America’s Newspapers – the association formed from the merger of the Inland Press Association and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association – was ceremonially launched Oct. 6 at its inaugural meeting in Chicago.
America’s Newspapers unites two of the oldest press associations to form one of the industry’s largest advocates for newspapers and the many benefits to their communities, civil life, freedom of expression and democracy.
“Newspaper journalism provides a voice for the voiceless, challenges elected officials, shines a light on government, calls for change when change is needed, and exposes corruption and injustice,” said Chris Reen, the president and publisher of The Gazette in Colorado Springs who will serve as the first president of America’s Newspapers.
R. Michael Fishman, editor/publisher of the Citizen Tribune, was named to the organization’s Board of Directors.
“It’s an honor to be chosen to represent community newspapers,” Fishman said. “The newspaper industry has been, and will continue to be, a vital part of the American fabric and this organization will be at the forefront of helping newspapers succeed in the coming years.
“I’m honored to be among these leaders of our industry and excited to be part of the good work that will be done on behalf of more than 1,500 American newspapers spread across the country.”
America’s Newspapers has adopted a mission of redoubling the commitments of its legacy associations to explain, defend and advance the vital role of newspapers in democracy and civil life. It will put an emphasis on educating the public on all the ways newspapers contribute to building a community identity and the success of local businesses.
Along with its new name and logo, America’s Newspapers launched the website newspapers.org, and social media outreach on Facebook, LinkedIn and @NewspaperOrg on Twitter.
For its members, America’s Newspapers will continue the work of Inland and SNPA in providing research, education and practical information all aimed at optimizing their business, deepening their community engagement and enhancing the quality of their journalism. America’s Newspapers will continue to reflect the culture of collegiality and sharing that characterized its predecessors, its leadership vowed.
In addition to its new president, Chris Reen, America’s inaugural officers include:
• Vice President: Alan Fisco, president, The Seattle Times Company, Seattle, Wash.
• Treasurer: Nat Lea, president and CEO, WEHCO Media, Little Rock, Ark.
• Secretary: Cameron Nutting Williams, regional publisher, Ogden Newspapers, Frederick, Md.
The initial board of the new association includes nine members from the former SNPA board, nine members from the former Inland board, three R&D partners and the four officers.
A nationwide search for a CEO for America’s Newspapers is nearing completion. Tom Slaughter, who had been Inland executive director, and Edward VanHorn, who had served as SNPA executive director, will stay on at America’s Newspapers through a transition period.
All current members of SNPA and Inland will become members of the new association.