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Member Updates: COVID-19

 Resources and Tip Sheet for MPA Members

 

NOTE: Current and future updates to this resource hub will be available via the links below:



Thursday, March 19

 

Webinar: What Local Marketers Need to Know
Originally recorded live on March 18, 2020, this webinar offers guidance for local agencies and media companies on how to serve local businesses in times of crisis. The webinar describes how to help local marketers as they struggle with declining sales and customer distractions. It identifies which business might actually thrive with the right marketing and how you can help them gain a voice, how the “at home” community is causing a shift in consumption of local goods and services, and what those suffering the most will need when the recovery begins. Featured speakers are Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia; Matt Coen, president of Second Street Media; Matt Sunshine, Managing Partner at The Center for Sales Strategy; Jim Brown, EVP of Sales for Borrell Associates; Corey Elliott, EVP of Local Market Intelligence for Borrell; and Gordon Borrell, CEO.

Click here to access the webinar recording.
 
Relief for Small Business Owners
On a March 18 live stream discussion with more than 1,100 Mississippi Economic Council members, Gov. Tate Reeves requested a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration to aid small businesses and their employees impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The request would make loans available for affected businesses through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Click here
for information regarding SBA Disaster Assistance in response to the coronavirus.

Update from the Governor's Office
Gov. Tate Reeves has penned an Op-Ed on disaster response. Click here to download the article for use in your publications and online.

 

Reeves participated in a conference today via Facebook to address measures closing all Mississippi schools for at least 30 days.

Click here
to view the video.

USPS Update
From the National Newspaper Association — NNA members are asking whether we anticipate a shutdown of mail services. USPS has assured us it has seen only minor disruptions to its network so far. It has imposed some restrictions on international mail. At this point, it has advised mailers that the mail is an essential service.
 
Congress is discussing measures to shore up USPS as part of the corona stimulus packages. NNA will keep members informed as we know more.

Content from MCIR
Jerry Mitchell and the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting has produced this story on how the pandemic has exposed holes in statewide resources.

With cutbacks that include hundreds fewer employees working for the state Department of Health, Mississippi appears less equipped to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
 
“The public health system in Mississippi has been cut, which has certainly not helped,” said Buddy Daughdrill, executive director of the Mississippi Public Health Association. “The system is not in place that we need.”

The story is available to republish by all members. Click here to download it.

How to Cover the Pandemic
From Columbia Journalism Review As Jon Allsop notes in a recent CJR newsletter, advice and analysis that seemed pressing a week ago is quaint and complacent today. The impossible has become commonplace before our eyes.

 

We have no idea where this crisis is headed. But what we do know is that the coronavirus, in addition to being terrifyingly contagious, acts as an unusually merciless magnifying glass, showing the flaws in our politics, our healthcare system, our social safety net. And in our media.

 

Here is what we have learned so far.

 

Local Media Association Resources Hub
LMA will collect and update coverage and resources to help local media organizations and journalists during the coronavirus crisis.

Click here to visit the webpage.
 
PNPA Produces COVID-19 PSA Campaign

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association has produced a series of 3x5 advertisements on safety procedures and best practices for coping with the pandemic. They have been updated to include the MPA logo and leave space for members to add their own flags if desired.

Click here
to access the campaign PDFs.

Federal Stimulus Update
From the News Media Alliance — The Senate passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, in a 90-8 vote, that would make coronavirus tests free, ensure students continue to receive free lunches, and expand unemployment insurance. The legislation, which is headed to the President’s desk for signature, also requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who are unable to work because they are quarantined or because they have to care for a child whose school or day care has closed because of the coronavirus. After the two weeks, it requires up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave at 67 percent of the person’s normal pay, up to $200 per day or $10,000 maximum. To reimburse employers for this expense, the legislation provides refundable tax credits equal to 100 percent of qualified paid sick leave wages paid for each calendar quarter.

Read more

Reminder: Press Credentials
If you or your staff members need additional press cards, photo IDs, or window decals for your vehicles, contact Member Services Manager Monica Gilmer, 601-981-3060.

 


Wednesday, March 18

 

Essential and Non-Essential Businesses
There have been some rumors that there might be a 14-day national quarantine. The National Security Council has denied those rumors. Some states are calling for the shut down of businesses not deemed essential services. MPA has proactively reached out to the state leadership to reinforce the importance of the news media, stressing that if a business quarantine or curfew is established, the news media is and should be considered an essential business.
 
Content Sharing
MPA welcomes the sharing of content from its members. If you are willing to make your content available to fellow print and digital members for sharing, please email us. If we reach "critical mass," we will work to establish a portal to aggregate material and prepare a regular budget.

Mississippi Today makes content available now
Mississippi Today, a digital non-profit news operation based in Ridgeland, routinely makes its content available to members for republishing at no cost (certain restrictions do apply and all content must be credited to Mississippi Today). They are also offering to provide reporting resources during this crisis.

"We also want to provide reporting help and other support to our colleagues," said Editor-in-Chief Ryan Nave.

If you are interested in partnering with Mississippi Today or have ideas on how their operation can assist your, contact Nave or Managing Editor Harvey Parson.

Periodical Postal Permits and Public Notices
The United States Postal Service has advised the National Newspaper Association (NNA) Periodical permits will not be revoked if a newspaper suspends printing during coronavirus quarantines.

According the NNA, “Technically, a change in publication frequency requires a change in the permit. But during this emergency, USPS says a letter to the postmaster of the entry office advising USPS of the newspaper's revised publication plans will be sufficient. The letter should be updated as plans change.” 

Mississippi Code 13-3-31, Section 1 states: Whenever it is required by law that any summons, order, citation, advertisement or other legal notice shall be published in a newspaper in this state, it shall mean, in addition to any other requirements imposed by law, publication in some newspaper which: d) Has been established and published continuously for at least twelve (12) months next prior to the first publication of such matter to be published, is regularly issued at stated intervals no less frequently than once a week, bears a date of issue, and is numbered consecutively; provided, however, that publication on legal holidays of this state or of the United States and on Saturdays and Sundays shall not be required, and failure to publish not more than two (2) regular issues in any calendar year shall not disqualify a paper otherwise qualified.

We strongly urge any newspapers considering a reduced print frequency to communicate fully and in advance with local governments and public notice clients on procedures for going forward.

 
Newsprint Safety
The World Health Organization addresses the safety of packages and commercial goods in the following Q & A. The second to last question in this link explains the low risk of commercial products as a vector for the virus. According to the WHO, the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.
 
Employer FAQs on the COVID-19 Coronavirus
Fisher Phillips is a law firm specializing in labor and employment law. They have developed a comprehensive and frequently updated FAQ for employers as it relates to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. As an example, the FAQ addresses whether an employer must keep paying employees who are not working based on the employees work status.

Click here to view the FAQ

Additionally, MPA's general counsel law firm of Butler Snow in Ridgeland has prepared a COVID-19 Information hub available for reference.
 
Strategies for Employers to Use Now
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of recommended strategies for employers to use now. This is a list of helpful tips on how to communicate with employees and suggested policies. It reminds employers to ensure your sick leave policies are flexible and that employees are aware of the policies.

Click here to view the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
 
The United States Department of Labor also has prepared a guide for how to prepare for COVID-19 in the workplace.

Click here to view the guide
 
Legislative Update
The Mississippi Legislature announced March 18 it would recess until at least April 1 with House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann empowered to determine the actual length of the hiatus.

Governor's webinar
Gov. Tate Reeves, his family in self-quarantine following a recent vacation to Spain, delivered remarks and participated in Q&A this morning during a Mississippi Economic Council web conference. He addressed economic relief for small businesses, including Small Business Administration loans through emergency procedures.

To access the video, click here.

Press Credentials
If you or your staff members need additional press cards, photo IDs, or window decals for your vehicles, contact Member Services Manager Monica Gilmer, 601-981-3060.

 

For more information, contact:

Layne Bruce

Executive Director

601-981-3060

 


Tuesday, March 17

 

Coronavirus plan of action to be implemented 

The staff and Board leadership of MPA are announcing new policies in response to the extraordinary issue of the Coronavirus pandemic. Effective at 2 pm today, March 17, the Association will adopt a Work-From-Home (WFH) policy with one person assigned to the office daily on a part-time, rotating basis. This procedure will be evaluated routinely in accordance with state and federal recommendations on what is practical and safe for those who work for MPA-MPS.

Individuals working from home will be accessible via regular voice and email channels during normal business hours. The Executive Director is available at any time via cell phone, text, or email (contact information below). We do not intend nor expect any interruption of service to our members and clients. We will work very hard to be a valued source of communication and "distance" networking.

Clients — If MPS can assist you with any critical messaging or PSA announcements, please reach out to Andrea Ross or Sue Hicks. For messages and news releases directly related to COVID-19, we offer the use of our news release distribution service at no charge.

Members – MPA takes its role as a resource for industry information and inter-member communication seriously. We will stay in contact regularly through email communication and encourage any members not currently doing so to follow the Association through its social media channels.

For general questions about member services or the MPA Education Foundation, including requests for additional press cards for employees or decals for your cars, please reach out to Monica Gilmer.

At this time, work on the annual editorial contest scheduled for presentation July 11 in Biloxi is proceeding as usual. We understand the work of covering this rapidly evolving story will command much of your time in the days ahead, and Monica will be in contact with individuals who have volunteered to judge this year's Alabama Press Association contest so that we all stay up to date on that process as it moves forward.

Of note, the News Media Alliance has petitioned Vice President Mike Pence for newspaper media to be declared essential businesses/services during times of national emergency. Likewise, MPA is in contact with state leadership to ask the same.

Meanwhile, here are links to state and federal information hubs if needed.

You may find this document useful in preparing your business office space to implement recommendations from the World Health Organization.

We are keenly aware of the uncertainty we all face, and we know the critical role local journalists will play keeping our communities informed as we all weather the evolving crisis. Please do not hesitate to let us know how we can provide any additional information or support.

Be well,

Kevin Cooper
MPA-MPS President
Sr. Vice President, Boone Newspapers, Inc.

Layne Bruce
Executive Director
901-937-9413

 

 

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