President's Report

Looking forward to strengthening your association over the next year

Posted
Doug Phares
Doug Phares

I was honored to be elected your association president at last month’s Annual Meeting. Consider this column my first order of business. I’ll continue the terrific practice begun by my predecessor Tom Yunt of providing monthly updates on the association here in The Inlander.

Let’s first look back on that successful Annual Meeting, Inland’s 133rd. Despite some inconveniences caused by striking hotel workers at the JW Marriott, those of you who attended the Chicago meeting gave high ratings to nearly all the sessions. Among the meeting highlights for me were the well-deserved honors for two people who have served Inland and the industry so well over the years: Julie Inskeep, who received the Ray Carlsen Distinguished Service Award, and Cheryl Dell, who received the Ralph D. Casey/Minnesota Award. Those honors remind me that we should always be thankful as well for the vendors and sponsors whose support sustains the Annual Meeting and Inland itself.

In Tom’s updates through his presidency, he emphasized the important work Inland’s committees are doing on your behalf. I can tell you another year of hard work is ahead for our committees.

To begin with, we’ve established the Research Committee, chaired by APG Media West Division President Jeff Patterson and charged with reviewing all of Inland’s benchmarking services with an eye to ensuring they are meeting the needs of members. Similarly, the Program Committee, under the chairmanship of Jason Taylor, GateHouse Media’s president, New Media Investment Group Ventures, will be examining all of Inland’s live events and looking for ways to keep them relevant and useful for members.

Your Membership Committee, headed by Inland President-Elect Cory Bollinger, looks to continue the great work of the past year when they took membership to its highest level in a decade.

In the coming months, look for the announcement of very exciting plans to increase and strengthen the Inland Press Foundation’s endowment. Foundation Investment Committee Chairman Jeremy Halbreich, CEO of AIM Media Management, will head that effort as the committee continues its oversight of the endowment.

All this committee activity comes against the backdrop of the continuing consolidation of our industry—a phenomenon your board will be taking head on over the next year. We’ll be looking to expand on the smart collaborations with other industry associations so we can all thrive in this always- changing media environment.

One of those collaborations, of course, is the Key Executives Mega-Conference Inland hosts along with the Local Media Association, News Media Alliance and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. Our partnership has made the Mega-Conference the indisputably most important single event in the industry. Mega-Conference organizers report strong interest from vendors, sponsors and industry executives in the 2019 event, which takes place at the Paris Las Vegas February 25 to 27.

Inland is also seeing strong interest in Executive Voices 2.0, the follow-up to the tremendously successful inaugural meeting last year. This meeting—strictly limited to 75 top newspaper decision-makers—will again feature highly interactive discussions among the participants, all aimed at finding solutions to our most urgent challenges. The first Executive Voices was a sell-out, and reservations are going fast for Executive Voices 2.0. Ensure your spot at the table December 4 and 5 in Chicago by signing up at www.inlandpress.org/conferences.

And in that spirit of mutual aid and inquiry, please let me know how I can better serve you and the association in my year as president. You can always contact me at dougphares@sanduskynewspapers.com. I look forward to hearing from you and reporting on your association each month.