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Newspapers Get a New and Powerful Champion


As you can read elsewhere in this issue of The Inlander, the memberships of both Inland and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association have approved the merger of these two proud associations.

Before I review what happens next, I want to tell you why our Board unanimously approved and supported this move.

As we all know, our industry has seen a significant change in the last decade. There has been a migration to larger groups and an exiting of many long-term family owners. It has also seen a seismic shift in the 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.

This new association will be a champion of the newspaper industry and a proactive voice that promotes the value and contributions of newspapers to the communities that they serve. We will embrace this new role while continuing to support members in their need to adapt their business models to a changing landscape.

This new association will provide members with materials and training on how to educate and inform their communities about the indispensable value of newspapers and local journalism. It will provide resource-rich, in-person events with a larger pool of attendees, speakers and vendors, and expanded and improved opportunities for free digital training and idea-sharing. It will provide industry research and white papers, focus on sustainable business models, and provide enhanced coordination and partnerships with j-schools and other industry organizations.

The new association will have a board of 25, including 18 regular directors, three associate directors, four officers, and one, non-voting ex officio Chief Executive Officer.

The two foundations affiliated with Inland and SNPA will remain wholly independent with their own Boards of Directors and officers. But, the two foundations will provide the new association with annual funding for the for programs that conform with the missions of those two foundations.

In the coming weeks, our attorneys will begin filing the needed governance documents in Illinois, Georgia and the District of Columbia to create this consolidated association.

Meanwhile, we have retained a marketing and branding firm to work on naming and messaging, we have launched a search for a new chief executive officer, and we are working through the many administrative and operational details associated with the consolidation. Our goal is to complete the consolidation by September 30 and launch the new association on October 1.

Once again, I want to thank you for approving this historic step for our association and its members.

—Doug Phares