Government relations, including lobbying, is one of ONMA’s most important roles as the trade association for Ohio’s daily and weekly newspapers and their affiliated Web sites. ONMA does much more than represent the business interests of its members. The association also serves the news media and all Ohio citizens as a watchdog and advocate for open government. That includes laws, rulings and regulations related to open meetings, public records and open courts.
Over a legislative session in Columbus, lawmakers often introduce dozens of bills that affect matters such as advertising, public records and open meetings, taxation, telemarketing, legal notices, labor & employment law and newsprint recycling. Meanwhile, the executive branch and its many agencies may suggest changes to existing regulations or propose new rules that impact ONMA members.
Monica Nieporte, ONMA executive director, serves as the registered lobbyist for the association. She also maintains contact with the Ohio delegation in Congress. On federal issues, ONMA cooperates with the News Media Alliance (NMA) and the National Newspaper Association (NNA) in presenting newspaper industry positions.
ONMA is assisted by a team of attorneys from the law firm of Baker & Hostetler. These include experts in media law and all areas of newspaper management. Hetzel also maintains relationships with additiONMAl attorneys from member newspapers and develops strategic partnerships with other groups on an issue-by-issue basis.
The ONMA board of trustees receives monthly updates on legislation and establishes association positions in consultation with the executive director. Bulletin articles, legislative reports, Web site postings and special alerts detailing specific bills help communicate activities to ONMA members. And, at times, Ohio’s newspaper industry leaders are asked to personally engage in order to achieve critical objectives.