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A new era as Inland and SNPA members approve merger

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Inland members overwhelmingly approved a proposed merger with the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.

Nearly 1,000 of Inland’s 1,100 members cast ballots in favor of the merger. The balloting began on June 7 and concluded Friday, June 28.

Inland was founded in Chicago in 1887 and has served the newspaper industry continuously since then.

Inland members also approved a series of changes in the bylaws of the Inland Press Foundation. Those changes allow the foundation board to nominate and elect its directors and officers, making the foundation wholly independent from the new association that will be created from the merger of Inland and SNPA.

In a parallel vote conducted over the same period, the membership of SNPA also gave overwhelming approval to the proposed consolidation of the two associations.

The merger will take effect on Oct. 1.

Inland President Doug Phares said of the merger, “Our industry has seen a significant change in the last decade. There has been a seismic shift in the newspaper business model and long-held practices have been upended.

“We believe that there is a critical need for an industry association that provides voice, focus and function equal to the challenges of this new reality.”

The composition of the new association’s board and officers will be evenly split between Inland and SNPA members. The new board will include 18 regular directors, three associate directors, four officers, and a non-voting chief executive officer.

The Inland and SNPA foundations will remain independent of the new association. However, they have each agreed to provide the new association with annual funding to support programs that conform with the missions of the two foundations.

The new association will be incorporated in the District of Columbia. Attorneys jointly retained by Inland and SNPA will begin filing the necessary governance documents in Illinois, Georgia, and the District of Columbia to create the consolidated association.

Meanwhile, activity is already underway to bring the consolidation to reality. A marketing firm has been retained to develop marketing and branding for the new association. Also, a search has begun for the chief executive of the association. The two organizations are working through several transition issues, including a new dues structure, staffing, and other operational and financial details.