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January Spring

IPA HEADLINES

CONVENTION RECAP: Print and Digital Do Mix!

PrintDigitalMix3

Panelists (from left) AnnMarie Morris, sales director for January Spring; John Galer, owner and publisher of Hillsboro Journal Inc.; Jason Hegna, vice president of sales and revenue for Shaw Media; and James Bengfort, associate publisher for Illinois Times in Springfield, talk during the session "Print and Digital Do Mix!" during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation Convention on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)

 

By ERIN HENKEL
For Illinois Press Association

SPRINGFIELD – John Galer’s message during the first session of the first in-person Illinois Press Association/Foundation convention since 2019 was straightforward.

“If you don’t have something digital, you’re not going to have an audience in the long run,” said Galer, owner and publisher of Hillsboro Journal Inc.

Galer was a panel member during the “Print and Digital Do Mix!” discussion on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel. Also on the panel were AnnMarie Morris, sales director for January Spring, Jason Hegna, vice president of sales and revenue for Shaw Media, and James Bengfort, associate publisher for Illinois Times in Springfield.

The fireside chat style panel, as described by Morris, emphasized the importance of combining digital with traditional print products.

Offering digital content with print content not only increases the total buy but benefits the client with more audience engagement and market penetration.

“I use the McDonald’s philosophy,” Bengfort said. “If McDonald’s thought that they could make more money just selling burgers they would just sell burgers, but they do sell their combo meals, which is what our goal is to do, …to increase that total buy as long as it’s doing a good job for the client because we want them to be benefited.”

There has been some push back in the industry from people who feel that print advertising is a safer, more profitable option as opposed to digital advertising. Bengfort argues that in the long -term, bundles and combo packages offer more revenue and broader service to the client.

“There are some clients that we can’t deliver the audience based on our pages so we do outsource or look for other things that will do what that client needs to reach that specific audience,” Bengfort said.

Galer created a successful combo that combined print and digital advertising that appealed to clients such as health care agencies that serve the community. Galer’s focus is on community journalism and has found that the combo packages serve his clients well.

“The promo that I started early on with the quarter-page and the banner has been very successful for the right customer,” Galer said.

One popular digital tool being used to reach specific audiences are newsletters that can be tailored to fit a certain demographic that advertisers are trying to reach.

“Newsletters have become really big for us,” Hegna said. “We’ve been really segmenting out—we have morning update newsletters, we have breaking news newsletters, we have town specific newsletters. I think our email list has gotten over half a million [subscribers].”

Newsletters provide data analytics that represent quantitative proof of which audiences are being reached and how many engagements are occurring with the advertiser’s message.

“Our newsletter, like Jason said, is the most engaged because the reporting,” Bengfort said. “I can send a report back to the clients saying ‘122 people just clicked on your banner ad when they clicked on this story,’ so its quantifiable proof.”

A simple open of a newsletter is no longer a valuable measure of audience engagement after Apple made a change to its email platform in January. The change is meant to enhance privacy protections for Apple users but has made it more difficult to analyze email campaign effectiveness.

“In January of this year, Apple made a change on their email platform which is essentially showing that every email being sent to and opened on an Apple device is an open whether or not they are opening it, so open rates are no longer the measure that we are looking for and are no longer relevant,” Morris said.

Contests and promotions are also a popular option being used to reach a wide array of markets because audiences find them entertaining.

“We have a miniature butter cow contest sponsored by Prairie Farms Dairy because in 2020 there wasn’t a [State] fair, …so we created this sponsorship contest through Second Street where people uploaded a picture of their creation, it was free to enter and we gave $500 cash prizes away and they were on display for the State Fair but we had opt-in questions for Prairie Farms and had around 600 opt-ins,” Bengfort said.

Another point that was emphasized during the panel discussion is passion and teamwork for a successful campaign

“You can only sell what you believe in. …We started having these all-staff meetings where we were bringing all the reps together and the team together. It really made them feel like they were part of a much larger team,” Hegna said.

Attendees continued the conversation on combining print and digital during power sessions that followed. The round table offered a way to brainstorm ideas with people across a wide range of markets.

PrintDigitalMix2

John Galer talked about a successful combination of print and digital advertising that appealed to clients such as health care agencies that serve the community. "The promo that I started early on with the quarter-page and the banner ahs been very successful for the right customer," said Galer, whose flagship paper, The Journal-News in Hillsboro, focuses on community journalism. (Photos by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)

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Press Releases

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2024

Contact Information:
K. Eric Larson
(847) 997-2109
elarson@eyso.org
 

Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras to premiere new compositions at Terra metallicum on Saturday, April 13
 

ELGIN, Illinois. (April 11, 2024) – Wanees Zarour, a renowned performer, educator, and expert in Middle Eastern music, will join the award-winning Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras (EYSO) as guest artist for a genre-bending evening of musical collaboration and performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in the Auditorium at South Elgin High School at 760 E Main St, South Elgin.

EYSO’s flagship Youth Symphony and its Brass Choir will perform with Zarour, who has been working with EYSO student musicians in rehearsals this past month, and through a masterclass at the high school earlier in the day. They will premiere two new compositions at this concert.

Zarour is an award winning Palestinian-American composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist steeped in maqam and jazz music. His compositional and arranging styles transcend borders and draw from traditions spanning the entire globe. 

For millennia, the complex and rich relationships between the natural world and humankind have captivated scholars, scientists, philosophers, and artists. Fruitful and fraught, timeless, and fragile, these relationships inspire a tremendous spectrum of artistic expressions that imitate, investigate, and emulate the interconnected worlds of nature and humanity. In EYSO's 48th season, explore how sound reflects the natural and built worlds around us — and how the two are united through music.

To see a more complete list of performances or for tickets, go to www.eyso.org/concert. In addition to traditional in-person seating, tickets are available to experience the concerts via live streaming.

About EYSO
The mission of EYSO is to create a community of young musicians, enriching their lives and the lives of their families, schools, communities and beyond, through the study and performance of excellent music.

EYSO serves students from 70 Chicagoland communities and has a national reputation for providing students with an engaging musical experience and a comprehensive learning environment of curiosity, imagination, critical thinking, and collaboration. Students explore a thematic curriculum each season — one that helps students develop artistically and technically, and prepares them for a future of complex ideas, creative risk-taking, and leadership as global citizens. This approach has led hundreds of alumni to successful careers as professional musicians, educators, and strong leaders in every field. The theme of EYSO’s 48th season is GAIA through which students explore how sound reflects the natural and built worlds around us—and how the two are united through music. 

EYSO is accepting applications to audition for the 2024-25 season at www.eyso.org

To learn more about EYSO, visit www.eyso.org or call (847) 841-7700.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2024

Contact Information:
Monique Whitney
(505) 480-4150
email: monique@truthrx.org greynolds@ipha.org
 

Illinois pharmacists rally at State Capitol to end prescription drug middlemen patient steering, support increased state oversight

Community pharmacists call attention to increasing prescription drug costs, decreased access to care and emerging pharmacy deserts correlated to pharmacy benefit manager practices.

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL (March 5, 2024) – Illinois pharmacists will gather at the State Capitol today to rally in support of HB 4548 and SB 2790, proposed legislation which would eliminate controversial practices by prescription drug middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. The rally is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. and will be held near the Lincoln statue, located at the east end of the State Capitol and will include brief remarks by bill sponsors and constituents negatively impacted by PBM prescription drug pricing practices.

If enacted, HB 4548, sponsored by Rep. Jones, would protect patients’ right to receive prescription medication from the pharmacy of their choice, banning the lucrative PBM practice of “steering” patients to PBM-owned or affiliated pharmacies or mandatory mail order. Sen. Koehler’s SB 2790 would empower the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services with greater oversight of PBM contracts; monitoring of payments made to PBMs and pharmacies; and ensuring PBM rebates negotiated on behalf of HFS are fully paid to HFS.

“We applaud Representative Jones, Senator Koehler and the many members of our state legislature who are championing these critical measures that would protect the state’s patients and pharmacy providers,” said Illinois Pharmacists Association President Rupesh Manek, RPh, pharmacist and Rochelle-based pharmacy owner. “The proposed legislation is evidence of a responsible governing body aware of the pitfalls that come with overpaying pharmacy benefit managers for services that should be provided in the interest of fiscal responsibility, not overcompensating shareholders.”

Last May, Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino released the results of a Performance Audit of Pharmacy Benefit Managers, finding the state’s Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) department did not have complete copies of the contracts between managed care organizations and PBMs necessary to conduct monitoring of contract provisions, or between PBMs and pharmacies to be able verify accuracy or rate of reimbursement to pharmacies. The result of passage of SR 792 in 2022, the Performance Audit of the Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) PBMs identified over $200 million over 2 years in spread pricing overbilling to the MMC prescription program.

Anne Cassity, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said “NCPA commends the Office of the Auditor General for its diligence in revealing gross overpayment to PBMs in Illinois’ Managed Medicaid program. Sadly, Illinois is joining numerous other states in recognizing how PBMs harm both the patients and payers – both public and commercial – they purport to serve. We urge Illinois to join the ranks of states who have established comprehensive PBM regulation with strong enforcement provisions to ensure patient access to pharmacy services at their neighborhood community pharmacy.”

PBMs manage patients’ prescription drug benefit, acting as the liaison between the patient, the pharmacy, and the patient’s employer or health plan sponsor. Since 2019, numerous studies have uncovered evidence of PBMs practices that result in endpayers paying significantly more for patients’ prescription medication than the patient’s pharmacy was reimbursed (a practice called “spread pricing”); and patients “steered” away from their pharmacy of choice to PBM-owned/affiliated pharmacies. Additional studies have shown the drug manufacturer rebates PBMs negotiate increase a drug’s list price year over year, causing patients to pay more out of pocket because of rebate-inflated costs. For more information on the rally or how PBM practices are affecting Illinois patients and taxpayers, contact Illinois Pharmacists Association at IPhA.org. Learn more about NCPA, the country’s largest organization of independent pharmacy owners, at NCPA.org. To understand how PBM practices affect patient care and affordability of medication for consumers and end payers, visit PUTT’s website at TruthRx.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 4, 2024

Contact Information:
William Nissen, publisher of the elderparole.org website
(312) 882-6338
email: wmjnissen@gmail.com
website: https://www.elderparole.org/
 

Advocates to deliver letters of support for elder parole bill, HB 2045, to governor, lieutenant governor, and legislative leaders in Springfield on March 6, 2024
 

CHICAGO (March 4, 2024) - Advocates for the passage of HB 2045, which would establish an elder parole process in Illinois, plan to hand deliver more than 900 signed letters of support for the bill to the Springfield offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and legislative leaders on March 6, 2024.

The elder parole bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-27th), would provide a parole process for approximately 1,000 people in Illinois prisons who are aged 55 years or older and have served at least 25 years.

The letters come from people across the State of Illinois and beyond, including people incarcerated in Illinois prisons. Most of the letters make the following points in support of enactment of the bill:

• The Illinois prison population has been steadily aging.

• Older inmates are often sick and infirm.

• Illinois is not providing the medical care that is needed by these aging inmates.

• A court-appointed monitor has identified elder abuse in Illinois prisons where preventable deaths have occurred due to the state’s failure to provide proper medical care.

• The medical care that is being provided is very costly to the state and the cost will only worsen as more inmates age.

• The Joe Coleman Medical Release Act is not solving the problem because too few people are sick enough to qualify and many of those who qualify are being denied release.

• Many older inmates have maintained close ties to their friends and families, who will support them in transitioning to life outside prison.

Under the bill, no one would be entitled to release, but rather eligible people would be given the opportunity to present their individual circumstances to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board and request release.

The bill requires the board to decide whether to grant parole based on several considerations, including rehabilitation, character references, participation in educational and work programs, and criminal and disciplinary history. The bill also provides that victims’ families would be notified and given the opportunity to participate in the parole hearing.

In 1978, Illinois abolished discretionary parole for those sentenced on or after Feb. 1, 1978. Since then, the growth in the prison population has far outpaced the increase in the state’s general population, and the percentage of the prison population 55 years or older has also increased significantly.

Dr. John Raba, the former medical director of Cermak Health Services, which provides health care at the Cook County Jail, is the court-appointed monitor in a class action where state officials have entered into a consent decree requiring that adequate medical care be provided in Illinois prisons. Dr. Raba has reported that the state is not meeting the needs of older prisoners and does not have the resources to provide such care.

According to Dr. Raba’s reports, the inadequate health care is resulting in elder abuse and avoidable deaths. Dr. Raba has recommended that a pathway to early release of prisoners be established. This bill would establish a reasonable pathway.

Rep. Slaughter has explained the need for this bill as follows: “This bill would establish a much needed mechanism for considering on an individual basis whether there is no longer any public interest to be served by continuing to imprison an individual who has aged and served significant time, because the individual has become rehabilitated, is not a threat to public safety, and neither the public nor the individual would benefit from that individual’s continued imprisonment. The
people covered by the bill are the least likely to re-offend and the most expensive to care for, given medical expenses and end-of-life care.”

Here are links to the text of most of the letters to be delivered and to a fact sheet for the bill:

Text of letter supporting enactment of HB 2045: https://bit.ly/3sd6aE9

Fact sheet for HB 2045: https://bit.ly/3P5jvph

 
 
 
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