The Tennessee Press Association is modest.
It reported an outstanding accomplishment in a mere brief tucked inside its March edition of The Tennessee Press.
The big news? The Association’s membership is at its highest level since 2002.
That’s something to crow about.
“I am VERY proud of our growing membership,” said TPA Executive Director Carol Daniels, after I emailed her seeking details on how the Association added members in February. “Our membership has been on a steady increase since I joined four year ago.”
The addition of two newspapers owned by Main Street Media of Tennessee increased TPA’s total membership to 132, equalling the last high recorded almost two decades ago.
Credit the ownership makeup of Tennessee’s newspapers as well as the Association’s stepping up its Relevance to members at a critical time — the pandemic.
“We have several group owners; fortunately for TPA, they are all very supportive of what we do,” Daniels said. “The majority of these groups are community newspapers. They are going strong. We, like all other associations, work closely with our members during COVID-19. I am sure the membership has heard from us more than usual over the past 14 months.”
The Association also didn’t let the crisis derail its plans to compile original market research that confirmed the effectiveness and importance of newspapers to the communities they serve. Tennessee is among a group of associations completing readership surveys with Nashville-based Coda Ventures, which also has supplied research to The Relevance Project.
“”The members are fortunate that the Tennessee Press Service Board of Directors recognize there are many opportunities to do things that will benefit members over and above regular benefits. One of these projects included funding a readership study through Coda Ventures. The readership survey results are great tools for our members to utilize,” Daniels said.
“Again, like other associations we have worked hard to keep our reporters informed of anything we hear coming from the state or federal levels,” she added.
The increase in membership comes with a change in the makeup of the Association.
In 2002, 28 daily newspapers and 104 non-dailies were members. Today, the breakdown is 18 dailies and 114 non-daily members.
It’s also good to have members who are growing. Nine Main Street Media newspapers have joined since July 2017, the Association said.
“I don’t know what the ‘Secret Sauce’ is,” Daniels said. “What I do know is that TPA and TPS have a small but mighty team that is 110 percent all in when it comes to supporting our members.”
That’s front-page news, if you ask me.