From the Summer issue of California Publisher
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
I have been thinking quite a bit about the meaning of this proverb as I lead the CNPA board this year. We all know the threats to our industry. The disruption of our business models. The consolidation that continues to threaten the quality, creation, distribution and consumption of local news. The transformation from print to digital. And the intentional and unintended consequences of legislation and other public policies that impact the way we do business in the state of California, or if we are able to do business at all.
It has become clear to me that now more than ever we must work together to ensure that our industry survives and thrives:
Not just CNPA staff.
Not just CNPA officers and board members.
Not just CNPA members.
But all of us.
A recent example of how we are working collectively on behalf of our industry is our AB 5 advocacy efforts, a CNPA priority of the 2019 Legislative Session.
When signed into law, AB 5 will make it harder to classify workers as independent contractors by codifying “Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles,” a landmark 2018 California Supreme Court decision. What is now being called the “Dynamex” bill, AB 5 would rewrite the rules for when a worker can be classified as an independent contractor vs. considered an official employee, challenging longstanding employment practices in our industry, and potentially impacting as many as 2 million workers working across a variety of California industries and sectors.
As the bill worked its way through both houses in Sacramento, our staff, and the Governmental Affairs Committee, briefed the board and recommended the association support the legislation with specific amendments. Our staff is continuing to work with the bill’s author on the amendments and language that will include long-recognized regulations for independent carriers and allow news organizations to continue to contract with freelance journalists.
Understanding that we are stronger together, publishers and leaders representing CNPA membership from across the state – from the Bay Area to San Diego – traveled to Sacramento to explain just how detrimental the bill could be to news publishers (especially our community newspapers) if signed into law. Our advocacy team also enlisted ethnic newspapers in the effort who understand how this bill could impact our businesses, and in turn negatively influence the quality and quantity of news and information that our most vulnerable communities receive.
Although my opening quote is ancient wisdom, collaboration remains an essential element for success and sustainability in our rapidly changing world. CNPA’s advocacy on behalf of the state’s news industry is the most important aspect of our mission, and we can’t fulfill it without you.
All of you.
I strongly believe that without an active and engaged membership, we cannot thrive. And there are many ways you can help. You can call your legislators when bills like AB 5 that can negatively impact our ability to serve our communities are introduced. You can call the CNPA office and express your interest in learning more about how you can get involved with the work of the Governmental Affairs or other committees. You can make plans to attend the CNPA Capital Conference Jan. 27-29, 2020, in Sacramento, our annual opportunity to show our policy makers just how dynamic our industry is and educate them on some of our most pressing issues. And you can enter the California Journalism Awards competition and attend the awards gala in Long Beach in May 2020.
As an industry we can go far … but we must go together.
CNPA President Paulette Brown-Hinds is publisher of the Black Voice News in Riverside and managing partner of BPC MediaWorks, which she founded in 2004.