Lehman books recounts Publisher’s Journey

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Edward Lehman

Edward Lehman, future co-owner with his wife of the Longmont Times-Call, started out as a reporter for both the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post. His personal story, as well as that of the newspaper, are laid out in “Rolling with the Press: A Publisher’s Journey,” a book by Lehman and Suzanne Barrett from Filter Press.

Noted a Denver Post book review, the work “is the story of a small-town newspaper and how it thrived – but it’s also a look at growing up in Denver in the first half of the century.” Along with his journalism experience, Lehman was a lawyer and Denver district attorney when he and his wife bought the Times-Call in 1957, modernizing and reviving the publication into “an empire of small-town newspapers,” across the state, said the review. The Lehman children also joined the business.

Lehman was born into a prominent Denver family, living in a mansion on Pennsylvania Street and spending summers at an estate in Evergreen. His mother was a real estate investor, his grandfather a jeweler, and the family chauffer was future Colorado Governor Stephen McNichols. Lehman went to the University of Denver while working as a police reporter for the Rocky. Some of the major stories and crimes he covered are detailed in the book, while the majority of the publication recounts his years as a newspaper publisher.

Durango upgrades website, adds Wallit subscription management

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Doug Bennett

The Durango Herald, published by Ballantine Communications Inc., recently launched a new version of its website, durangoherald.com, featuring Wallit, an account-based software firm offering subscription management.

Said Ballantine CEO Doug Bennett: “We made the decision to partner with Wallit during a major upgrade of our website to improve reader experience. Wallit’s paywall and purchasing offerings align with the look and feel we achieved for the website during our development, and their team has worked hard with ours to make it happen.”

The website features a new “visually-driven design intended to be more responsive and improve how users find what they’re looking for on all devices,” with improvements especially noticeable on tablets and mobile phones, reported Herald staff writer Mary Shinn. Bennett noted that: “Viewer habits have changed quite a bit over the past few years. We haven’t changed our website to any large degree in nine years. It was time for us to adopt the way people are consuming content online.”

The website now has faster loading times, a clean layout, and two main navigation menus, noted Claudia Laws, senior manager of online news content and video production, who added, “You will be able to get around our website in a much more efficient manner.”

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Claudia Laws

Wallit offers a variety of paywall solutions, including micropayment and pay-per-article options. Readers can prepay, with payment deducted from their account as they use the site. Packages automatically renew at the end of a selected term to provide uninterrupted service. A digital-only package is $10 per month. Subscribers to the website log in with Wallit credentials, or log in with Facebook or Google Plus, or can create a new Wallit account at no charge. For non-subscribers, free stories per month dropped from 10 to five. After reaching the monthly cap, readers can pay to access individual articles at .25 cents each through Wallit. The paywall does not apply to national or world news articles.

Faith in mobile paying off for publishers

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Michael MaLoon

Thinking “mobile first” is “finally paying off in dividends” for publishers and other journalists, says columnist and News Media Alliance’s Vice President of Innovation Michael MaLoon. “Mobile advertising spending now accounts for 47 percent of digital ad spending, an 89 percent increase over last year,” said MaLoon. “It now outpaces desktop search, according to an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report.”

MaLoon said IAB reported that “digital advertising spend increased to $32.7 billion during the first six months of 2016 … an all-time high.” In addition, MaLoon said during Facebook’s first quarter, mobile ad spending accounted for 82 percent of the company’s entire ad revenue stream, and that a report from eMarketer predicted digital ad spending will surpass TV ad spending in 2017.

Here’s what’s working, according to MaLoon: Personal, native advertising on a mobile platform; video and search advertising on mobile devices; short, muted videos – auto-playing videos that require the viewer to click for sound, making them less invasive; and the availability of more targeting via mobile advertising and almost unlimited data cache. With all this, MaLoon stressed, “The focus should not stray from creating good, non-disruptive ads for the mobile platform.”

Poynter survey asks what journalists are thankful for this year

The Poynter Institute, an organization dedicated to “elevating journalism,” recently asked journalists what they were thankful for in 2016. Responses ranged from the practical to the amusing:

• “Espresso machine, renewed interest in 1st amendment, freelancing, Uniball pens …” – Katie Dohman, freelance writer/editor/content strategist, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

• “Thankful for the cold I just got, for finally forcing me to get some sleep.” – Kayla Epstein, Social Media Editor for National, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.

• “I’m thankful for independent student newspapers as a training ground for future reporters.” – Ellie Smith, editor in chief, The GW Hatchet student newspaper, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

• “I’m thankful to still have the job, of course. I’m grateful for Malbec, for Pinterest on my smartphone during an especially slow commission meeting, for a news market that keeps on giving the way Detroit does. Mostly, though, I’m thankful that I get to work – to laugh, to rant, to think – with other journalists, whom I consider to be some of the smartest folks around.” – Tiffany Esshaki, staff writer at the Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle, Warren, Mich.

• “Thankful I still have a job, and that I work in such a passionate industry.” – Kai Teoh, journalist, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

• “Today, I’m thankful for Starbucks.” – Allison Bourg, digital executive producer, abc2news, WMAR, Baltimore, Md.

• “1. I am thankful I was able to do this job for two newspapers this year even though it nearly sucked the life out of me; 2. I am thankful I had the opportunity to cover the presidential campaign, even if I had to attend a rally where the now president-elect called me dishonest and corrupt as part of “the media”; 3. I am thankful for all the awesome people I interviewed this year and for all their great stories I was able to share with the readers; 4. I am thankful that when I lost the part-time gig to Gannett lay-offs, I still had the full-time gig at the small family-owned business to fall back on; 5. I am thankful this year is over and I survived. I hope journalism can do the same under a president who doesn't seem to value freedom of the press. – Susan Yeager Bromley, reporter, The Citizen Newspaper, Ortonville, Mich.

• “I’m thankful to have a full-time job in journalism.” – Bria Felicien, digital/social, The Greenville News, S.C.

• “I’m thankful for boxed wine.” – Amanda Coyne, business and politics reporter, The Greenville News, S.C.

• “I got a paycheck today. That’s something.” – Kathryn Dunn, editor, Claremont Courier, Claremont, Calif.

• “Smirnoff.” – Sherry Noik, online journalist, CBC News, Radio-Canada