"Rambling" by Russel Skiles, TPA President 2012-13
After years — even decades — of off-and-on discussions, the newspaper industry in Texas soon will be represented by only one statewide press association rather than two.
As many of you have likely heard, the Texas Daily Newspaper Association is ceasing operation by the end of this year.
TDNA Board President Patrick Canty, publisher of the Odessa American, made the official announcement in mid-November through an open letter to all TDNA members.
Texas Press Association will now serve as the voice of all newspapers across the state, large and small.
It is a move leadership of both TPA and TDNA believe is a positive one that will serve our industry well as we continue to face changes inside our newspapers and challenges from outside the industry.
Canty eloquently summed up TDNA’s decision in his November announcement, stating it was made “... with much enthusiasm and a bullish belief in a bright future for Texas newspapers.”
He added, “We believe this consolidation of will, shared interest and talent will strengthen our industry as a whole and will enable us as an industry to continue to more effectively serve the best interests of our businesses, as well as the readers and advertisers to whom we are so committed,” Canty wrote.
That is a belief shared by TPA leaders who have been working for several months to help ensure a smooth transition from two separate organizations to a single, unified association representing all Texas newspapers.
The change actually will have little effect on TPA’s membership, as all but a few TDNA members also have long been members of TPA. We hope, however, to see the publishers and executives of the state’s daily newspapers taking a more active role in TPA.
With the recent hiring of Donnis Baggett as our executive vice president, TPA already has made a move to ensure continuation of the strong legislative lobbying effort in Austin that has been a major focus of TDNA in recent years.
That focus is becoming increasingly important in the face of ever-growing efforts by various organizations seeking to take government legal notices out of newspapers and to limit the public’s right to know about actions that could impact their lives and livelihoods.
The joint Legislative Advisory Committee, which in the past has been a cooperative effort of TPA and TDNA, will continue now as a key operation fully within TPA’s organization and structure. The first meeting of that group in preparation for the upcoming legislative session is scheduled for Dec. 14 in Austin. Anyone wanting to take an active role in that effort should contact TPA’s Ed Sterling for details on how to get involved.
With initial financial support from TDNA, TPA also will be hosting a legislative conference in Austin in late February to help focus attention on any proposed legislation that could impact Texas newspapers or the public’s access to information.
As TPA takes on additional legislative and lobbying efforts, the organization also will be taking on the full responsibility of financing those efforts. To that end the TPA board has amended the current budget and approved a change in the dues structure for the first time in more than two decades.
Other than those necessary adjustments to consolidate the efforts of two organizations into one, our members should see little change in the day-to-day operations or long-term focus of Texas Press Association.
As the sole organization representing Texas newspapers, TPA remains committed to serving all of our members and promoting the entire newspaper industry in our great state.
With our annual Midwinter Conference and Trade Show coming up next month, I urge everyone to go ahead and register and make plans to be on hand Jan. 17-19 at The Westin Galleria Houston.
As usual, the event offers us all the opportunity to hear some great speakers, learn more about issues affecting our industry, see various products and services offered by vendors, and just enjoy getting to visit with friends and colleagues from across the state.
I hope to see you there!