The President's Message: February 2014
When the going gets tough, the CPF Tough get going!!!

This has never been truer of CPF and our member publications. While 2014 promises to continue challenging our industry, members of the Community Papers of Florida (CPF) continue to innovate, make operational adjustments to cope, and even thrive in this environment facing publishers today.

Across the state members are launching new products, pricing strategies and even expanding their businesses. For example, Tampa Bay Newspapers has expanded, launching three new monthly publications over the last two years, helping them grow their YOY revenues on two consecutive years. They also report their best January ever in display sales! Congratulations to Dan Autrey and Jay Rey for their successes. Forum Publishing Group has rapidly grown their digital offering and revenues under the leadership of their Digital Sales Manager, Greg Nell. At The Flyer, we have expanded our production capabilities for single sheet inserts, grown our commercial printing revenues significantly and are also going full speed ahead with digital expansion, launching our new Flyer Digital division under Marc Mandt. These and many other members' initiatives are revitalizing our industry statewide and keeping Florida in the forefront of the free newspaper industry.

And this excitement will dovetail into our annual conference. There will be plenty of training and social networking opportunities for you and your team members when you attend our annual conference, now scheduled in Orlando on September 18-20. We are excited to join forces with the Independent Free Papers of America (IFPA) and the Southeastern Advertising Publishers Association (SAPA) at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando. The conference's agenda is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and educational ever.For example, it has been years since CPF has brought paid speakers to their conferences. That is about to change!

For 2014, with the support of SAPA and IFPA, we have hit the jackpot. Included on the agenda are top national speakers Jay Baer, who is considered one of the top social media consultants in the country; Kelly Wirges, who excels with media companies in increasing sales; and Ryan Dohrn, a top media sales consultant. Also coming back to Florida is Diane Ciotta for an all day sales bootcamp that is sure to have you itching to get back to work!!!

And the conference committee is still working on what to add to the agenda. (See the conference brochure attached below for agenda details.)  Expect the best. These individuals' backgrounds are profiled elsewhere in this newsletter.

As an added bonus for our members, we will join SAPA and IFPA for the annual "Awards for Excellence" awards contest. This will give each publication an opportunity to win graphic or editorial awards on the national level. The awards contest will have a new format. Each entry will cost $5, thus making the contest truly "best-of-the-best." And to make entering your work easier, we will provide a Website to enter your awards. No longer will you have to scramble to dig through the files, find the best editorial or ad designs, package them and overnight or mail them to the CPF office. And instead of waiting until the last moment, you will be able to place these ads on the Website throughout the year! And then, when it is time, choose the ones you want to enter. Thank you to Douglas Fry at SAPA for designing this program.

The Friday night entertainment will be special. A few years ago Steve Tolliver, a long-time associate member of these associations with Newspaper Printing in Tampa, followed his life's dream and hit the road with his "Jimmy Buffet" type band, Trop Rock Junkies. He performs throughout Florida, including the Keys. He writes all of his own songs and has already won some key national writing awards. Welcome back, Steve.

Did we mention that the Caribe Royale Resort was the site of the 2013 CPF conference? It is a first-class resort that we all enjoyed and we are looking forward to returning to this resort.

CPF will pick up most of the rooms' costs. The board agreed the charge for two nights will be $49 per room per night. The fee will include food at the receptions, the training and entertainment.

On a sad note, we extend our condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of Brenda Knowles. Brenda, the publisher and editor of The Observer News in Ruskin, passed away on January 8 following a brief bout with cancer. For over 20 years she was a member and supporter of this association.

See you in Orlando!

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