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Executive Director Update - December 2014

2014 has been an active year for the Association and it would not have been possible without strong support and commitment from our members.  I wish you all a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season and new year. 

Association Update

MDDC believes a strong news media is central to a strong and open society. We help our members succeed through advocacy efforts, revenue generation, professional development, and information sharing.

Legislative & Lobbying Voice

In Maryland this year, MDDC defeated efforts to move government notices online and advocated passage of HB 385, which expanded the shield law to independent contractors.  In Delaware and DC, MDDC monitored legislation and attended hearings.  The Government Affairs Committee hosted regular members-only conference calls to provide legislative updates and provided talking points for member testimony and legislative meetings.   

Professional Development

In the fall of 2014, MDDC launched a professional development series in two tracks, editorial and sales.  This year, we hosted two webinars with experts in their fields and educated over a dozen members.  This fledgling program will continue with in-person workshops and additional webinars in 2015.  Available online, MDDC also maintains a calendar of programs provided by other organizations.  MDDC also maintains a robust job board, with listings from regional media organizations.

Legal Hotline

Media law experts at Holland & Knight, LLP received 16 hotline calls and expended about 25 hours of pro-bono services, valued at $15,000.  Calls covered a variety of subjects, including gambling, tobacco & firearms advertising, sealed court records, labor law, access to search warrants, agency commissions, and Maryland PIA request rejections.

Public Notice & FOIA Issues

MDDC’s FOIA/PIA sub-committee submitted PIA requests to all municipalities and counties in Maryland to understand how many PIA requests these governmental bodies receive and what happens to them.  MDDC worked with other advocacy groups to create a broader base of support for government transparency in Maryland, Delaware and DC.  Our public notice website provides a comprehensive clearinghouse for public notices published in Maryland, Delaware and DC.

Advertising Sales & Marketing

Participating members shared in profit distributions from the advertising networks.  Ninety-three publications shared $37,457 in the Classified Ad Network and 72 publications shared $53,755 in the Small Display 2x2 Network. The Newspaper Impact Network, a display and website advertising network administered by MANSI Media, placed 1,514,564 in member outlets. Advertising revenues from the networks provided 70% of overall revenue for the organization.   

Contests and Industry Recognition

Members strongly supported the editorial contest with 2013 entries from 72 publications.  The Advertising contest had 278 entries from 16 publications.  Over 200 people enjoyed a revamped awards presentation and publication in mid-May.  The Newspaper of the Year Awards went to The Baltimore Sun, The Frederick News-Post, Carroll County Times, The Aegis, Howard County Times and Baltimore Business Journal. Advertising Sweepstakes Awards went to The Frederick News-Post and Delaware State News.  The James S. Keat FOIA award went to The Daily Times, in Salisbury, MD.

Meetings & Events

Members networked and socialized at the spring happy hour in Ocean City and other events.  MDDC led a panel on the PIA and media at the Maryland Municipal League’s Fall Conference.  Mary J. Corey of The Baltimore Sun, Denise Riley of The Star Democrat and Brice Stump of The Daily Times were inducted into the Hall of Fame and the membership recognized Chris Eddings of The Daily Record with the Distinguished Service Award.

Student Journalism Programs

Eight member publications hosted MDDC interns this summer through the Reese Cleghorn Internship Program, providing paid internship experience to promising college journalists.  Additionally, Ben Fox, from Winston Churchill High School was selected as the High School Journalist of the Year.  The Press Foundation raised $7,000 for its programs and received $5,993 from the profit share distribution of the CAN network.

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