MPA joins reading initiative

WASHINGTON: The Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) will join the

American Association of Publishers (AAP) next week as a new partner in

its Get Caught Reading campaign, a nationwide initiative to stimulate

public interest in reading.



First launched in 1998, Get Caught Reading originally encouraged people

to read through grassroots efforts and posters featuring celebrities

reading books. Starting next week, however, the campaign will feature

figures such as Derek Jeter, Jane Seymour and even Donald Duck reading

magazines.



Linda Rosenbaum, MPA VP of public relations, said that her organization

had joined the campaign for two reasons: to stimulate magazine sales and

increase MPA's visibility with members of Congress.



'This is a program that gives the magazine industry an opportunity to

get behind an important cause and gain visibility on Capitol Hill,' she

said. 'We are very actively involved in lobbying efforts in the area of

postal reform, privacy and copyright issues. Anything we can do as an

organization to gain visibility in Congress for a popular cause like

literacy can only benefit the industry.'



Which is why the MPA has chosen Capitol Hill to stage a press conference

next week to announce the campaign and debut the posters. Several

members of Congress, including Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Jim Kolbe

(R-AZ), are expected to attend.



In addition to the posters, the campaign will consist of a grassroots

effort to encourage reading in local communities. MPA and AAP will be

encouraging local libraries, schools, retail book outlets and even

supermarkets to coordinate events, such as guest celebrity readings, in

their own areas. The publishing groups will be sending out Get Caught

Reading starter kits to aid local efforts.



Rosenbaum added that the campaign is operating on a 'minimal' budget but

will receive more than dollars 1 million in free advertising space from

member publications such as Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes and

Gardens and Playboy.



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