For the first time, associate members of the Nevada Press Association will have a seat on the board of directors.
Before the change was made at the NPA’s general meeting on Oct. 3, associate members — those which do not hold a publications mailing permit and don’t qualify to publish public notices — were able to reap all the benefits of belonging to the association without having a direct say in its governance.
Now, though, following a recommendation by the board, a 12th seat has been added for a representative of the associate members.
Anyone interested in the seat may apply by sending an email to Executive Director Barry Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). The first representative will be appointed by the board, then the seat will be filled by election at next year’s general meeting.
Several publications have been associate members of NPA for many years, such as Las Vegas Weekly and Reno News & Review. Associate members also include news services, college journalism departments, online news sites and even individuals. As long as they share the NPA’s goals of promoting the newspaper industry and supporting the First Amendment, they’re eligible.
They pay dues, enter the annual contest and participate in all the rest of the NPA activities. They just didn’t have a vote.
“Board members talked about elevating the role of the associate members in the association, making them feel welcome and encouraging them to be involved,” said Smith. “It’s an opportunity to bring some fresh perspectives to the board.”
Smith also noted that new memberships in recent years have been mostly associates, as few publications started in Nevada have become qualified under statute to publish notices.
“When we look at new media being created, there is a great deal of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Smith. “NPA encompasses all that.”
One of the questions in the past from associate members has been the emphasis by NPA on lobbying the Legislature on public notices. Smith responded that NPA typically works on 50-60 bills in a session, with perhaps a half-dozen of those involving notices.
“We’re there pushing open-government issues every day,” said Smith. “Public notices are a key part, but open records and meetings are just as important to all our members. And there are plenty of other things to keep an eye on, ranging from taxes to independent-contractor statutes.”
Here’s a list of the current board and a roster of past presidents.