By: MARK FITZGERALD
CANADA’S DAILY NEWSPAPERS have folded their old trade association and replaced it with one that reflects the state of their industry: Fast-moving, cost-conscious and dominated by a few corporate owners.
Officially, the new Canadian Newspaper Association replaces the Canadian Daily Newspaper Association and the Newspaper Marketing Bureau on Oct. 1.
Unofficially, the CNA has been in business since April 30, when an industry task force recommended scrapping the CDNA and NMB and creating an association with a much tighter management and mission.
The Canadian reorganization comes four years after the United States newspaper industry completed its own reorganization by folding the old American Newspaper Publishers Association, the Newspaper Advertising Bureau and five other marketing associations into the Newspaper Association of America.
However, unlike the NAA process ? which took several years of public and private wrangling to achieve ? Canada’s newspapers reorganized themselves in just six months.
“I think everything went remarkably well all things considered,” said Roger Parkinson, the American who is publisher of Canada’s biggest newspaper, the Toronto-headquartered Globe & Mail.
Of course, in an industry that counts Conrad Black and Pierre Peladeau among its heavyweights ? and that is attracting unwelcome attention from federal and provincial regulators for its concentrated ownership ? there were hiccups in the process.
A July 1 deadline to hire a chief executive officer, for instance, slipped and Parkinson has found himself far more visible in the organization than he intended.
The idea that the CDNA needed to be reformed had been kicking around the industry for a long time, Parkinson said, although mostly for budgetary rather than mission reasons.
At bottom, CDNA had one structural flaw that inhibited its effectiveness: “CDNA and NMB were primarily led by the publishers and executives of [individual] newspapers, but had been paid for by the corporations,” Parkinson said.
In addition, there was a feeling that CDNA did not have a clearly defined purpose.
Not surprisingly, the corporations frequently wondered what they were getting from CDNA.
And in Canada’s newspaper industry, corporate ownership cannot be ignored for long.
“The newspaper industry in Canada is quite different from the U.S. . . . Seven companies . . . control something like 80% of circulation and, therefore, the corporate owners are more important in Canada than in the U.S.,” Parkinson said.
The impetus to reorganize came earlier this year when longtime CDNA executive director John E. Foy announced his intention to resign effective June 30.
Parkinson organized an informal group of representatives from the major chains to discuss options and survey newspapers about their needs. From this group came a recommendation for a tightly focused and tightly managed association.
CNA would have three missions:
u Advocacy: Facing federal and provincial regulation on issues ranging from antitrust to environmental rules to tax and postal rates, CNA will put together the first real lobbying effort in the industry’s history.
u Affiliation: By this, the CNA means that it will link member-newspapers with services provided by others, rather than originate services. For instance, rather than offer technical services, CNA will ally with the World Association of Newspapers or NAA. Rather than offer training, it will partner with the American Press Institute or Inland Press Association, Parkinson said.
“We are not going to solve industry problems for newspapers,” Parkinson said.
CNA has also adopted organizational requirements that will be familiar to NAA members.
For instance, all newspapers in a chain must be members. Dues will be based on total circulation. And a committee system will replace the relatively large staff the CNA had maintained.
CNA has an eight-member board of governors representing one representative from all the major chains plus one member to represent independent papers.
A 15-member board of directors will be apportioned according to a chain’s total dues. While the Newspaper Marketing Bureau is going out of business, its biggest product, NADbank ? the Newspaper Audience Databank research program ? will continue under the CNA umbrella. However, only CNA members will be permitted to participate in future NADbank studies.
?(“The newspaper industry in Canada is quite different from
the U.S. . . . Seven companies . . . control something like 80% of
circulation and, therefore, the corporate owners are more important in Canada than in the U.S.”) [Caption]
?(? Roger Parkinson, publisher, Toronto Globe & Mail) [Photo & Caption]