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JON K. RUST
LMA Board of Directors
It’s been an honor
serving the past year as
chairman of Local Media
Association. Thanks to
an incredible staff led
by Nancy Lane and a
highly engaged and tal-
ented board, it’s been a
pleasure. In an interview
just before I ascended
into the chairmanship,
I quipped that my first
goal was: “Don’t screw
So far, so good.
That said, it’s amazing how much has taken place in the past year,
led by changing the name of our organization from SNA to Local Media
Association. Although this change understandably ruffled a few feath-
ers (I can relate, I loved SNA and its proud accomplishments), the new
name has helped open doors to new members, exciting partnerships
and a broader, progressive visibility. I could provide many specific
examples – starting with our expanding membership logs (during a time
of economic challenge, now over 2,300). Just one example probably not
on your radar is how the new name is helping us launch an innovative,
win-win-win Partnership Program, which now includes more than 7
state press associations and is rapidly growing, providing important
revenue to LMA and its partner press associations by providing LMA
research products and training at rates above membership price-points
but well below what non-members would normally pay.
Talking about training, in the past year almost 200 newspaper sales
people have been certified via LMA’s online sales training program.
Dozens more are signed up, and additional courses are in development.
This year, LMA also held its first-ever, free-to-members, two-day virtual
sales training conference.
Among my goals a year ago was ensuring that the mega-conference
with Inland and SNPA continued to grow. Assessment: San Antonio was
a smashing success, and New Orleans next year, already being planned,
looks like it will outdo anything that’s taken place before. As I stated in
a previous column, the success is largely due to the great staffs of the
three organizations along with the board members who serve on the
planning committee. Together, something great has been created, which
provides high value to all members.
This past year also saw another dynamic Innovation Mission, a revenue
summit in partnership with Michael Blinder that set attendance records, a
classified conference and deals summit, a Specialized Reporting Institute
sponsored by the McCormick Foundation, several incisive Local Media
Innovation Alliance reports, dozens of helpful webinars, plus other
events. Some of these projects were specifically organized under the
auspices of the Local Media Foundation, which has set high standards
under Steve Parker’s chairmanship and Nancy Lane’s leadership.
Now we are on the cusp of the fall conference in Atlanta and two
additional summits in Chicago, including a Digital Agency Summit
on Nov. 8, which is a must for anyone already involved or planning to
enter this space.
Also accomplished this past year was the first wave of changes in the
LMA bylaws. Most of these modifications simply updated the bylaws
to the new name and best practices around association governance.
Next on the agenda, with your help, will be looking at how – if at all – to
modify our membership requirements. At a minimum, I encourage you
to think seriously about whether producing a print publication should
be mandatory for membership. In the future, there is a good chance that
some traditional newspapers will transition to digital-only. Now is the
time for us to let them know we welcome them in our midst.
If you ever want to be involved in doing something remarkable,
working with remarkable people, let Nancy Lane or incoming chair
Gareth Charter know you’re interested in becoming involved with LMA
-- whether on the board or one of its committees.
As I said, it’s been a pleasure. I hope to see you in Atlanta.
Jon K. Rust is co-president of Rust Communications and chairman of
Local Media Association.
for Research &
Tops the List of Changes
A series of bylaws changes were recommended
by the Local Media Association’s board of directors
recently and the membership voted unanimously
to approve all of the changes.
Most of the changes that were recommended
involved replacing outdated language and also
changing language to reflect the new name of Local
Media Association (from Suburban Newspapers of
America) which was adopted on the first of the year.
Other changes included the right for the immediate
past chairman to be a voting member of the board
(previously an ex-officio, non-voting member) and
a quorum of 30% for future bylaws changes (the
previous version did not establish a quorum).
The biggest and most exciting change was the
creation of a new class of membership called R&D
partners (Research & Development Partners). This
class provides a higher level option for those that
provide goods and services to the industry. The
new class comes with voting rights and the ability
to serve on the board of directors. The changes also
allow two associate or R&D members to serve on
the board at any given time as opposed to just one
in the prior version.
“Our associate members have always been an
important part of our membership” said Nancy Lane,
president, Local Media Association. “Some of them
want to play a bigger role with our association and we
welcome that. This new level of membership will allow
them to do that and will provide increased benefits
to them. We especially like the term ‘R&D partner’
as this more accurately reflects their important role
in the local media industry.”
Currently Gordon Borrell, CEO, Borrell Associates
serves on the Local Media Association board and is
in fact moving into the chairs and will eventually
become chairman of the board in 2015. This fall Matt
Coen, CEO, Second Street Media will join the board
as the second associate/R&D member. “Gordon’s
contributions have been significant” said Lane. “He
brings a different and welcomed perspective to our
meetings and helps us in ways that are different from
our newspaper board members. We think that Matt
will also strengthen our board and help us in our
efforts to innovate, educate and inspire the industry
during this time of great transition.”
“I’m proud of the process we are following here,”
said LMA Incoming Board Chair Gareth Charter,
Publisher, Holden Landmark (MA). “We are being
thoughtful and inclusive while still leading this impor-
tant discussion about our changing industry and how
an association can best serve its members.”
Note that the bylaws changes did not include any
revisions to membership requirements for newspa-
per members. The Local Media Association board
of directors continues to meet with members and
host two-way discussions to better understand their
position. The board does expect to recommend
further changes to at least address the treatment of
online-only members and to possibly expand beyond
that. The board welcomes the input of all members.
Send comments to board chairman Jon Rust at just@
It’s Unanimous –
LMA members ratify
LMA board member Suzanne Schlicht,
COO of The World Company (KS), led the
committee responsible for proposing
changes to the bylaws and praised the
wisdom of LMA members in unanimously
supporting the recommended changes.
“By adopting updates to the bylaws, LMA
members poised the organization to take
advantage of the many opportunities
afforded us through our new name and
identity as we continue to expand our
role in providing education, innovation,
expertise and leadership in this exciting
and changing industry.”
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