Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New NAA Chair Smith Calls for Change

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New NAA Chair Smith Calls for Change

Article excerpt

Jay Smith is taking over as chair- man of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) this month during a somewhat blustery period for the industry Just think: At this time last year, the word "circulation" wasn't often followed by the words "fraud" or "collusion." And while the Bush administration wasn't exactly rolling out the welcome mat for journalists, reporters weren't in danger of going to jail for protecting their sources.

These are two of the biggest challenges that Smith faces during his tenure as head of the NAA, a position that rotates every year. Smith replaces outgoing Chairman Gregg K. Jones, co-publisher of The Greenville (Tenn.) Sun. Smith, the president of Atlanta-based Cox Newspapers, has served as vice chairman of the board and has worked with the organization for about 10 years.

E&P caught up with the new chairman in the beginning of March before he dashed off to New York for a weeklong family vacation.

In Smith's mind, the challenges of rebuilding credibility while protecting the basic rights of the press are taking center stage. He cites everything from the hard work the NAA has done on cross ownership and to Freedom of Information and shield laws. Indeed, one of the sessions slated for this year's NAA Annual Convention in San Francisco is on "Confidential Sources and the Shield Law." The panel lineup: New York Times scribe Judith Miller, one of the reporters who finds herself going to jail in the Valerie Plame/CIA probe, as well as First Amendment expert Floyd Abrams. …

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