Report from the president

Our big goal: Making a better world for newspapers and Inland members

Tom Yunt
Tom Yunt

It is with a great deal of excitement and humility that I assume the Inland leadership role as your newly elected association president. I take seriously the position and the responsibility associated with the title and fully plan to build upon the great work of Chairman, Doug Heimstra and so many great Inland leaders who preceded me. 

For the coming year, we are developing an aggressive business plan and significant strategic long-range goals for the organization. In my opinion, extremely audacious goals that I believe will position Inland, our members and the industry to successfully navigate the future of the Inland Press Association and the newspaper industry we support and champion.

Audacious goals to be sure, but I firmly believe it's achievable for many reasons including, but not limited to: Inland's valued members, associates, key strategic vendors, Inland's history and legacy and the leadership the association has provided our members and the newspaper industry for 130 years. The history is long and deep. For more than a century, the Inland Press Association has been a faithful industry friend, support mechanism, educator and champion of the newspaper industry through good and challenging times. Your association will continue to be that trusted, dependable, industry association visionary you can rely upon to keep your priorities Inland's priorities.

Then there are the people of Inland, who form the backbone of the newspaper industry-and democracy itself-doing the vitally important work that only an independent, fearless, free and fair press can do supporting our First Amendment rights and privileges.

We witnessed the power of these twin forces-association and people-at last month's joint Annual Meeting with the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association (SNPA). This first-ever joint meeting brought together publishers and top newspaper executives were as optimistic about our industry's future as I am. The sessions at the Annual Meeting only reinforced that optimism with speaker after speaker highlighting strategies for success in print, digital, events, non-traditional revenue streams-even a radical new proposal to ensure we are paid fully for the valuable content we produce.

I can tell you that pursuing strategic collaboration, alliances and partnerships with other industry associations will very much be "top of mind" and part of Inland's future. Just look at the upcoming Mega-Conference in February (February 26-28, 2018 in San Diego!) - where Inland, SNPA and Local Media Association (LMA) will be joined for the first time by the News Media Alliance, formerly the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).

Inland's Family Owners & Next Generation Leadership Conference, also held in Colorado Springs, was yet another signpost that this industry is here to stay. The number of young next generation leaders stepping up to lead, transition and diversify their family's newspaper and media companies was not just reassuring-it was downright inspirational. These are bright, in-tune next generation owners who know the "newspapers are dead" crowd are themselves dead-wrong, and that their future-and their family's future-lies in a progressive newspaper industry, however and whenever that will be defined.

Inland, as always, is prepared to help those family owners, and newspaper leaders and managers of whatever form of ownership. A great example is the upcoming Executive Voices conference in Chicago December 6 and 7. This will be a different kind of industry gathering, with top newspaper executives coming together to discuss and collaborate on strategies to overcome our businesses' most vexing challenges and identify new opportunities for audience and revenue growth. Attendance is limited to just 60 executives so be sure to sign up soon (We are already seeing several registrants, so don't delay!).

I'll be reporting to you every month in this column in The Inlander, informing you of the newest ways Inland is trying to support you and your media company. Please think of this report as a monthly reminder that Inland continues to be your strategic and industry partner with and alongside you as we together guide Inland and the newspaper industry toward a continued pathway to a prosperous future.

In closing, thanks for your membership and your ongoing commitment to the Inland Press Association!

Tom Yunt
Inland Press Association President