By: George Garneau
Lowered dues structure, new requirements result in
more Newspaper Association of America members;
annual budget is cut by 20% to $26.9 million;
Newspaper Center may be put up for sale sp.
THE NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION of America says membership has rebounded since May, when it lowered dues for smaller papers and required all newspapers in a chain to join if one does.
The Reston, Va.-based association said 409 papers have signed up since then, bringing membership to 1,496 U.S. and Canadian dailes and weeklies, or more than 85% of U.S. daily circulation.
Eight chains with a total of 271 newspapers accounted for 200 new memberships. Newspaper groups now reporting full membership are: Copley Newspapers, Donrey Media Group, Dow Jones & Co.’s Ottaway Newspapers, Freedom Newspapers, Nixon Newspapers, Pioneer Newspapers, Sandusky Newspapers and Thomson Newspapers.
The dues changes, announced at NAA’s convention in San Francisco, were designed to bring back the small papers that had strayed away during three dues increases and a tumultuous series of changes since NAA gobbled up a handful of industry groups two years ago.
The association’s continuing restructuring, the result of what it calls a “visioning process,” has prompted NAA to concentrate its efforts on five strategic priorities: marketing, public policy, diversity, development and operations. Plummeting membership over two years also forced NAA to lower dues, and to slash expenses 20% this year to make up for lower dues revenues.
At a board meeting Sept. 21 in Washington, NAA approved a budget of $26.9 million for the fiscal year beginning last June, down from $30.5 million the previous year.
“The outcome of the visioning process is a more focused and effective NAA that will help its members better serve their customers,” Charles Brumback, who is chairman of NAA and Tribune Co., said in a prepared statement.
NAA also elected a new, smaller board of 34 people, down from more than 70. They serve two-year terms.
In other changes, the board approved expanding its executive committee, its core leadership structure, to up to nine people, from seven. The new executive committee is composed of five elected officers; the heads of two key committees, marketing and public policy; plus two people whom the chairman has the discretion to appoint to ensure all groups are represented.
Brumback named a black male, Orage Quarles III, president and publisher of the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald, and an Hispanic male, Alejandro Aguirre, deputy editor/publisher of Diario Las Americas, Miami.
Elected to the executive committee were James Currow, president of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, who also becomes chairman of the marketing