The trade bodies covering the national and regional press are to merge to form a new ‘united voice’ for the industry, it was announced today.
The bodies already had the same director, David Newell, and were based in the same London office, but have hitherto had separate boards.
Now they are to combine under a new 13-member board containing representatives of six regional newspaper publishers, five national publishers and one, Trinity Mirror, which straddles both sectors.
Other regional press companies represented on the board include Archant, Local World, Johnston Press, the CN Group, Baylis Media and Newsquest which has two representatives.
The national publishers represented are News UK, Guardian Media Group, DMG, the Telegraph Media Group and ESI Media, which publishes the Independent and the Evening Standard.
David Newell, who will be chief executive of the new body, said: “Press freedom is under attack on multiple fronts and defending this fundamental right to free speech will be central to the NMA’s mission.
“The new organisation will work to clearly articulate the position of the news media industry on this and other important issues which affect the industry.”
The NMA will represent the interests of its member publishers on a range of issues affecting the news media industry from press freedom and public sector competition to routes to market and copyright and IP.
NMA chairman and former Newspaper Society (NS) president Adrian Jeakings said: “Free speech and independent news are the building blocks of a healthy democracy. Newspapers embody this by holding the powerful to account, exposing corruption, and giving a voice to the unheard.
“Newsbrands – national, regional and local newspapers in print and digital – are by far the biggest investors in news in the UK, accounting for more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of the total spend on news provision.
“The NMA will provide this important sector with a clear voice on the issues which affect it.”
Murdoch MacLennan, Telegraph Media Group chief executive and outgoing NPA chairman, added: “Newspapers have a huge audience of 42 million adults every month in print and online who rely on our publications for trusted news and information.
“I am confident that the industry has a long and vibrant future ahead of it and that the NMA will play a central role in helping the sector develop and prosper in an era in which news is being consumed across more platforms than ever before.”
When the NS was launched in 1836, the trade association represented both local and national newspapers but in 1906 the NPA was formed as a separate organisation to represent the nationals.
Although the two associations have worked closely together over the years, the NMA formally reunites them for the first time in over 100 years.
Jeremy Spooner, chief executive of Baylis Media and chairman of the NMA’s Independent Publishers Forum, said: “The news media industry is a diverse and vibrant sector – encompassing independent, family-owned local newspapers alongside large national titles – united in its common purpose to scrutinise those in authority, act as the public’s watchdog and champion the causes of ordinary people.
“Independent daily and weekly newsbrands perform a vital role for communities across the UK. The launch of the NMA will give this hugely important part of the news media landscape a more powerful voice on the issues that matter to the sector.”
The full list of NMA board members is as follows:
- Chairman, Adrian Jeakings, Archant
- Vice Chairman, Mike Darcey, News UK
- Treasurer, Paul Hunter, Newsquest Media Group
- Steve Auckland, ESI Media
- Kevin Beatty, DMG Media
- Robin Burgess, CN Group
- Paul Davidson, Newsquest Media Group
- Lisa Gordon, Local World
- Ashley Highfield, Johnston Press
- Murdoch MacLennan, Telegraph Media Group
- Andrew Miller, Guardian Media Group
- Jeremy Spooner, Baylis Media
- Mark Hollinshead (-2014), Simon Fox (2015-), Trinity Mirror