CNPA Mission Statement

To protect and serve the common interests of its newsmedia members, to help members inform and thereby strengthen their communities, and to foster the highest ideals, ethics and traditions of journalism, a free press and the news profession.

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Benefits of CNPA membership

For 132 years, the California News Publishers Association has protected the mutual interests of the state’s newspapers, from the smallest weekly to the largest metropolitan daily.

CNPA plays a vital role in California’s newspaper industry, successfully influencing legislation in Sacramento, sponsoring an annual newspaper contest and summit, and promoting seminars on topics crucial to newspaper operations and viability. Here are some of the many services the association provides on behalf of its diverse body of members.


Member publications of all sizes have found that the benefits of CNPA membership can be one of their most valuable resources. Any daily, weekly or monthly California newspaper, digital and campus publication may apply for membership. CNPA’s total membership now totals 489 members.


CNPA’s governmental affairs staff serves as a protector and advocate for the California newspaper industry at the state capitol. The governmental affairs team, under the direction of CNPA’s Governmental Affairs Committee and its Board of Directors, follows hundreds of pieces of legislation each year affecting every aspect of newspaper publishing. These concerns include advertising, environmental issues such as recycling and hazardous waste, employment relations issues, telecommunications, taxes and, of course, freedom of information and the First Amendment.

CNPA works to defeat onerous, business-killing regulations for its members, keeping in mind the newspaper industry’s role as a leader in environmental, health, safety and other workplace issues. CNPA also works closely with the Legislature to reform existing regulations that stifle creativity and productivity.

CNPA is the sole lobbying organization in the state that protects and enhances the public’s right to know. The association has long been the primary advocate behind enactment of California laws that allow access to state and local government records and meetings. In addition CNPA works to maintain the Public Notice laws in California, ensuring that notices remain in print publications.

CNPA maintains an aggregated website where newspapers upload their published public notices. This is a free service to California newspapers.

Each year, CNPA defeats or materially amends bills that would restrict public access to state and local agencies and the courts, or would adversely affect the First Amendment rights of the press.

CNPA governmental affairs staff keeps members abreast of breaking issues through its Legislative eBulletin, which is published weekly while the Legislature is in session. The staff tracks issues with FOI Watch, a periodic compilation of freedom of information news items.


CNPA’s legal Help Line informs key personnel at member newspapers on such topics as access to public meetings and records, school access, publisher liability for certain types of advertising, libel and workplace issues. Many members say the money the Help Line saves them in legal costs is alone worth the cost of CNPA membership. Staff also leads low-cost and no-cost legal workshops that focus on libel, privacy, the California Public Records Act and the Ralph M. Brown Act. For more: Call the Help Line at (916) 288-6006.


CNPA has several advertising programs that bring incremental revenues to participating member newspapers and place millions of advertising dollars annually:

  • The California Statewide Classified and Display Ad NetworksCal-SCAN and Cal-SDAN, add to the selection and variety of classified and small display ads. They provide participating newspapers with biannual rebates in July and January for publishing statewide ads. Newspapers that sell statewide and regional ads into the programs earn commissions.
  • The new California Quarter-Page Ad Network will provide participating newspapers with contracted quarter-page rates for publishing ads.
  • CNPA Advertising Services places any type of advertising campaign in any newspaper nationwide, from national and retail toco-op and Internet. CNPA Advertising Services can process any type or category of advertising offered by the newspaper industry nationwide: ROP, preprints, Internet, poly bags, comic spadeas, Post-It notes and more. The one-stop placement and billing service is available to advertisers at no cost. Agencies and advertisers that use multiple newspapers, either regionally or nationally, benefit from this service. Also, the National Preprint Network competes with alternate delivery methods.


Vendors and suppliers to the newspaper trade who place ads in the CNPA eBulletin and on the CNPA website are exposing their messages to CNPA’s members for a very low price. The weekly eBulletin reaches key member executives.


The CalPress Foundation is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to raise funds through tax-deductible contributions for educational purposes relating to the publishing and information dissemination business.

The CalPress Foundation serves California’s newspaper readers by supporting and financially assisting the state’s high schools and colleges to teach quality journalism that is also responsive to changing technology and consumer preferences. This goal is accomplished by providing financial assistance to college students seeking careers in journalism, advertising or marketing, and to campus newspapers that desperately need new production equipment.

The Foundation also supports educational services including Newspaper in Education programs and training programs related to the California newspaper business.

Donations to the Foundation are entirely tax-deductible through Section 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation.


The annual California Journalism Awards recognize journalism excellence among CNPA’s daily, weekly and monthly member newspapers, digital news media, and student newspapers from high schools, two-year colleges and four-year universities. Daily, weekly and monthly member newspapers compete within their circulation divisions among 37 different categories. Digital and print publication compete in 22 categories in the Digital Contest. There are 12 campus categories. More than 450 awards are issued annually to winners at the annual California Journalism Awards Gala. The contest is considered one of the nation’s largest, drawing approximately 3,000 entries each year. The winners in the most recent contests are available online.


CNPA’s board meetings, open to all members, are held four times a year. Quarterly meetings enable members to meet professionally and socially to exchange ideas.

The annual CNPA Capital Conference is open to CNPA members, their spouses and staffs. The annual meeting, which now includes the CNPA Legislative Forum (formerly Governmental Affairs Day) brings together hundreds of newspaper staff from across the state to examine the most pressing issues facing the industry. Programming includes a Welcome Luncheon with keynote speaker, sessions devoted to governmental affairs issues, social events, and industry experts who tackle a variety of issues through speeches and panel discussions. The Capital Conference is held in Sacramento in late January or early February of each year.


CNPA’s online Job Bank contains help wanted, job seeker and equipment-for-sale opportunities available among members.


The weekly CNPA Bulletin contains state and national industry news and information about CNPA programs and is email each Tuesday.

CNPA’s governmental affairs staff produces the Legislative Bulletin, which covers legislative activities and reports on bills of interest to members. This bulletin is produced when the Legislature is in session or specific legal or legislative activities require informational distribution.

California Publisher, CNPA’s tabloid newspaper, contains member news, features, opinion pieces, coverage of California newspaper events and CNPA activities, and informative columns. California Publisher accepts classified and display advertising.


CNPA handbooks aid members in obtaining information and in complying with the law. “The Right to Know” is an easy-to-understand guide outlining journalists’ rights to access public information. It covers open meetings, public records, access to courts, photographers’ rights, confidentiality and the Shield Law.

CNPA Membership Information

Membership Guidelines for Admission

Any California daily, weekly or monthly newspaper issue or newspaper edition displaying news of general interest and unique local appeal is eligible to apply as an Active Member, so long as its free or paid copies have been distributed for a period of at least one full year. Digital News Media may also apply under separate membership criteria. In order to remain qualified for Active membership, all other qualified newspaper issues and editions of a member including niche products, websites, magazines, special editions, and other products that are produced as a result of the resources of any Active member must also join as a member, regardless of any similar elements of identification they display as their “name.”

Membership Type

ACTIVE MEMBER (Daily; Independent Weekly, Weekly Group Leaders and Group Members) — Active Membership shall apply to any daily newspaper as defined in CNPA’s Bylaws. Active membership status shall also apply to any independently operated weekly or monthly newspaper, or the flagship newspaper presiding over a group of multiple issues and editions that collectively constitutes one particular regionally operating weekly or monthly group as defined in CNPA’s Bylaws. Each regionally operating weekly or monthly group must name one member the group leader, regardless of any common ownership among multiple groups of CNPA members. Each newspaper issue and edition produced within a group leader’s immediate regionally operating group must apply as an Active member. Dues are calculated for daily and weekly or monthly independent members based on a formula that takes into consideration the total annual gross revenues of the member and all special publications it produces, exclusive of commercial printing (See Special Publication Member, below). In the case of weekly or monthly groups, dues are calculated on the annual gross revenues of the group leader combined with the annual gross revenues of all group members and all special publications produced by the group, exclusive of commercial printing. Only designated representatives of Active Members may vote on corporate a airs and serve as officers and directors.

DIGITAL NEWS MEDIA MEMBER  — Digital News Media membership shall apply to an organization that posts news and information of a local character, using digital media that may include the internet, websites, mobile and tablet technology. Online publications can be paid or free news websites or electronic news publications with at least 50 percent local news content, rather than aggregated, copied or reprinted from other sources, with a substantial portion produced by local staff in California.

CLASS MEMBER (Non-voting) — Class membership status shall apply to any special interest newspaper produced for the purpose of providing news of specific interest to a particular class, profession, trade or denomination. The dues billing amount is based upon the dues assessment rules that govern Active membership.

Active membership application

Digital membership application

CNPA Allied Membership

Allied membership shall apply to representatives of the allied trades by virtue of their service to the newspaper industry. Your Allied Membership includes:

  • Online listing on CNPA’s website with your own customized company profile.
  • Free print ad in the quarterly California Publisher, which goes to executives and decision-makers across California and the U.S.
  • Discounted ad rates in e-newsletters and on the CNPA website, for added visibility.
  • Mailed subscription to the quarterly California Publisher, weekly CNPA eBulletin and Legislative eBulletin.
  • Access to the CNPA Legal Helpline.
  • Member rates for all attendees at CNPA meetings.
  • Free job listings in the online CNPA Job Bank.

Allied membership application

CNPA Campus Membership

Non-voting student membership shall apply to any high school, college, university or other campus newspaper or digital edition published by full-time students.

Campus membership application