, Corbin, KY


February 3, 2014

Sometimes, it’s better to stay out of the way

CORBIN — This is the speech I gave last Friday at the Kentucky Press Association annual convention in Lexington.

I consider my year as president of the Kentucky Press Association to be highly successful, primarily because I didn’t do anything to muck it up.

Yes, the doors are still open at 101 Consumer Lane in Frankfort. We sold a lot of advertising for newspapers in 2013. We planned a great convention for you this week. We laid the groundwork for a very good 2014 when another president takes over. In other words, it was business as usual for KPA.

You see, when you’re part of the best press association in the country, with the best executive director and the best staff in the country, and the best board members, the best thing you can do as president is just to stay out of the way. I think I did that very well.

I do believe that my tenure as president made history though. I presided over what has to be the longest board meeting in KPA history. The summer board meeting in July lasted so long that some of our board members, perhaps for the first time in history, finally got tired of talking. I’m not going to mention any names, but yes it was a historic occasion.

It lasted so long because we had some very important issues to discuss. One was the creation of a director’s position for the KPA Journalism Foundation, whose primary job is to seek additional funding for our college internship program. We have a director in place now. Her name is Julia Meister, and she’s already beating the bushes so we can give more college students practical experience in the newspaper and public relations industries.

While some press associations are struggling to maintain existing services, KPA has made a substantial financial commitment to a brand new position, which I think will pay dividends.

Also at the July meeting, we hammered out a new funding mechanism for the Legal Defense Fund. Member newspapers agreed to increase or maintain their contributions to the fund, which to date has distributed more than $600,000 to help newspapers defray the cost of legal battles that are waged to keep public records open or to protect the freedom of information.

One of my biggest contributions as KPA president was on the golf course. Yes, I know it’s a tough job but someone had to do it. I was part of the winning team that brought home the trophy to Kentucky in the inaugural border war golf scramble with our counterparts in Tennessee.

It was for a good cause though, because we helped raise $10,000 for our journalism foundation, which will be used to fund three more college internships this summer. We will be placing 23 interns in newspapers and PR firms this summer, but the requests for interns are still double that amount.

We have about 50 interns apply for the summer jobs and more than 40 newspapers who’d like to hire them for 10 weeks. But we can only grant 23 internships at this time. That’s why I made increasing the funding for this program my top priority this past year.

We’re already busy planning the next border war that will be held in Kentucky this September. I expect to see many of you on the golf course this fall having a good time, shanking a few shots and donating your money to help college students gain valuable experience at our newspapers.

As president, I had the honor of carrying the Kentucky flag into the National Newspaper Association annual convention in Phoenix in September. I met and talked with newspaper people from all over the country, and got a positive vibe about our industry. My newspapers had a solid 2013 and are planning on having a great year in 2014. I hope yours are as well.

If you ask me what will I miss the most from this past year, I’ll have to admit it was the 103 degree, sunny days we had in Phoenix. Because frankly, I haven’t been warm since, and doesn’t look like I’m going to be any time soon thanks to this Polar Vortex.

I’ve been in the newspaper business for 34 years, and I’ve calculated based on my current financial holdings, that I can’t retire until five years after I’m dead. So, you’ll likely see me around.

I’m proud to join a long line of distinguished newspaper people who’ve served as president of the KPA. It was a very rewarding experience. I got a few things accomplished. I played some golf. I helped raise more money for our internship program. And I stayed out of the way.

Thank you.

Willie Sawyers is the publisher of the Times-tribune.

Text Only
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide