By Richard Karpel, Public Notice Resource Center
CRYSTAL CITY, VA—What can publishers expect during the first 100 days of the Donald J. Trump administration? What can they expect of the new Congress?
Nobody knows for sure, but this much is clear: The rules are changing. It will be unlike anything the city of Washington has seen in our lifetimes.
At the National Newspaper Association’s 2017 Community Newspaper Leadership Summit, the industry will help to shape the future.
The summit is March 15-16, less than 60 days after the new administration takes office, and in the early stages of the 115th U.S. Congress.
It will be an exciting time to visit our nation’s capital and to learn straight from the lips of elected officials and other Washington insiders about what to expect on matters important to the business. Will newspapers be forced to fight an ad tax this year? Will the new overtime rule be changed in any way? What will happen on the postal front?
Perhaps even more importantly, there will be 45 new House members and seven senators recently sworn into office. They know little about community-newspaper issues and may believe newspapers are dying, which makes the industry more vulnerable to damaging legislation from lawmakers who would have feared the power of the press a decade ago.
“It’s an opportunity to speak directly to legislators and explain why community newspapers need their help on the issues that are vital to our business,” said Matt Paxton, NNA president and publisher of The News-Gazette in Lexington, VA.
“I had no idea I could be part of the political process until I attended the summit,” said Susan Rowell, NNA vice president and publisher/regional manager of The Lancaster News/ Carolina Gateway in Lancaster, SC. “It has helped me build critical relationships with my legislators and their staffs. And coming to Washington with publishers from all over the country only strengthens my message.”
The conference will begin with a group dinner on March 15 at Ted’s Montana Grill, a two-block walk from the Crystal City Marriott, in Arlington, VA.
The following morning, registrants will be briefed by NNA’s Public Policy Director Tonda Rush and other officials. Thursday afternoon is reserved for visits with members of Congress and their staff on the Hill.
“This conference is vital to any publisher worried about what is coming next from Washington,” says Liz Parker, co-publisher and executive editor of the New Jersey Hills Media Group. “It covers the gamut with lots of opportunities for one-on-one exchanges with federal policy makers and fellow media executives.”
Following the day on the Hill, publishers will retreat to the National Press Club. The highlight of the dinner is featured speaker Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post. He will be interviewed by CNN senior media correspondent and “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter. The Public Notice Journalism Award will also be presented to the winner from a growing pool of news and features that employ public notices in the content.
“The NNA summit is the perfect opportunity to interact with peers in the newspaper business and visit with our senators and representatives on their turf,” said Chip Hutcheson, NNA’s immediate past president and publisher of Times Leader in Princeton, KY. “The contacts made are invaluable for NNA’s public policy work.”