From The Iowa Newspaper Association
The National Newspaper Association (NNA) is encouraging community newspaper executives across America to attend a leadership summit March 14, called speciﬁcally to address critical problems with the U.S. Postal Service.
National Newspaper Association President Merle Baranczyk said the purpose of the summit would be to oppose the Postal Service’s recent decisions targeting newspaper advertising for diversion to direct mail and to discuss the future of newspaper delivery with senior postal ofﬁcials. Baranczyk, publisher of the Salida (CO) Mountain Mail, said, “The past year has brought us an epidemic of new problems with our nation’s postal administration.”
An agreement in August aimed directly at newspaper inserts through an agreement with Valassis Direct Mail simply capped a steady barrage of new issues coming from the ailing U.S. Postal Service. Baranczyk said the NNA board of directors determined that it is time to bring industry leaders together to revisit newspapers’ partnership with USPS. “We urge newspaper executives in every state to delegate a minimum of two industry leaders to attend this summit. We intend to invite the postmaster general and other policymakers to meet with us. Then we will visit our congressional delegations to communicate our concerns.”
Action by the 112th lame-duck Congress on postal reform legislation recommended by NNA is possible, he said. “But what we are facing is beyond the capacity of one legislative patch,” Baranczyk said. “USPS’ ﬁ nancial woes are not going to go away. We need a reliable delivery service. Most urgently, we need the political arena to understand that if America wants the solid journalism that is the foundation of our democracy, we cannot have an institution of the federal government taking aim at newspapers in this manner.”
He cited a host of battles NNA has fought on behalf of community newspapers in 2011 and 2012:
- Suing the Postal Regulatory Commission for approving the Valassis deep postage discounts.
- Seeking fair accounting for the Every Door Direct Mail advertising program that targets smaller newspaper advertisers.
- Opposing new mandates for Intelligent Mail Barcodes, which would load expense onto newspapers’ mailing programs, while providing little beneﬁt.
- Petitioning to keep the most efﬁ cient, smaller mail processing centers functioning for local newspaper mail.
- Asking for recognition of the value of newspapers entered into local post offices when the USPS administration considers closing them.
- Fighting to maintain Saturday mail delivery, where studies show that a slowdown of service would not only harm weekend newspapers but also delay delivery of cash payments in the mail.
- Preserving service standards for in-market newspaper mail.
NNA will conduct the Leadership Summit the morning of March 14 at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, VA. During the afternoon, delegations will visit their congressional ofﬁces to register their views with lawmakers. The evening will be devoted to the We Believe in Newspapers dinner sponsored by the National Newspaper Association Foundation.