Daily Leader Publisher Bill Jacobs (left), a regional director for the National Newspaper Association visits with Sen. Roger Wicker (right) and Sen. Thad Cochran in Cochran's office at the Dirksen Building on Capitol Hill July 21. Jacobs and MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce talked with the Mississippi delegation about continued challenges of the U.S. Postal Service.

USPS targets postal branches for closure

The US Postal Service announced this week a proposal to close over 3,000 smaller branch post offices nationwide in a continuing effort to control operating costs. Around 60 small post office locations in Mississippi would be affected.

Click here to see a list of locations affected in Mississippi.

Along with the closures, US Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has also recommended Saturday mail delivery be discontinued.

Facing a deficit of $8 billion this fiscal year, USPS is considering drastic measures to gloss the gap. While analysts predict dropping Saturday delivery could save $3 billion over the next few years, groups such as the National Newspaper Association argue the change would adversely affect small businesses and, in particular, community newspapers who rely on USPS for delivery.

According to The Washington Post, the Postal Reform Act of 2011 now before Congress would establish two commissions to study post office branch closures and to study in-depth the finances of USPS.

NNA Regional Director Bill Jacobs, publisher of The Daily Leader in Brookhaven and a past president of MPA, was on Capitol Hill last week to urge Sen. Thad Cochran and Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi to support a measure introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Cochran's support of the Collins bill is seen as critical due to his position on the Appropriations Committee.

See the entire bill introduced by Collins.

Newspapers who support continued six-day delivery should contact the offices of Cochran and Wicker and encourage them to support the Collins measure.

Postal Service marketing effort bashes newspapers

New seminars for small business owners being held across the state and nationwide by the US Postal Service are reportedly taking the opportunity to bash newspapers as an effective advertising medium.

USPS has been conducting open houses during what they call "Grow Your Business Week" activities across the country. Programs have already been held in several Mississippi communities; another is scheduled in mid-August in Ridgeland.

See a sample letter of invitation to businesses.

While the content of the seminars reportedly downplays newspaper advertising, federal USPS officials have said the program, which offers a new spin on direct mail campaigns, could actually benefit newspaper operations with printing capabilities since USPS doesn't provide a turnkey solution and will have to seek third party vendors for some clients.

"Newspapers should attend any of these sessions in their communities and either keep them honest or report back to (MPA or NNA)," said Max Health, postal chairman for the National Newspaper Association.

Heath said concerns had been expressed to federal postal officials in Washington concerning negative remarks or comparisons to newspapers.

In-depth editorial series revisits Delta, Greenville

MPA will make available a new in-depth series focusing on Greenville and the Mississippi Delta next month. A follow up to its 2010 Delta Project, a team of students from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss has produced a series of articles and photographs on the Mississippi Delta city and its struggle with decline amid population and economic erosion.

The articles will be available via the MPA website and a budget will be sent to editors prior to the materials' release.

For additional information on the series, contact MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce or project editor Bill Rose at the Meek School.


INDUSTRY HEADLINES

NYT touts debt payback, paywall success

From Reuters
Defying naysayers, the New York Times has enjoyed a rebound of sorts this summer. A new hybrid paywall structure has lured several hundred thousand paying digital subscribers to the tent. Meanwhile, the NYT parent company has managed to repay a hefty loan to international lenders well ahead of schedule.

Despite loss of paper, media thrives in Denver

From NetNewsCheck.com
Despite the loss of one of its primary newspapers two years ago, Denver's local digital media scene is thriving. From the online market leaders KUSA and The Denver Post to smaller outlets including an alternative weekly and several nonprofits, all are carving out a chunk of an online ad pie that is expected to grow 71% by 2015.

Tough earnings report issued by McClatchy

From The Sacramento Bee
The McClatchy Co. today reported lower profits and revenue in the second quarter, as the media company continues to struggle with a weak economy and structural changes in the newspaper industry.