This page contains handouts and presentations from the workshop. The amount of content on this page will increase as the videos are edited and posted. To keep up with new content as it’s posted, follow us on Twitter (@tccj) or find us on Facebook.
Newspapers and other print media have no legal duty to publish the name of any author or source. Publishers have broad discretion to make decisions about what to print. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the importance of such editorial discretion in ensuring the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press:
“A newspaper is more than a passive receptacle or conduit for news, comment, and advertising. The choice of material to go into a newspaper, and the decisions made as to limitations on the size and content of the paper, and treatment of public issues and public officials – whether fair or unfair – constitute the exercise of editorial control and judgment.” [from Chief Justice Burger’s opinion in the unanimous decision in Miami Herald v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241, 258 (1974)]
There may, however, be ethical obligations to consider — for example, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics says journalists should:
“Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.”
One other consideration is what happens if an unattributed statement or anonymous author becomes the subject of a defamation lawsuit or is relevant to a criminal investigation. Then, a news organization may have to identify the source or author. This is mostly about identifying witnesses or suspects in the service of the legal process (so police can identify criminal suspects or so a plaintiff can make his or her case and can properly name potential defendants). A publisher who refuses to identify an author or source when a judge issues a subpoena demanding such a release will likely be held in contempt of court. Texas, of course, recently passed a reporter shield law to make it harder for prosecutors and plaintiffs to force journalists to divulge confidential sources (see Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 22.021 et. seq.) Congress is considering a similar law that would apply in federal courts (see H.R. 985 and S. 448).
You have already read Andrew Chavez’s great piece here on this site about the impact of Craigslist on newspaper classifieds. Now check out these three articles from NAA that tell the stories of three newspapers that have gone to free classifieds:
- Oregonian Aims to Change Perceptions, Create Attractive Marketplace
- Atlanta: An Exchange of Sites and Mindsets
- In Houston, Kaango Brand Boosts Print
NAA’s Digital Edge blog also tells the story of a smaller newspaper, The Daily Journal of Kankakee, Ill., which went to a free classifieds concept (no URL here because you need a Digital Edge subscription to access this one, so read on to find out what happened).
For the Kankakee paper, the impetus was the establishment of a free shopper four years ago. The shopper sold its display ads but gave away its classifieds. The paper hired a temporary employee who called everyone who had taken out a free ad in the shopper, telling them that the Journal also had free ads and had a much greater circulation.
The shopper even offered free auto ads – the newspaper countered with a $19.95 “Run It ‘Till It Sells” promotion. It partnered with a local car wash to offer $5 car wash coupons for readers who submitted a photo along with their six lines of ad copy.
The paper even purchased digital cameras and offered to take a photo of a reader’s car if the owner brought the vehicle to the newspaper office. The bottom line: The Daily Journal‘s classified section has grown to more than four times its original size.
Says the paper’s classifieds manager: “It’s been phenomenal. We actually didn’t see a downturn in revenue after we started this.” Even the pet section has grown, with dog breeders across the state wanting to advertise.
The result? The free shopper has disappeared, and The Daily Journal has maintained its free classifieds policy for merchandise under $400. Since the shopper died, the paper changed its policy to offer the free classified only to newspaper subscribers. Each month, the paper signs up 25 to 30 new subscribers because of the free classifieds offer.
Check out this handout from NAA that details what the organization considers 10 truths about newspaper circulation. The interpretation of some of their points will be debated, but this one-page handout will make a great addition to advertising pitch books — it basically gives the reasons why newspapers are still a great buy for advertisers, print and online.