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Executive Director Update - October 2014

Heading into the 4th quarter of 2014, the Association has been looking ahead to 2015.  Through the hard work of our committees and members we will focus on moving our legislative agenda forward, increasing our ad network and sponsorship revenues,  and expanding our events and trainings. 

In Maryland, the Government Affairs committee thinks we can press for PIA reform through expansion of the Open Meetings Compliance Board to hear violations of PIA.  Ellen Valentino and I continue to meet with elected officials on this issue.  In order to bolster our position, we are working to scope out the costs that may be associated with the expansion of the Open Meetings Compliance Board.  Jim Lee, chair of the FOIA/PIA sub-committee, and editor of the Carroll County Times, is working on a PIA request project that queries each county and municipality in Maryland about the number of PIA requests they have received in the past year and their disposition and associated costs. Armed with this information, we can have a better sense of how many requests are denied and how many cases may go before an expanded Compliance Board.  Additionally, I have begun working with a network of other groups in Annapolis that are interested in pushing forward with this initiative. 

MDDC staff is working hard to increase revenue to our member publications and to the association itself.  After analyzing the sales in our networks, Wanda Smith and I have revamped sales materials and created new zones to attract new advertisers.  Our most recent sales webinar connected members to MANSI Media, which represents MDDC publications to larger regional and national clients.  MDDC's partnership with MANSI Media replaced the Newspaper Impact Network in 2010.  One of our goals is to increase the advertising from MANSI placements as well as the advertising in our own networks.  We will also be offering sponsor packages to support our events and programs.  In concert with member publications and the Press Foundation board, I've been working on a sponsorship package that will support our Internship Program and have begun rolling the opportunity out to potential sponsors. 

This month, we launched our profesional development series with two webinars.  We have six more tremendous opportunities (both webinar and in-person) for learning coming up in 2015 and I urge you to register for the series.  MDDC is also planning to revamp the Advertising contest and move it to the fall of 2015.  We're building on the foundation of terrific programs like the awards luncheon and Hall of Fame evening. Our internship program will match publications with student journalists for intensive, real-world experiences.

In the coming weeks, I will be reaching out to publishers for information about your publications to help the Dues group navigate discussions about how to structure our dues.  The board established this group at the September board meeting with the goal of evaluating our dues structure for 2016.  All dues will be frozen at the current levels for 2015. 

Thank you for helping to make our industry innovative and vibrant and for your time and energy for the Association!

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