Merger of Newspaper Associations Delayed: Resistance from ICMA, INAME, Others Cited

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Merger of newspaper associations delayed

The merger of seven major newspaper associations under a single umbrella, as envisioned in the Booz-Allen & Hamilton report on newspaper organizations, won't happen soon, American Newspaper Publisher Association officials acknowledged at their annual meeting May 8.

ANPA officials told the convention that they intend to merge these groups into a single organization to be called the Newspaper Marketing Association (NMA).

However, this merger is being held up by the feeling of some organizations - principally the International Circulation Managers Association (ICMA) and the International Newspaper Marketing and Advertising Executives (INAME) - that their unique missions and capabilities would be hurt by being "submerged" into the new NMA.

"INAME and particularly ICMA are going to be lost and submerged in this association. It seems that autonomy may be a strength [for these groups] rather than being in one big happly family," one unidentified objector said from the convention floor.

Outgoing ANPA chairman Lloyd Schermer, chairman and CEO of Lee Enterprises, acknowledged that many details need to be worked out.

"It's got to be done with a sensitivity," he said of the merger, "so that they are not submerged by, not eliminated by what ... the Booz-Allen report and the two boards [of ANPA and the Newspaper Advertising Bureau] have decided to do."

Ad Bureau chairman Walter E. Mattson, president and COO of The New York Times Co., also sought to reassure the skittish organizations, declaring, "It's absolutely essential that all the strengths of ICMA and INAME be maintained.

"But if we can keep those strengths and coordinate them more efficiently," the industry will benefit, Mattson added.

The new Newspaper Marketing Association's goal, Mattson said, "will be to market newspapers more effectively and efficiently while at the same time maintaining the energy and synergy of each of the existing marketing associations."

As previously reported, the associations that would make up the new NMA are NAB; INAME; ICMA; the International Newspaper Marketing Association (INMA); the Newspaper Research Council (NRC); the Newspaper Advertising Co-op Network (NACON); and the Association of Newspaper Classified Advertising Managers (E&P, Jan. …