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Nailing down the merger details

Doug Phares
Doug Phares

As we move closer to the effective date of Inland’s merger with the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, I want to bring you up to speed on the activity taking place behind the scenes to make this merger a reality.

There are many details that have to be worked out typical of any merger—combining differing technical infrastructures, merging member databases, creating a new dues structure, combining banking operations, designing employee benefit plans and insurance, and the like. These are all important and all will be completed by the professional staff of the two associations.

We also need to complete governance filings in Georgia and Illinois, and then file the necessary paperwork to create the new association which will be incorporated in the District of Columbia. Our attorneys are working on all of this and we’ll be ready by the October 1 when the two associations consolidate into this new association.

But, two critical decisions need to be made. We need to hire a CEO to lead the association, and we need to settle on a name for the new organization.

The joint merger committee is working with an executive search firm to identify and hire a new CEO that will handle the critical task of merging these two proud associations, and helping the elected leadership realize the bold promise of this association. We’ve identified several top-flight candidates and the search committee intends to complete its work in the coming weeks and announce its choice as soon as possible.

Also, the committee has hired a marketing and branding firm to help find a new name that speaks to the mission and vision of this new collaboration. One of the central tenants adopted by the joint committee is that the new association will not run from the newspaper heritage of both Inland and SNPA. Indeed, the mission statement underscores the association’s focus on newspapers and the critical role they play in their local communities. So, the name will center the new association around that principle.

As you can see, there’s much underway to make the merger a reality, but the work of the association does not stop. The agenda for the joint annual meeting is nearly complete and the program looks terrific.

Our gathering in Chicago will get off to a rousing start with a keynote from Mi-Ai Parrish, who will share her observations on newspaper sustainability from her career as a trailblazing editor and digital strategist. I’m also excited by the “lessons learned” sessions that will provide us with the practical results from the news and business initiatives our member newspapers have undertaken in partnership with Facebook, Google and Northwestern University’s Medill.

I’m looking forward to this program, to meeting with our SNPA partners—and seeing all of you in Chicago.