The Hoosier State Press Association Board of Directors unanimously voted to allow greater flexibility in the process of selecting new board members to fill vacant slots.

HSPA was formed in 1933 at a time when the state’s newspaper industry was represented by four different organizations (one each representing dailies, weeklies and affiliations with the two political parties).

To ensure that the newly formed entity would represent the broad spectrum of large, small, daily and weekly newspapers, the bylaws called for the board to be made up of six newspaper executives representing dailies and six representing weeklies.

In December the board determined that this rigid formula was no longer needed.

To increase flexibility in choice, while maintaining a balance between large and small newspaper operations, the bylaws were changed to require the board to have representation by four weekly and four daily newspaper executives.

This leaves four seats that can be filled by any publisher.

Board of Directors Presi­dent Jon O’Bannon, publisher of The Corydon Democrat, initiated the bylaw discussion at the board’s Dec. 12 meeting.

O’Bannon said having a key staff member absent for a day to attend HSPA meetings in Indianapolis is increasingly more difficult for small newspapers.

Chuck Wells, publisher for Home News Enterprises, said talent and commitment are more important for candidates than whether the publisher represents a weekly or daily newspaper. Don Hurd, publisher of The Benton Review (Fowler) and The News and Review (Monon), agreed with Wells’ assessment.

With newspaper ownership consolidation over the past couple of decades, 88 publishers manage HSPA’s 166 member newspapers.

O’Bannon appointed a committee to examine whether there is a need for other bylaw changes. The committee will be comprised of O’Bannon, Greg Morris, publisher of the Indianapolis Business Journal, Wells and Hurd.

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