Page links

Download ONA Membership Brochure and Application

Active Membership | Why You Should Consider Joining

ONA membership brings benefits you won’t get anywhere else.  We place a high priority on government relations and lobbying to protect our industry’s business and First Amendment interests. Our legal hotline offers deadline-sensitive advice on everything from open meetings to advertising acceptability. There are millions of ways — in dollars — that we help our members increase revenue through our sales and placement affiliate, AdOhio. Our annual convention, training programs, discounts with insurance programs, participation discounts with other media organizations and Newspapers in Education tools are among other key benefits.

ONA members approved changes to our Constitution in 2013 to open active membership to a larger group of Ohio news outlets, including digital-only products and newspapers with substantial unpaid circulation.  In the past, those publications only could join if they were owned by an ONA member or group already in active standing.

All applications for membership are subject to approval by the ONA Board of Trustees. We welcome inquiries from prospective members. Contact Sue Bazzoli, 614-486-6677, ext. 1018, or sbazzoli@ohionews.org.

Newspaper Membership | The Details

ONA member newspapers must be eligible to publish public notices under Ohio law. An individual, firm or corporation should meet the statutory definition of a newspaper of general circulation as stated in Ohio Revised Code Sec. 7.12 as of June, 2012.  Specialty or niche publications meeting these criteria also may be admitted for active membership.

Those legal requirements are as follows: a newspaper that is published at least weekly and has done so for the past three years; is printed in English using standard printing methods; is at least eight pages of broadsheet size and at least 16 pages of tabloid size; contains at least 25 percent editorial content that includes items such as local news and sports; has the ability to add subscribers to a distribution list; and provides proof of circulation either by an independent audit or a USPS statement of ownership filed within the past 12 months.

To begin the application process, please provide the following items:

  • A cover letter stating that you are applying for membership and that you believe you meet the requirements of ORC 7.12 to the best of your knowledge.  (See above.) The letter should be signed by your highest-ranking local executive.
  • Your average daily or weekly circulation and proof of circulation as noted above.
  • The total cost of a full page advertising at national or open rate.
  • At least three recent copies of your publication. A brief history of your publication is very helpful.
  • The URL of your website, if you have one.

Annual dues are the cost of 39 percent of a page of advertising (calculated at the national or open rate) plus $68 per thousand of circulation (calculated to three decimals; i.e. 2,156 circulation is 2.156). We will use the information you provide to perform a dues calculation. We also have substantial group discounts on dues for multiple publications if all become ONA members.

If you have been in operation for less than three years, you may apply as an “interim member.” You will receive all our member benefits other than eligibility to serve on our Board of Trustees. You will be considered for full active membership once you have passed the three-year anniversary.

Digital-Only Products | The Details

If you offer a digital-only product in Ohio (one that does not have a newspaper or broadcast counterpart or parent), you may apply for active membership, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees. The Board will consider the following criteria:

  • You are available to the general public via the World Wide Web.
  • You conduct business in a professional manner.
  • You are primarily devoted to local or general news and other editorial content and sell advertising.
  • You regularly update content, no less than once per week, with unique news content and aren’t primarily an aggregator of content or links created by other media outlets.
  • You do not primarily serve as a platform promoting the interests and/or opinions of a special interest group, individual or cause.
  • You have been operating as a digital product for three years before the application date. (If you don’t meet this requirement, see information on interim membership below.)
  • You have a publicized business telephone number and an office in Ohio within 50 miles of the primary community served that is open to the public and where business is transacted.
  • You abide by copyright laws.

To apply for membership as a digital-only product, please submit the following items:

  • A cover letter stating that you are applying for membership. The letter should be signed by your highest-ranking local executive.
  • The URL of your website as well as your business address and telephone number. A brief history of your operation is very helpful.
  • A verifiable statement of your average monthly unique visitors going back at least 12 months based on a commonly accepted platform of Web traffic data such as Google Analytics or Omniture. If you have not been operating for at least 12 months and will be applying as an interim member, please provide a statement that goes back as many months as possible.

If you are owned and operated by an ONA newspaper member in good standing, it is likely your membership is included already. The online products specifically associated with newspaper members already in good standing are considered to be part of the membership of that publication. Other online products produced by newspaper members in good standing may submit individual applications.

Dues for digital-only members are calculated at a flat amount of $325 annually or $25 per 1,000 average monthly unique visitors, whichever is higher. If you have been in operation for less than three years, you may apply as an “interim member” to receive our member benefits.  Once your three-year anniversary is past, the Board of Trustees will consider you for Active membership.

Applications may be sent electronically to sbazzoli@ohionews.org or, by mail, to Sue Bazzoli, Ohio Newspaper Association 1335 Dublin Road, Suite 216-B, Columbus OH, 43215.

College & University Newspaper Membership

A non-voting membership may be granted to a college or university newspaper if it conforms to the following criteria: printed in an accepted newspaper format (standard or tabloid size) or published online; published on an announced, regular schedule or, as relates to a Web site, content updated no less than twice a month; have an office in Ohio; must follow the ethics and standards generally of professional print journalism; publish, verify and submit accurate circulation figures to the Association; and prepared entirely by students, except for mechanical assistance or assistance by faculty advisors. Dues are $100 annually.

Associate Membership

Associate Membership is available to firms which provide services, supplies and equipment to the newspaper industry, other non-publishing corporations, university journalism departments, and non-profit educational, financial and governmental institutions, foundations, trade associations, business groups and professional societies. Dues: $400 for profit making firms; $200 for non-profit and educational organizations. Vendors who provide support to the annual conference for Ohio circulation executives pay yearly dues of $75 and also will be recognized as ONA associate members.

When you join ONA as an associate member, we will make sure our members know. That includes an article in our member Bulletin about you joining, recognition at our website and multiple forms of recognition at our annual convention if you become a sponsor. The initial announcement when you join will include a description of your business, a link to your website and your company logo. We invite associate members to offer added value to ONA members through special promotions, discounts or bonuses for use of your services. We will partner with you to publicize these offers.

Retired Membership

Any individual who permanently retires from full-time employment in the newspaper industry and has worked for a newspaper that has been a member in good standing of the ONA for the past five consecutive years may become a Retired Member. In addition, Retired Members shall be required to show some proof that they are retired, such as receiving retirement benefits or are not employed full-time by any newspaper or allied industry or organization. Dues: $25 per year.

For more information about ONA click here.

Click here to see some of the services ONA offers to its members.