The Literal Championship Offseason: Seahawks Edition

Sports with Neil and Friends

The flame of Sochi’s Winter Olympics torch has been extinguished, the NBA and NHL seasons are well underway, and MLB Spring Training is next on the sports docket but take it from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in that there is “no time to sleep”, on NFL coverage that is.

The 2014 NFL draft class just finished up showcasing their talents and abilities in various positional drills to scouts, coaches, general managers and other personnel at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. That means each participating university’s individual Pro Day serves as the last first-hand look teams will get on the players appearing on their big board before the NFL Draft goes live from Radio City Music Hall in New York on May 8.

The NFL’s free agency period does not officially begin until March 11, when current contracts expire and players are free to sign with the NFL team of their…

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ComJour 475 Write-Up #2: Eric LaFontaine

PULLMAN, Wash. Eric LaFontaine, publisher of the Othello Outlook and Board of Trustees member for the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s Board visited students at WSU’s Murrow College of Communication on Wednesday afternoon.

LaFontaine spoke with students about his career, how we ended up where he is, and how others can enjoy a similar path in journalism.

The chat began with LaFontaine’s effort to loosen up the class with a joke about a pirate and a magician but the punchline seemed to be lost on the students.

He told the class he graduated from the University of Washington in 1999 with a B.A. degree in Political Science and worked in behavioral healthcare for three years as director of public relations.

In 2007, he was hired as the Publisher and Editor of the Othello Outlook, a 100-year-old community newspaper with modest readership based in Othello, Washington. Six months later, competition in the form of another local newspaper caused some serious issues for LaFontaine.

The Othello Outlook published bi-weekly every Wednesday and was priced at $1 per week or readers could purchase an annual subscription for $35.

The new publication not only published a day before LaFontaine’s, but was free.

LaFontaine closely monitored the situation and it began clear that he was losing readers, and therefore money. He then spoke about the unique set of challenges he faced in making sure the Outlook lived to see another centennial.

He improved the Outlook’s social media reach, redesigned the website from the ground up to the point where it won awards, and even published free supplementel content a day before the competition in order to bring back interest in the Outlook.

One of the most important points in LaFontaine’s discussion was the crucial aspect of tailoring content to the interests of your readers.

“Figure out your community and depending on who and what you write for, you have got to write for your audience,” said LaFontaine.

He said that Othello’s population is 80 percent Latino and 40 percent under the age of 30 years old.

LaFontaine stressed that part of knowing your community comes from experiencing what the area has to offer. Even though he lives in Moses Lake, he knows how to tailor to the citizens of Othello.

He also spoke about the challenges of micromanaging people at a small newspaper and took questions in the room.

LaFontaine said he’s hiring, passed out his business cards to the room and told students to keep writing, getting published, and take photos to become a multi-faceted reporter.

Guidestar Questions

1. Guidestar, which requires (free) registration, can help identify nonprofits across the country. Register and find the following data.
a. Login and find World Vision.
1. What was World Vision’s revenue last year?


2. What was value of its assets?

$249, 213, 398

3. What were total expenses of World Vision?


4. What percent of its total expenses was related to program services?

If we do deep into these federal filings we can see where the nonprofit spent its money, how much it paid its officers, and how much it received in contributions.

b. Let’s look at American National Red Cross.


c. How did contributions change from 2012 report to 2011?

They went down from 1,013,873,120 in 2011 to 741,190,737 in 2012.

2. On the Guidestar front page, click on “Advanced Search” for Washington.
a. List the top two nonprofits by income.

Community Foundation for Southwest Washington ($8,521,215)
Community Foundation of North Central Washington ($4,948,292)

3. Now search for nonprofits in “Pullman, Washington.”
a. List three local nonprofits.

United Way of Pullman
Pullman Rotary Charity
Leonard and Irene Berekson Private Foundation

b. Sort these by income. Which had the highest income?

1. United Way of Pullman ($191,471)

2. Leonard and Irene Berekson Private Foundation ($189,879)

3. Pullman Rotary Charity ($0)

c. Look at the 990 for the nonprofit with the highest income.


d. On Line 8, we can see that contributions and grants increased from the prior year to the current year. What was the percent increase?

Prior Year: 201,720
Current Year: 176,891

PI: 14.036327455890914%

e. What is the nonprofit’s mission?

To increase the organized capacity of people of the local community to care for one another via support of health and human services agencies.

f. How much does the foundation have in assets?

g. Who received the most compensation and how much? (Hint: Go to Schedule J)

Not sure on this question, J referred me to their website?

h. How much did foundation give to rabies research in sub-saharan Africa?
Not sure.

i. How much did foundation pay board member Duane Brelsford for office lease?

Not sure. I cannot find this information.

4. Search again ( for Washington nonprofits by topic, e.g. arts, education, environment, health.)
a. Look at the report for the Community Action Center

Found it.
b. Look at the report for Alpha Gamma Delta.
Found it.