Home' Local Media Today : June 2005 Contents HOW KNOT TO BE A PUBLISHER
As a twenty-something sales rep at a weekly newspaper in Wayne,
Pennsylvania, I looked up to the publisher, wondering if one day I
could do that job. He was a nice guy, who kept a rather routine
schedule. Every Monday and Tuesday he drove to Philadelphia to
pick up ads from agencies. Wednesday he worked in the mailroom
operating the inserting machine. And Thursday and Friday he would
talk about politics. So that’s what publishers do, I thought.
He always wore a nicely starched shirt and a navy blue or red tie.
On Wednesdays, the tie would be tucked in between the second and
third shirt button. It took some time for me to get up the courage to
ask about this strange fashion. He told me that this was to prevent
the tie from being grabbed by the machine and his head being insert-
ed into the papers along with the Sears and JCPenney circulars.
And back in the days when ads were created with paper and wax,
our editor accidentally ran his new Father’s Day tie through the
waxer. These same waxing machines were responsible for countless
missing ads that would turn up on the bottom of the composing room
manager’s shoe two days after deadline.
But my favorite tie story took place during a routine sales call. Bob,
our Ad Director, and Justin, our Circulation Director, were making a
call to one of our largest advertisers to review with the manager the
distribution areas of our newspaper. While walking through the
parking lot to the advertiser’s variety store, Justin asked Bob if he
brought a copy of this week’s paper.
“No, I thought you would bring one.”
“I thought you would bring it. There’s a vending box – go buy one
and help boost our single copy sales.”
So Justin continued toward the advertiser’s store while Bob went to
buy one of our own papers to give to the advertiser. Bob put his
quarters in the box, opened the door and pulled out a paper. The box
slammed shut on his tie, pinning his face about two inches from the
front of the box.
Bob thought about his dilemma for a minute, and considered his
options. Bringing public attention to himself in an embarrassing sit-
uation was not one of them. So he discreetly yanked on his tie while
pretending to scrutinize the front page headlines. It didn’t budge. He
reached into his pockets and searched for two more quarters, but
alas, could feel only a few pennies and a dime.
“Justin” he called in a loud whisper. “Justin!” he repeated. He
didn’t yell very loudly as he didn’t want to bring too much attention to
himself, and the fact that he was talking directly into the front of the
vending box muffled the sound anyway, so Justin didn’t hear him.
It was a few minutes before Justin realized that Bob was not behind
him as he entered the store, so he turned back in search of his co-
“Bob, what are you doing hunched down in front of that box?”
“Give me two quarters,” pleaded Bob.
“Are you stuck?” Justin laughed.
“Give me two quarters!” demanded Bob with increased urgency in
So Justin finally acquiesced and sprung Bob from the jaws of our
newspaper box. Bob slowly stood up and brushed off his tie, pre-
tending that everything was normal and did his best to ignore the
small crowd that was watching him.
I have lots of fond memories of my many years in the newspaper
business. Our industry is the best there is at gathering and sharing
the latest news and community information with thousands of neigh-
bors. And I now know that being a publisher entails a whole lot
more than picking up ads, running the inserting machine and talking
politics. And I don’t wear a tie.
SNA Board President
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SNA is growing!
Mike Mall named to new position of
Advertising & Membership Relations Director
SNA has been in growth mode for several years now with an increased presence among national
retailers & other industry associations, double digit gains in contest entries & conference atten-
dance, and more members than ever before. Driving the momentum is the passion for the business
found among SNA members throughout the U.S . and Canada and the willingness of SNA leadership
to apply resources to areas where they can really make a difference to members.
With that objective SNA has recently created the new staff position of
Advertising & Membership Relations Director and has hired Mike Mall,
right, to fill the slot. The new position will benefit members in two ways.
On the advertising side, the Director will call on retailers, advertising agen-
cies, recruitment agencies and national advertisers to promote the value of
suburban and community newspapers. On the membership side, the
Director will meet with the management teams of SNA member newspa-
pers to update them on the activities of the association, deliver timely
research reports, brainstorm for specific needs and answer questions about
SNA and the SCAN network. According to SNA Executive Director Nancy Lane, “The new
Advertising & Membership Relations position should go a long way in helping members identify
new opportunities with major and national advertisers.”
“Mike is the perfect fit for this new position.”, said SNA Executive Director Nancy Lane. She went
on to say that “his contacts, experience and knowledge of major advertisers combined with a strong
passion for our association will be a winning combination for SNA members.” Mall started in the
position on May 31.
Mall had been Director of Major Accounts at Patuxent Publishing Company in Columbia, Maryland
since 2001. He joined Patuxent after a twelve-year career with The Baltimore Sun. While at The
Sun, Mike held various positions including Classified Sales Representative, Classified Telephone
Manager, Retail Advertising Sales Representative and Major Account Sales Executive. He was
named The Sun’s Sales Person of the Year in 1999.
Over the past few years, Mall has served on various SNA conference committees and was elected to
the SNA Board of Directors in September 2004. He has been especially active on the SNA
Marketing Committee and has been involved with group calls on several retailers including Target,
TJX Companies and NSA.
“I look forward to my new role with SNA”, said Mall after accepting the position. “I’ve been a
huge fan of this organization since my first conference four years ago. I thank Patuxent Publishing
Company for all that they have taught me about the importance of suburban and community news-
papers. This is truly an exciting time!”
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