The two main trade bodies for UK national and regional newspaper publishers today took the word "newspaper" out of their names as they launched the News Media Association.
The new body follows the merger of regional press trade association the Newspaper Society and national newspaper publishers' group the Newspaper Publishers' Association. The two bodies already share offices and most staff and represent an industry which they say has a turnover off £6bn a year.
The move brings to an end nearly 300 years of combined history for the two bodies. The Newspaper Society was launched in 1836 and the Newspaper Publishers' Association was launched in 1904.
NMA chairman and former Newspaper Society (NS) president Adrian Jeakings said: “Free speech and independent news are the building blocks of a healthy democracy. Newspapers embody this by holding the powerful to account, exposing corruption, and giving a voice to the unheard.
“News brands – national, regional and local newspapers in print and digital – are by far the biggest investors in news in the UK, accounting for more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of the total spend on news provision. The NMA will provide this important sector with a clear voice on the issues which affect it.”
The NMA is being formed by the merger of the NS, the voice of local media, and the Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NPA) which represented national publishers.
Murdoch MacLennan, Telegraph Media Group chief executive and outgoing NPA chairman, said: “Newspapers have a huge audience of 42 million adults every month in print and online who rely on our publications for trusted news and information.
“I am confident that the industry has a long and vibrant future ahead of it and that the NMA will play a central role in helping the sector develop and prosper in an era in which news is being consumed across more platforms than ever before.”
When the NS was launched it represented both local and national newspapers but in 1906 the NPA was formed as a separate organisation to represent the nationals.
NMA chief executive David Newell said: "Press freedom is under attack on multiple fronts and defending this fundamental right to free speech will be central to the NMA's mission. The new organisation will work to clearly articulate the position of the news media industry on this and other important issues which affect the industry."