NNA selects IPA for management services

Nov 2, 2015

National Newspaper Association President Chip Hutcheson, publisher of The Times Leader in Princeton, KY, announced in October that NNA has selected Illinois Press Association to provide contract management services beginning in 2016.

NNA and IPA entered into an intent letter agreement during the 129th NNA Convention in St. Charles, MO.

NNA began a search for its new management organization in June 2015, after the board of directors determined that contract management for NNA was the ideal option. The organization has been managed since 2010 by its public policy company, American PressWorks Inc., which had expressed its desire to wind down its management contract. Tonda Rush and APW will continue to provide public policy services to NNA from its current office in Arlington, VA. After a brief transition, the Columbia, MO, office will be relocated to the IPA headquarters in Springfield, IL.

Hutcheson said comparing a number of excellent proposals had challenged an appointed NNA Transition Team.

“Our board determined last summer that in today’s newspaper industry, shared services are the most efficient and effective way to preserve resources for the programs that community newspapers need. We were delighted that a number of organizations proposed contracts with us, and we felt we had some excellent options. IPA stood out as having not only the staff depth and expertise, but also a close working relationship with NNA in the past,” Hutcheson said. “We believe we will be in good hands.”

NNA has engaged contract management for its headquarters since 2002, when it moved its principal offices out of the Washington area.

Hutcheson said he realized some NNA members might be surprised to find NNA joining forces with a state press association.

“IPA and NNA are approaching this arrangement as a contractual relationship, in which IPA considers us a client and a business partner. Although we will share space and some back office services, NNA will continue as a fully independent national organization—the oldest national organization for community newspapers in America. Our board has full authority to set its own programs, policies and priorities. This is not a merger—NNA will continue to maintain its own identity and culture.

“The newspaper industry is changing rapidly, but the value of community newspapers and the importance of their service to communities is as critical as ever,” Hutcheson said. “What we want to do is make sure we have access to the best people in the most cost-effective way so NNA can continue to do what it does best. Our focus will remain on public policy, postal and networking, training and best practices programs for the community newspapers across the country.”

Dennis DeRossett, IPA executive director said, “The Illinois Press Association is honored to be chosen to provide management services to NNA. We are confident the synergies of our combined resources will greatly benefit both organizations. Our missions are parallel—we are both strong advocates of newspapers and the important role they play in our communities and in our democracy. At this time in our histories, this partnership is an important next step that will strengthen both organizations and enable us to move forward in new ways to the benefit of our member newspapers.”

Hutcheson thanked the Transition Team for its diligence over the summer of 2015 in reviewing proposals. Besides himself, the team comprises John Edgecombe Jr., publisher of The Nebraska Signal in Geneva, NE; Robert M. Williams Jr., publisher of the Blackshear (GA) Times; Matt Paxton, publisher of The News-Leader in Lexington, VA; Elizabeth Parker, co-publisher of New Jersey Hills Media in Bernardsville, NJ; and Jerry Reppert, president of Reppert Publications in Anna, IL.

IPA is expected to assume management of NNA in January 2016.