Newspaper companies have pursued digital innovation and reinvention in feverish fashion this year, so it only makes sense for their trade association to reboot as well.
The New York Times reported Sunday that the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has been rechristened the News Media Alliance. But the name change, CEO David Chavern told me in a phone interview Tuesday, is "in some ways the least of it."
In a break with tradition, The Newspaper Association of America is looking to expand its membership to include digital-only news organizations, according to its top leaders.
Chairman Tony Hunter and President and CEO David Chavern let drop that prospect in a recent phone interview on their agenda for the coming year.
But Chavern quickly added it is not a done deal yet. "I do want to find a basis for getting digital-only members on board," he said, "but there are some things to do first — figure out our value proposition for them and a dues structure."
To the widely accepted notion that the newspaper business is going to hell in a bucket, here is a curious exception: circulation revenues (and profits) have risen over the last several years at the same time expenses have been substantially reduced.
The particulars of the case are laid out in the 15th edition of a data-heavy Newspaper of Association of America report, Circulation Facts and Figures, released this week (free to NAA members only).
I went to last week's NAA mediaXchange conference in Denver anticipating I would hear plenty of talk of big data, native advertising, mobile apps and social media. And I did. A less expected discovery: the concept of focusing coverage in a given paper's print editions and website on a handful of "passion topics" particular to that community is picking up steam.
A new analysis of the most recent newspaper audience reports suggests a surprising split in reading habits. Digital audience continues to grow. Mobile audience is growing quickly. Mobile-only audience, though much smaller, has grown to 7 million.
Yet more than half of newspaper audience -- 54 percent as measured by Scarborough research in 150 large markets -- still read their local paper's news report only in print.