At the start of 2019, the year ahead promised to be one of partnership and collaboration, both for the News Media Association and the local and national news media publishers we represent.
The past few months have seen the industry forge ahead with several successful joint initiatives.
On the commercial side, the Ozone Project has seen a number of national titles come together to bring a powerful new joint digital sales package into the marketplace.
For the local sector, the Local News Partnership with the BBC has been widely acknowledged as an example of how different sections of the industry can work together to produce genuine benefit for the public.
There is undoubtedly a growing sense of the importance of collaboration, particularly following the NMA’s new Journalism Matters campaign (13 – 19 May) which saw the industry unite to celebrate the power of news media journalism.
On 24 May, we will embark upon a new partnership when we move from our current headquarters on Vauxhall Bridge Road into NLA media access’ premises on New Bridge Street.
The move will symbolise a coming together between two organisations who share very similar values.
We both believe passionately in the value of journalism and the importance of finding a sustainable business model to enable commercial providers to continue to invest in it.
When the call for evidence for the Cairncross Review was published, we worked together on a series of proposals designed to help the content creators reap the awards of their investment.
The issue of the tech giants siphoning off digital advertising revenue from the creators of original journalism looms large over the industry.
Government and regulators acknowledge the problem, but action is urgently needed to help news media publishers reap the rightful rewards from their investment in news.
Despite the challenges, the industry can be encouraged that news media journalism is more sought after by the public than ever before.
Forty-eight million people in Great Britain consume news media in print or digital every month.
The value and importance of journalism to our democratic society is a key theme of the Journalism Matters campaign which highlighted the considerable economic, cultural and social benefits created by news media journalism.
At the NMA, our mission is to champion the industry’s strengths but also to defend it from the many threats it faces.
Globally, press freedom is under threat with journalists facing serious physical violence or threat of imprisonment just for daring to speak the truth to power.
In the UK, we should be a beacon for freedom of speech across the world yet, sadly, we languish in 33rd place in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.
Our rise from number 40 last year is due in no small part to the NMA-led fightback against the draconian Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 which would have punished local and national newspapers simply for telling the truth.
But, despite this success, there is more work to be done and we will continue to fight the threats to press freedom wherever we find them.
We offer a range of services to our members including monitoring a wide variety of public policy and regulatory areas which may impact upon news media publishers.
When appropriate, we make representations on behalf of our members and put across the case for the news media industry.
Through Newsworks and Local Media Works, the marketing bodies for the national and local news media sectors respectively, we continue to present the industry’s commercial offering to agencies and advertisers.
In addition to lobbying and representational work, we offer a range of media facilities services including press cards for journalists and administering the Royal Rota system for pooling video, pictures and copy from Royal events.
We are delighted to be embarking on this new chapter in our history by moving into new premises with NLA media access.
By collaborating and working more closely together, it will be the start of a new partnership which will benefit our two organisations and the industry we both serve.