that local governments will bypass this option and continue to use their trusted local newspapers to deliver this important information to the public. We have seen a few counties consider this option but so far, after recognizing its downsides, the counties have rejected this method. (If you are faced with the county option, FPA has written resources to help defeat it on a grassroots level, and our public notice marketing and communication team continues to meet via zoom every 2-weeks to share information.) On the plus side, the bill retains the revisionary language from 2 years ago that allows free weeklies meeting audience thresholds to publish notices providing Florida citizens more notice. We continue to modernize our FloridaPublicNotices.com aggregated website. We also continue to help offset legal costs for all of our FPA members by providing a legal hotline service that this past year fielded hundreds of inquiries from small, medium, and large newspapers.
2022 Florida Media Conference Success: We saw over 375 attendees and just about every session was standing room only this past year with a focus on leadership and modernizing our recruitment strategies. To celebrate our excellence in journalism and advertising creativity, we held four Award Ceremonies for groups including the Florida Press Association (FPA), Florida Society of News Editors (FSNE), Florida Newspaper Advertising and Marketing Executives (FNAME) and Florida Magazine Association (FMA). We considered this year’s conference a huge success and hope you found it inspiring and informative as well. We are looking forward to another incredible event in 2023, so be sure to have your calendar marked for July 20-21, 2023, as we head back to the Sarasota Westin.
Growing Revenue: We continue to protect and grow newspaper revenue for member newspapers throughout the state of Florida with services provided by our sister agency, Intersect Media. This revenue not only goes directly to many of our members, but it also helps every FPA member by providing funding for the association helping to keep membership dues low which haven’t been raised in the past few years. We will be launching a state-wide digital ad network next year for all our owned and operated newspaper websites. We just finalized a digital partnership with a company called Flipp and are planning to become their agency of record as they have modernized the printed preprint and have created a robust digital ad unit for all our FPA members websites.
Supporting Local Journalism: To protect the important free press journalism we provide our readers daily and weekly, we continue to administer the community news fund through our Florida Press Foundation. We have driven over $90k to Florida newspapers as readers are donating and showing how much they care about their local newspapers. Our foundation also placed 15 paid internships in our local member newspapers which included 5 additional minority interns to reflect the markets we serve with an SNPA grant they secured last year. Our FPF leadership program once again kicked off at our Media Conference with a class of 10 sharp Florida media up and comers. We have found our smaller newspapers are looking for additional training for new columnists/reporters, so keep your eye out early next year for our new Press Pass online video training program free to all our members.
What’s next: We are now building on the successes and momentum we had this past year and are excited about a few new programs the Florida Press Association and our Foundation are working on to drive more value to you, our members. One of these is expanding our internship program with the focus on sales interns. There is an important need to attract quality sales talent to our media industry. Next year, we will be targeting (10-12) colleges/universities that offer a sales degree with the launch of a Media Speakers Bureau to tell our ever evolving and growing media story to these students and professors alike. In addition to the media speaker’s bureau (MSB), we are also planning to launch a robust Media Sales Internship Job Board called “The Lede”. This online portal will become a one-stop shop for all the media sales internships in our industry and will help us create a pipeline of sophomores, juniors and seniors looking for a media sales internship at these sales universities through this new innovation. Please consider offering an in-person or virtual paid internship position for your organization next year. In addition to these programs, we will be partnering with FNAME to create a sales “bootcamp” training geared towards your sales teams to get back to the basics of sales.
We have a lot to be proud of this past year and a great story to tell. Based on a recent market study we had commissioned by CODA Research that every member has access to use, we find that every month 15.1 Million – or 86% of Florida Adults – Read Local Print or Digital Newspapers. We’re not dying, our weekly newspapers are growing in print and our dailies are growing online. Actually, we had an FPA member take their digital-only news and reverse-publish it to create a printed weekly newspaper. In addition, one of our daily newspapers was recognized as one of the TOP 25 newspapers for growth in the nation. Our Florida newspapers are alive and well!
On behalf of the Florida Press Association, we would like to take this opportunity to wish every one of our FPA members and their families a wonderful and safe holiday season filled with much love, laughter, and happiness!
Chief Everyone Officer
Florida Press Association | Intersect Media