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Fisher: Exciting year ahead for Association, members

Sam_webIt is important to reflect on last year’s biggest issue as we look forward to this year.

In 2018, we faced one of the biggest challenges to the industry in a long time, perhaps ever.

The proposed tariffs on newsprint which started in early 2017 caught us all off-guard. We learned all too quickly how trade laws worked, and at the outset it appeared that we had an insurmountable task in getting the preliminary tariffs from becoming permanent.

But as an industry, we learned and adapted quickly.

We wrote countless editorials, and garnered the support of our elected officials. In Illinois, we were able to get our full congressional delegation on board to oppose the tariffs. No other state played a larger role in keeping tariffs from becoming permanent.

Tariffs brought us together, proving that we had value and were a force to be reckoned with.

This year, we hope for no surprises, and as an Association we plan to provide even more services for our members.

First and foremost is the Foundation’s initiative  – Capitol News Illinois. The bureau is fully staffed and has started providing our members much needed coverage of state government.

We also plan to offer more for members at this year’s convention. We’ve added a legislative day, so our members can head to the Capitol to meet with their local lawmakers. As part of that day, we’re hosting a reception for our legislators and members.

With the help of both the newly formed advertising and editorial committees, our contests were upgraded.

We plan to expand our educational programming beyond the usual editorial and advertising topics. We’ll add circulation, production and management programs. There will be much more information about the convention in the coming weeks.

At the convention, we will introduce the results of a member needs survey that will be conducted later this spring. The survey is intended to give us direction on how best to meet our members ever-changing needs.

Additionally, we plan on having regional meetings around the state to personally address member needs.

There’s a lot more planned, and we’ll communicate that in the future.

Here’s to a great 2019!

Sam Fisher is president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association. He may be reached at sfisher@illinoispress.org.

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