Directors of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the Inland Press Association have unanimously approved a plan to consolidate the two associations, effective Oct. 1.

Details of the plan approved by the two boards were set to be sent to members of both associations on June 7 for their consideration and vote. The result of the member balloting is expected to be announced on June 28.

“The consolidated association is crafted to be the champion of the newspaper industry and a proactive voice that promotes the value and contributions of newspapers to the communities that they serve,” according to a news release from the Atlanta-based Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. 

Doug Phares, this year’s president of Inland, which is based in Des Plaines, Illinois, said that the boards of both associations saw a need for an industry association that “provides voice, focus and function equal to the challenges of our new reality.”

In anticipation of approval by the membership, the merger planning group has engaged an attorney to prepare legal documents and filings, a marketing/branding firm to work on naming and messaging, and a company to conduct a national search for a CEO to lead the new association.

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