Colorado publisher, Baranczyk, named NNA president

Oct 11, 2012

CHARLESTON, SC—Merle Baranczyk, publisher of the Salida (CO) Mountain Mail, became president of the National Newspaper Association, during the association’s 126th annual convention and trade show Oct. 6, 2012.

Baranczyk succeeds Reed Anfinson, publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News in Benson, MN. Baranczyk had been vice president for the association. Anfinson becomes immediate past president.

Robert Williams Jr., chair and publisher of SouthFire Newspaper Group in Blackshear, GA, was elected as vice president. He had been treasurer.

Elected as treasurer was John Edgecombe Jr., publisher of the Nebraska Signal in Geneva, NE. He had been director for Region 7, (Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas).

During his acceptance speech at the association’s business meeting, Baranczyk said he wanted to make three points: “(That) community newspapers remain a vital force across America. NNA continues to fight on behalf of community newspapers. And, what we as newspaper editors, publishers and supporters need to do.”

Even after the 2008 collapse of some of the largest financial institutions set large metro papers back on their heels, community papers remained strong.

“Across this country, citizens depend on their community newspapers for the news of their neighbors, their kids, schools, their communities, their local government,” Baranczyk said. “In the vast majority of small cities and town, newspapers—in all their forms: print, e-editions, html, utilizing audio and video—are the only source of news.

“And if readers did not have newspapers, democracy would falter.”

He added that, “NNA newspapers are moving ahead, finding ways to better serve their communities with a variety of programs and ideas, through print, electronic means and combinations of the two.”

In order for NNA to continue to represent community newspapers in Washington, Baranczyk said it is imperative to build the association’s membership ranks. He has set a goal of increasing membership by 10 percent during his term in office.

“A broader base gives NNA greater strength through numbers before federal government agencies, in the national media, and a stronger presence on Capitol Hill,” he said. An initiative started two years ago—We Believe In Newspapers—has helped increase membership by 100 newspapers, he noted.

“But we need to do more here,” he said. “To ensure that NNA continues its vital role, to continue as a force in our nation’s capitol and around the country, we need to add to our base.”

To that end, Baranczyk asked all members to help change the perception about newspapers and their future.

“Back home, we need to continually affirm newspapers’ roles in the communities we serve. We can do this in a number of ways, on our editorial and opinion pages, through columns, advertising and self-promotion, occasional news stories, and through supporting community events as newspapers have long been doing.”

Elected to his first three-year term is David Fisher, president and publisher of Fisher Publishing in Danville, AR, as Region 8 director (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas).

Elected to their second three-year terms were Carl Aiello, president of Times Community Publications of the Hudson Valley in Newburgh, NY, as Region 2 director (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia); Jeffrey “Jeff” Farren, president and publisher of Kendall County Record Newspapers Inc. in Yorkville, IL, as Region 5 director (Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio); Steve Andrist, president of Journal Publishing Inc., publisher of The Journal in Crosby, ND, and The Tioga (ND) Tribune, as Region 6 director (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin).

Continuing on the board are Pat Desmond, publisher the Milton (MA) Times, as Region 1 director (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont); Chip Hutcheson, publisher of the Princeton (KY) Times Leader as Region 3 director (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia); William “Bill” Jacobs, publisher of The Daily Leader in Brookhaven, MS, as Region 4 director (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Puerto Rico); Tom Mullen with the Phillipsburg (MT) Mail as Region 9 director (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington); David Puddu, vice president/chief operating officer for Number Nine Media Inc., publishers of the Valencia County News-Bulletin, the El Defensor Chieftain and the Mountain View Telegraph in Belen, NM, as Region 10 director (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming); and Sharon DiMauro, publisher of the Fort Bragg (CA) Advocate-News and the Mendocino (CA) Beacon, as Region 11 director (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam).

Appointed to the board were Jeff Fishman, publisher of The Tullahoma (TN) News; Deb McCaslin, publisher of The Custer County Chief in Broken Bow, NE, as at-large directors.

Continuing on the board were Mark W.C. Stodder, vice president of newspapers, Dolan Media Co. in Minneapolis, MN, as the representative for American Court and Commercial Newspapers; Steve Haynes, publisher of the Oberlin (KS) Herald and president of Nor’West Newspapers, as an at-large director; David Bordewyk, executive director for the South Dakota Press Association, representing the Newspaper Association Managers; Michael Bush, president and chief executive officer for Heartland Publications LLC in Clinton, CT, as an at-large director; and Max Heath, postal chair and consultant to Landmark Community Newspapers and Publishing Group of America, as an honorary board member.