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January 2024 NHPA newsletter

NH press responds to “invitation only” press conference held by House Speaker Sherman Packard

The move by the House Speaker on Dec. 27 to schedule a “press availability” while urging those invited not to alert other outlets drew universal criticism by NH news outlets and prompted an emergency meeting of the NHPA Executive Committee that was well-attended by general membership to draft a response.

NHPA President Brendan McQuaid is drafting a letter stating the NHPA’s objection to the notion of exclusionary press conferences and urging the Speaker to avoid the practice for events labelled “press availability,” “press conference” or the like. There was a consensus that the House Speaker, or anyone for that matter, is free to meet with whomever they chose, in any size group they want, but not when events are labelled in such a fashion.

The Executive Committee is investigating options for creating a mechanism by which the notification of any member of such events will trigger a notification to all members.

The Executive Committee will also try to schedule a meeting between NHPA representatives, the House Speaker, his communications coordinator and other key Legislative staff to obtain some clarity as to the rules governing reporting from the State House. With the session only a week old, reporters and photographers have already experienced several incidents in which they’ve been removed by security for reasons that no one was aware of and have not been a factor in the past. We would like the Legislative leadership to clearly articulate the ground rules so that their security staff and representatives of news outlets are all operating with the same understanding of what the rules are, what type of credentials are required, how they can be obtained and what access they allow.

Stay turned for updates on these efforts and the responses we receive.

Election Night reporters needed

The Associated Press is looking for stringers to gather election results for the NH Primary on Jan. 23.

The AP provides these results to national news outlets, but more importantly to local NH news outlet members including the Concord Monitor, Lebanon Valley News, The Laconia Daily Sun, The Telegraph, Foster’s Daily Democrat, the Portsmouth Herald and Newspapers of New England, Inc; as well as WMUR TV and more than a dozen radio station groups.

Stringers go to their assigned polling location just prior to the poll closing and call in the results. The pay is between $100 and $150 with additional earning opportunities. Call Judi Currie 603-997-2973 or email jcurrie@ap.org or fill out this short form: https://form.jotform.com/222664112070141

Edison Research, which provides election results for media nationwide, is looking for reporters to work on all upcoming elections.

The Vote Reporter position is an evening job, in which someone goes to a specific town office or polling place in New Hampshire around 7 or 8 PM depending on the town, on Election Night, and calls in results as they are released throughout the evening.

This position pays $100 for the evening, and typically takes a few hours. The results will be input and sent directly to partners at the National Election Pool (ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC) on Election Night and beyond.

New Hampshire is a very important place for politics in general, and the bigger towns in the state have been a challenge in the past, as they require a larger team.

In a 20-minute drive from Manchester, for example, there are 22 polling place and town office locations that will need coverage. Edition will be actively looking for reporters starting in late November, but the sooner they make contact with people who are interested now, the more likely they will be able to find interested students and faculty to help be part of the democratic process.

Anyone interested should email smagnacca@edisonresearch.com with contact information and the best day/time to be reached.

The New Hampshire Press Association is now accepting entries for the Distinguished Journalism Contest for 2023.

The NHPA contest for students and professionals has been launched, with an email going out to all colleges, high schools and NHPA members in mid-December.

The contest year includes all of 2023, right up to Dec. 31.

The contest deadlines are:

Monday, February 5, 2024, for the College and High School Contest

Monday, March 4, 2024, for the Professional Contest

There is now a separate contest and event for student journalists, to include college and high school students. Awards will be given at a day-long event in April, to include morning workshops, an awards luncheon, and afternoon networking opportunity or NHPA member job fair. See contest rules (link below) for the awards categories, which have been expanded for high school students this year. Otherwise, the rules are the same as last year.

Here are the pertinent links:

The contest homepage (All entries must go through this online platform):

https://www.newspapercontest.com/Contests/NewHampshirePressAssociation.aspx


The Professional Contest Rules (Essential Reading): 
https://portal.newspapercontest.com/newhampshire/downloads/NHRules.pdf 

The College and High School Contest Rules (Essential Reading): 

https://portal.newspapercontest.com/newhampshire/downloads/NHCollegeRules.pdf

A how-to for the online entry process
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jyqfjQm3zkp9b6VjjLcQykkr6M_k_d5i5bsyKR_zjcc/edit

Questions: contest@pressnh.org

Remember: Your dues for 2023-2024 must be current to enter the contest. Any questions about the status of dues payment can be directed to me at pressnh@gmail.com.

Happy entering, with an eye toward another great series of events, the recognition you and your team deserve, and the peer support we all need now more than ever.

Update on pending legislation

Now that the Legislature is back in question, the NHPA Legislative Committee, under the direction of Chair Annmarie Timmins is keeping a watchful eye on bills affecting the Right to Know Law and other matters of interest to our members.

We have joined other stakeholders in supporting a bill that would help in covering costs associated with right to know requests that result in court cases. See the “Statement in Support of HB307” endorsed by the NHPA and other stakeholders, in an effort led by the NH-ACLU.

High School and College workshops taking shape

At a well-attended December meeting dedicated to workshop planning for our April event, members brainstormed ideas for the three morning sessions and agreed that one would focus on podcasting, another on artificial intelligence and a third on “Tales from the Trenches,” in which students from Plymouth State will discuss their efforts to report on how student activity fees are spent.

The group also reviewed sponsorship levels available to organizations that may want to support the NHPA as sponsors of one or more events in the year ahead, including our student conference and professional awards banquet. We had our first banquet sponsors in 2023 and hope to build on that success in 2024. If you would like to know more about the various levels, either as a potential sponsor or someone willing to make outreach on our behalf, please email pressnh@gmail.com

Membership update

The NHPA welcomes its newest individual member in the freelance category, Judi Currie of Currie Creative, based in Portsmouth. Many of us have worked with Judi over the years in her roles at various news outlets in the state, and she is a great addition to our freelance membership, which now stands at six members.

Happy New Year to all.

Dave Solomon, Executive Director

The NH Press Association

pressnh@gmail.com

www.pressnh.org

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