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May Is A Good Month For Relevance

Thomas A. Silvestri

May 19, 2021

The Relevance Project

We begin with breaking news:

The Relevance Project has started a SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM section. Check out the work-in-progress.

This expansion will allow the REVENUE RESOURCE 2021 to be all about money.

Thanks to all of the journalists who asked The Relevance Project, “What about us?”

We heard you. 

Here is an example of the type of advocacy you’ll see:

For additional details on Support Local Journalism with Relevance: 

Read about it here.

Followers of The Relevance Project — thank you, by the way — know the drill. Sign up on to receive the Relevant Points when they are posted. If not, wait for the monthly newsletter to learn what’s new. 

Your choice. 

Here’s a quick summary on what’s been added since the April Update:


Everyone in NAM knows Layne Bruce and his can-do reputation. That’s another good reason to feature him in our third in a series of Q&As with association executive directors, if anything to reveal a fact or two about Layne that you might not know. Read on.

#2. New Direction

Ever wonder what your association’s website says about your organization, leaders and members? Rebecca Snyder was tired of the “clunky” nature of the MDDC Press Association’s online hub. So, she changed it to “spunky.” See it here.

#3. Help This Friend

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state made news at last week’s America’s Newspapers spring conference when she advocated that $2.3 billion should go to local newspapers and broadcasters to repair the “communications infrastructure.” (The message above is in the new SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM section.) Awarding newspapers federal tax credits and grants will put back newsroom jobs eliminated by years of retrenchment. Cantwell says she can’t do it alone, however. She needs associations and community newspapers to persuade their representatives in Congress to join in the rescue. Learn more here.

#4. Ad Agency Opportunities

This summary repeats the 9 actions associations should consider to make their ad services more Relevant. It is based on a review of how associations pitch their ad agencies and ad services on their websites. Read all 9 Opportunities here.

#5. Be THE Community Forum

We continue our series on this important Relevant strategy with the strongest case to date on why associations and community newspapers should seize the advocacy for local journalism and elbow out of the picture all of the so-called national experts. Deepen trust with Community Forum initiative. If you read one Relevant Point today, make it this one.

#6. All Eyes On Florida

Associations have been watching developments in the Sunshine State where a potentially damaging debate yielded to a compromise that installs the Florida Press Association as the “Gateway to Public Notices.” Our Q&A with Jim Fogler is a must-read. Dig in here.

#7. Indispensable Journalism

You have to admire an association committee feeling so motivated that members create a statewide collaboration to better examine a controversial subject. Look to the Iowa Newspaper Association for the story behind the series about the inconsistent policies governing police body cameras and public access to the videos. Yes, collaboration can work big time. See here.

#8. Thought Leader

Will MediaNext join jazz, gumbo and the Saints when you think about Louisiana? The Louisiana Press Association hopes so as it builds out a new training program that initially is focusing on digital revenue. NAM members are invited to join in the learning, too. The inside scoop is here.

#9. Taking Advantage of Video

California News Publishers Association has revamped its advocacy for members and one of the first victories is a new approach to circulating its messages about the importance of trusted local journalism. It involves video and zeroing in on legislators and influencers. Fingers crossed the video atop this Relevant Point plays for you.

#10. Leave Print Alone

Why do some publications learn the hard way that revamping a print product to match a digital design doesn’t please loyal readers. They want news and simple, not glitz and complex. Here’s one publication that reversed course to cheers. Call it a new type of “bottom line.”

#11. On The Upswing

Send those knuckleheads who say newspapers are dying to Tennessee, where the press association has a positive membership story to tell. Start spreading the news.

#12. Inclusion Trend

Another association changes its membership bylaws to expand its tent to embrace non-traditional publishers. All good. Any guesses on who will be next?

#13. Ah, The Days Of Razor Blades and Wax

We shed a tear when we spotted David Thompson’s suggestion that news and production veterans in Kentucky celebrate National Paste-up Day. Be patient. The Paste-Up Era won’t easily compute with those whose fingers are stuck to smartphone keyboards. Roll it here.

14. Welcome, Lisa M. Simpson

There’s a new executive director in Arizona. She is focused on change. And these Top 3 Actions.

That’s it Richmond, VA, where The Relevance Project ventured out of the pandemic bunker without a mask last week. It felt good. Real good. 

You can catch the latest version of 10 Things You Need To Know About The Relevance Project this Thursday during the Colorado-Kansas virtual joint conference. It will be an honor being a part of this collaboration. 

Let us know if you need something. Our thanks to Metro Creative Graphics for its design and production of Relevance Project material, which are free to NAM associations and their members. 

And always remember: RELEVANT is an action.

Thomas A. Silvestri
Executive Director
The Relevance Project
An Initiative of the Newspaper Association Managers

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