We fully intend to be ready to fight on your behalf to keep our industry strong

Oct 1, 2019

Newspapers … especially community newspapers … have a long and valued history in this country. My introduction to newspapers began almost at birth. My parents read the daily paper with their breakfast every morning, often before the sun came up. I delivered that same newspaper on a route — then two, then three routes — for more than three years. I joined the high school newspaper staff my sophomore year, worked on three different college papers and never wavered in my commitment to our industry. I knew even back then that what we do benefits our communities in impressive and important ways that almost no one can mimic or easily replace.

The last decade, most notably, has been challenging for our industry, both from financial pressure and from attacks from those who wish we would just go away so they could do what they want without scrutiny and oversight. Yet, we have weathered the attacks and have been made stronger for it.

So has your National Newspaper Association.

In the coming year, NNA board and staff will stay focused on those things that matter to you, our members. From public policy issues that could have chilling effects on the First Amendment and your ability to serve your readers to external pressures like the newsprint tariff battle — which, had we lost, would have severely impacted newspapers nationwide — NNA will be there fighting for you and with you.

Thanks to you, we’ve stepped back from the financial cliff once again and are back on sound and likely long-term footing. Lynne Lance, your NNA executive director, and chief lobbyist and strategist Tonda Rush and their teams are firing on all cylinders as we shift into another year and chart our course for the next half decade or beyond.

To that end, the staff and your board’s executive team — in concert with the full board — have crafted a plan to expand the executive committee for longer-term stability and direction. Instead of the traditional four members (president, VP, treasurer and immediate past president), we have expanded the committee to six, with two existing board members having seats with the intent that one or both of them will eventually move into the chairs if the full board so chooses.

We expect that change will provide not only more voices and input on the executive committee, but will give the next treasurer or two more than a year to learn the nuances of our finances before having to oversee them. The two members will also provide more input into the direction for the next several years, allowing for longer term planning for NNA’s future — whatever that future may entail.

We can no longer afford to take the future of newspapers a year or two at a time. We need to plan and react before the crisis hits, because — as we learned with the newsprint tariff — the unexpected surprises will take time, energy and money we might not have without taking it from other important functions of our association.

My goal for the coming year as your president is simple: plan for the future. We know it will have its challenges and its crises, but we fully intend to be ready to fight on your behalf to keep our industry strong. Our democracy requires it. And NNA is ready to handle the task.

Many years ago, as my family sat around the breakfast table and my dad would point out the important news of the day, my younger self chomped down on some milk-laden Captain Crunch and listened to a story about natural gas prices in our area being unnaturally high and manipulated. A few years later, I read a story myself about how that series in my local paper spurred an investigation and caused natural gas prices to be adjusted.

Several reporters, it occurred to me later, had worked tirelessly to bring that issue to light. They were faced with anger and threats, but they didn’t hesitate to do their jobs because they knew it was important for their readers and their community. They were rewarded for all that hard work with stronger and more loyal readers.

As the recent NNA readership survey pointed out (see Page 1 of September printed issue), that history of doing the hard work and serving your community still pays dividends to this day. Community newspapers are the most trusted and reliable sources for news, advertising and public notices, despite — or perhaps because of — the added pressure from all the newest competitors.

NNA has been doing the same thing for you. Thank you for being a member. Your dues, time, energy and support are invaluable as we move forward.

Matt Adelman, publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget, is the vice president of the NNA Board of Directors for 2018-2019. Email him at publisher@douglas-budget.com.