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JON K. RUST
SNA Board of Directors
A call to members: name
change is important
The SNA board of directors – after much
deliberation – has put forth the question
to members about changing the name of
our organization. Official delegates for
newspaper member companies should
have already received a ballot. The fact is
that our current appellation, Suburban
Newspapers of America, confuses people
more than it helps. And while SNA has a
proud history, its name does not account
for all the exciting and innovative things
the organization does.
Let me tell you two stories.
First, on the recent SNA Foundation
Innovation Mission, a few of the attendees
said they had never considered participat-
ing in SNA functions before because they
thought such events applied to suburban
newspapers only. Another confessed he
had regularly confused SNA with SNPA,
the Southern Newspaper Publishers
Association. In fact, even the “A” in SNA
is commonly misunderstood. With regular-
ity, the national media refer to SNA as the
“Suburban Newspaper Association.”
In the case of the participants on the
mission trip, the caliber of the program-
ming and the marketing around it were
enough to spur them onto doing some-
thing they had not considered before.
But how many people within the news
industry might have the same misconcep-
tion – and thus be missing the powerful,
valuable and innovative resources that
The second story is familiar to everyone
reading this column. How many times are
you asked how the newspaper business
is doing? For most of those asking, the
newspaper is only the printed product.
They don’t realize that our business is
so much more – from mobile and digital
products to magazines, video produc-
tion and in-house advertising agencies.
The list goes on. The newspaper remains
at the center of what most of us do, but
more and more we are building strategies
I’m bullish on print newspapers, par-
ticularly suburban and community news-
papers. But they are only part of what we
do and have done for a long time.
What hasn’t changed is that at the
heart of what we do – in print, online or
through any of our many other products
– is serve our local communities. We do
it with local reporters, local sales people,
local management, local distribution,
local community involvement, local
focus. We’re not some sort of behemoth
national technology company devising
ways to exploit untapped markets with
automated platforms to suck “local”
advertising dollars out. We are part of
the community, living within the com-
munity, invested in the community, and
we seek to make that community – our
communities – better through a ser-
vice ethic and the proud principles of
What is the new name that the board of
directors has unanimously proposed?
It’s the “Local Media Association”.
It’s not a sexy, cool, made-up Internet
name. Instead, it’s simple, self-explanatory,
It is also powerful: It puts “local” first
– just like we do as media organizations –
and it shares that we’re not just newspapers
anymore, but much more. It also says
we are united as an association, working
together to become better.
Indeed, because the new name is simple
and direct, the board of directors wanted to
announce a new tagline for the organiza-
tion as well, to tell a little more about how
we do what we do.
That tagline is: “Innovate. Educate.
Think about those words. For those
who’ve known SNA since it was founded,
could anything else better summarize
what its programs have done?
That goal is what the Local Media
Association, if members support the name
change, pledges to continue to do for all
that we are now engaged in.
If you are a delegate for your newspaper,
I encourage you to vote. But everyone is
welcome to give feedback. Don’t hesitate
to email me directly: jrust@semissourian.
com. The SNA board would appreciate your
support in this important matter.
Jon K. Rust is chairman of the SNA
board of directors and co-president of Rust
Communications, based in Cape Girardeau,
We are part of the community,
living within the community,
invested in the community, and we
seek to make that community – our
communities – better...
On December 1, SNA delegates received
a ballot to vote on a proposed name change
for the organization. The SNA Board of
Directors is recommending Local Media
Association as the new name (see both
the Chairman’s column on this page and
the President’s column on page 5 for more
details on this proposal and the reasons
for the change.)
The voting will take place between
December 1-9 and due to the timing of
this issue, many of you will likely receive
your copy of Suburban Publisher at the
end of the voting cycle. We will update
members throughout this process via email
and the SNA web site (www.suburban-
We welcome comments from all SNA
members on this issue even if you are not
the voting delegate for your company. Send
your thoughts to SNA President Nancy
Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Industry Associations
SNA Board Proposes Name Change
SNA, Inland & SNPA to Host
2nd Annual Mega-Conference
Conference to be held at JW Marriott
San Antonio - February 27-29
Plan now to attend this powerful confer-
ence that drew 400 local media executives
last year in St Petersburg, FL. The planning
group is hard at work developing a program
that will address the most critical issues
facing our industry. The committee consists
of 11 senior level executives from a wide vari-
ety of media companies along with the senior
staff members of each organization.
The program will focus on revenue
growth, new technologies and business
models, digital strategies and more.
There will be an emphasis on sharing
success stories in all of these areas from
media companies that are top perform-
ers. Specific sessions will focus on many
different topics including: deals, mobile,
ROP growth, video, outsourcing/resource
sharing, charging for content, positive
branding campaigns and more.
Once again, a trade show will be part of
the Mega-Conference and more than 50
companies are expected to participate this
year. These companies serve as the R&D
arm of our industry and will be showcasing
many new products to drive revenue at
local media companies. For exhibit and
sponsor opportunities, contact Al Cupo
at 215 256-6801 or al.cupo@suburban-
Registration and program information
is available at www.suburban-news.org.
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