ASNE, APME approve merger plan to become News Leaders Association

Austin, Texas (Sept. 11, 2018) - At this pivotal moment for journalism and freedom of the press, two of the most significant organizations in journalism have voted to merge and become one voice for the industry.  
The formation of the News Leaders Association, combining the American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors, was approved by the two groups' members during their joint News Leadership Conference in Austin.
ASNE and APME will continue to work jointly on major projects during the coming year as legal steps toward the merger are completed. NLA is expected to be in place by the 2019 News Leadership Conference Sept. 9-10 in New Orleans.

In this extraordinary time of upheaval across the news industry, as well as forces outside it, leaders and members of ASNE and APME believe that now is the time for journalism leaders to come together to make great impact.

"These are challenging times for our business and our country," said Nancy Barnes, incoming president of ASNE for 2018-19. "We believe joining our two organizations will only strengthen our ability, as journalism leaders, to stand up for the principles we hold dear."
"Editors' jobs have never been more challenging, and we believe that our groups are stronger together as we work to be a valuable resource for leaders at news organizations of all sizes," said APME President Angie Muhs.
The mission statement of NLA reads: "The News Leaders Association is committed to leading, nurturing and serving journalism and democracy."
"There's never been a more important time to create an organization vigorously committed to defending and explaining the values of an independent press in a democratic society," said outgoing APME President Jim Simon. "NLA is also committed to reimagining our work so that it's relevant to a broader range of leaders from a variety of backgrounds and to the needs of a rapidly changing journalism landscape."
After years of working closely together to further the cause of journalism, both organizations are excited to become one while also honoring the long histories of both ASNE and APME.
"We have gotten to this point with the drive and determination to create an organization that keeps advancing the core causes that allow journalism to have a vital impact on society and democracy," said outgoing ASNE President Alfredo Carbajal. "Those include defending the First Amendment, pushing for greater diversity and inclusiveness in news stories and newsrooms and developing newer generations of news leaders."
NLA encourages all journalists, from across disciplines and platforms, to join in this cause. The organizations are stronger together, and now is the time to step up and become a member of something that matters. To become a member, simply visit or
Both ASNE and APME will continue to exist in 2018-19, working together closely on our top journalistic priorities, details of the merger and the 2019 conference planning. Join either organization now and automatically become a member of NLA when the merger is final.
Both organizations are a part of merged committees that include Conference, Diversity, First Amendment, Leadership and Media Literacy. Become a member of ASNE or APME and immediately make an impact by contributing to committee work.
As opposing voices get louder, leaders in the industry need to step up and join in the fight for democracy.
Leaders of both organizations are available for interviews by contacting ASNE Executive Director Teri Hayt at or APME Executive Director Paula Froke at
ASNE-APME merger Q&A

Q: Why are ASNE and APME combining?

A: This is a time of extraordinary challenges to independent journalism. We believe this is a unique opportunity to combine our voices into a single, more forceful advocate for the values of a free press. As the country's two premier newsroom leadership organizations, we know that we can have greater impact by working together at a time when our voices and our efforts on behalf of journalism are needed more than ever.  

During the yearlong conversations involving leaders of both organizations, we agreed that a single organization that connects and serves newsroom leaders is needed to help the public understand the role of an independent news media.

We strive to become a strong, unified voice that promotes journalism's highest standards and defends the First Amendment.

The new organization will also be sharply focused on developing the next generation of news leaders and reinvigorating the push for diversity in the news industry.

Q: What's your mission statement?

A: The News Leaders Association is committed to leading, nurturing and serving
journalism and democracy. We will:
a. Advocate for the values of a free press and free speech, and engage local
communities on the value of credible news.

b. Nurture news leaders and develop rising generations of journalists from diverse backgrounds to succeed today and lead tomorrow.

c. Serve newsrooms and the public by maintaining the highest standards of credible, ethical and independent journalism across platforms.
Q: Is this simply a merger of the two organizations?

A: In a legal sense, we''l be combining the two organizations. But our goal is to create a new membership organization focused on serving the needs of leaders at all levels in newsrooms and on all types of journalism platforms.

The News Leaders Association will have a broader membership structure than either ASNE or APME has now. We'll be working on the details in the coming year.

The ASNE Foundation and APME Foundation will not be merged at this point and remain independent of each other. 

Q: What is the timeline for creating a new organization?

A: Our tentative schedule is based on formally completing a merger in about a year. Here are some of the key milestones:

August 2018: Completed a detailed merger and governance plan, as well as
a combined budget, that formed the basis for a formal memorandum-of-understanding between ASNE and APME. Each board approved the plan. With feedback via a survey of both organizations' members, we adopted the name News Leaders Association and began work on a logo and other branding.

September 2018: The full membership of each organization approved the plan at the joint News Leadership Conference in Austin. Legal work begins in earnest.

September 2019: The News Leaders Association is expected to be fully operational by the News Leadership Conference in New Orleans. Michael Days, currently secretary of the APME board, will become the first president of the new organization. George Stanley, currently secretary of ASNE, will become the vice president. 

Q: What are the next steps?

A: Both ASNE and APME will continue to exist in 2018-19, working together closely on our top journalistic priorities, details of the merger and the 2019 conference planning.

Four committees, composed of board members from ASNE and APME, are mapping out details and recommendations on key areas, such as governance, finances, membership and recruiting, marketing, contests and other areas. We will create bylaws for the News Leaders Association and target key areas of leadership emphasis for our first year.

On the legal front, our lawyers are working out the many details involved in combining our two nonprofit organizations. That includes filing certificates of merger and getting approval in Virginia and New York, where ASNE and APME, respectively, are incorporated, and a filing certificate of incorporation in Delaware, where the new organization will be formed.

Q: How does the merger affect my membership in ASNE or APME? How can I become a member of NLA?

A: Current members of both ASNE and APME will become members of the News Leaders Association. We will be working out details of dues and membership structure going forward for NLA, once it's formally in place.
If you're not a member yet, you can sign up now at or, and your membership will be transferred to NLA when the new organization is legally established.

We encourage everyone to join us now, rather than waiting, to help us all fully leverage our strength in numbers.
Q: Who can become a member of NLA?

A:  For more information on how to become a member of ASNE, click here, or APME, click here.

Q: What will the governing structure look like?

A: The News Leaders Association will begin in 2019 with a board of 22 members, with a plan to gradually reduce that number to 15. The initial board will consist of officers of each organization. In addition to the officers, ASNE and APME will each select six at-large board members for the new organization. Additionally, The Associated Press will nominate one at-large board member, and ASNE will nominate a former member of the Association of Opinion Journalists as an at-large member. (AOJ merged into ASNE in 2016-17.)  We have also discussed potential board seats for other nonprofit journalism organizations or foundations, as well as how best to ensure that newsrooms of all sizes, from the smallest to the largest, are represented.
About the American Society of News Editors
The American Society of News Editors focuses on leadership development and journalism-related issues. Founded in 1922 as a nonprofit professional organization, ASNE promotes fair, principled journalism; defends and protects First Amendment rights; and fights for freedom of information and open government. Leadership, innovation, diversity and inclusion in coverage and the journalism work force, opinion journalism, news literacy and the sharing of ideas are also key ASNE initiatives.
About the Associated Press Media Editors
The Associated Press Media Editors advances the principles and practices of responsible journalism; supports and mentors a diverse network of current and emerging newsroom leaders; and champions the First Amendment and freedom of information. APME trains journalists to thrive in a rapidly changing environment and promotes forward-looking ideas that benefit news organizations and the communities they serve. The organization works closely with The Associated Press, the largest independent media operation in the world.