NLA: Moving Forward

The News Leaders Association, born of the merger between two long-standing media organizations – the American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors – will become a bigger advocate for First Amendment issues.

“But let me be clear this morning. This is more than just a merger of two fine organizations,” said the inaugural NLA Board President Michael Days, who is vice president of diversity and inclusion for the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

“This is the start of something that builds aggressively on our commitment to journalism and nurturing new leaders, but it demands to be something brand new, it demands to be viewed as a robust organization that will defend our journalism and our journalists,” he said.

Membership and conference numbers have declined at the same time the public’s trust in the media is at an all-time low and we must be the force to turn the perceptions around, Days said.

NLA Board Member Nancy Barnes, senior vice president of news and editorial director for National Public Radio, said the organization plans to be a stronger advocate for journalism and the First Amendment. 

“We need to make ourselves really relevant in 21st Century America,” said Days. This means being an organization that energizes young leaders, he said.

NLA is working on a strategic plan this year and is looking for a CEO. The organization hopes to move to Washington D.C. in the future. 

As the 2019 conference started Monday, a classic New Orleans jazz band welcomed the conference goers and editors scattered to sessions covering leadership skills, covering natural disasters and exploring alternative story forms. 

Mary Eber is a senior at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, majoring in Journalism and Telecommunications. She graduates in December 2019 and can be reached at

Photographer, Eric Pritchett is a senior at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, majoring in Photojournalism and minoring in scuba. He graduates in December 2019 and can be reached at or on his website 

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