News Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association agree to combine forces on postal, public policy

The News Media Alliance and National Newspaper Association, both long-standing newspaper advocacy organizations with Washington, D.C., area offices, have created a joint policy group to assist their members in the newspaper industry with postal issues and public policy.

NNA, founded in 1885 as Newspaper Editorial Association, will take the lead on postal issues, an area of expertise for its entire history. News Media Alliance, whose legacy organization was founded in 1887, will advise NNA on digital publishing policies, on which it has sharpened its expertise since the breakup of the Bell telephone companies in the 1990s.

As part of the agreement, the National Newspaper Association Foundation will open its postal training tools to NMA members and NNA will assist in case-specific postal problems through its Postal Hotline.

NMA will continue to factor in the concerns of community newspapers in its advocacy on important industry issues like the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, and the two groups will form an consultative task force to help the industry to speak with one voice on other critical issues, such as journalism and First Amendment advocacy. NMA manages the media industry’s News Media for Open Government coalition, which includes organizations that lobby for government transparency. NNA is a founding member of NMOG.

The agreement’s member-benefits offerings will take effect in January 2022, and will feature training for newspapers and publishers in the use of Periodicals mail. Growing numbers of newspaper publishers are turning to mail delivery for distribution.  Advocacy consultation has already begun.

NNA Chair Brett Wesner and NMA Executive Vice President & General Counsel Danielle Coffey said they saw this agreement as a powerful combination to create efficiency in newspaper industry advocacy and training.

“These are the two organizations that have been the voices for newspapers in Washington for more than a century, NNA representing the smaller newspapers and NMA the larger ones,” Wesner, president of Wesner Publications, Cordell, Oklahoma, said. “The demands and expenses of doing this work have accelerated in recent years and we see that this trajectory is going to continue. It seemed to both of us that we could do a better job if we eliminate duplication and amplify our voices wherever possible.”

“The News Media Alliance is pleased to partner with NNA to help amplify our voice on key shared issues of importance to our members,” Coffey said. “We look forward to collaborating with NNA to help drive important public policy results that will benefit local news publishers, as well as equip our members with resources and training to help navigate the changing postal landscape.”

While NNA and NMA will handle the public policy side, the NNA Foundation’s role will be the third leg of this innovative partnership, bringing a broad educational piece to the table.“NNA Foundation has been accelerating its newspaper training programs all year,” NNA Foundation President Matt Adelman, publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget, said. “We have periodic webinars on all sorts of subjects. This agreement will become part of our new Max Heath Postal Institute, whose mission is to make newspapers and printers better users of the mail. NMA’s members will be eligible to join us for this training. We look forward to working together.”

The faculty for the joint training endeavors will be the Washington office and headquarters personnel for NNA and NMA, including Danielle Coffey, NMA executive vice president and general counsel; Lynne Lance, NNA executive director; Tonda Rush, NNA General Counsel; and Matthew Paxton, publisher of the News-Gazette, Lexington, Virginia, and Bradley Hill, president of Interlink Inc., a postal software company.

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