ONMA Membership

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Information on membership levels

Full Membership | Why You Should Consider Joining

We’re not just for “traditional” newspapers! You should consider joining if you serve an Ohio audience and publish at least once a month in print or operate a stand-alone, digital local news site. Your affiliated digital products will become members, too.

We believe that the values we share and challenges we face in serving our Ohio communities are far more alike than different. We’re here to help with benefits you won’t find elsewhere. Some of those benefits are these:

Lobbying: We are your advocates in Columbus and, when necessary, in Washington. We place a high priority on government relations and in-person lobbying to protect our industry’s business and First Amendment interests. That’s never been more important than it is today. No one can represent you more effectively at the Statehouse than the ONMA.

Legal hotline: Our legal hotline offers deadline-sensitive advice on everything from open meetings to advertising acceptability. We have helped reporters get stories and saved our members thousands of dollars in potential court battles.

Advertising revenue: There are millions of ways — in dollars — that we help our members increase revenue through our sales and placement affiliate, AdOhio. If you join our network advertising programs, you can make thousands of dollars in incremental revenue by upselling. (For more on AdOhio rates for members, see the AdOhio and Public Notices tab on this page.)

Training & networking: Our annual convention, training programs and webinars are first-rate, high-value experiences that keep members coming back.

Discount on public notices uploads: Under Ohio law, all newspaper carrying public notices in the state must upload the notices to Public Notices Ohio. ONMA members receive a discount on the upload fee. (For more this, see the AdOhio and Public Notices tab on this page.)

Discount partners: Our partners at BENN Digital Advertising Network are helping ONMA members grow digital dollars. Other partners such as Constellation Energy, Walterry Insurance and Comp Management are helping our members save money on energy usage, libel and business insurance and workers’ compensation premiums.

Membership Requirements | Details

All applications for membership are subject to approval by the ONMA Board of Trustees. We welcome inquiries from prospective members. Contact Chana Powell at cpowell@ohionews.org.

Once you apply, our Board of Trustees will consider your application using these standards:

  • You’re available to the general public in printed format or via the Internet.
  • You conduct business in a professional manner.
  • You are primarily devoted to local or general news of interest to an Ohio audience and sell advertising.
  • You regularly update content, no less than once a month for printed publications, and at least once per week for online media outlets.
  • You generate unique news content and aren’t primarily an aggregator of content or links created by other media outlets.
  • You do not primarily serve as a platform promoting the interests and/or opinions of a special interest group, individual or cause.
  • You have been operating for at least three years before the application date. (If you don’t meet this requirement, see information on interim membership below.)
  • You have a publicized business telephone number and an office in Ohio within 50 miles of the primary community served that is open to the public and where business is transacted.
  • You abide by copyright laws and other laws applicable to media organizations.

How to Apply

To begin the application process, please provide the following items via email to Chana Powell at cpowell@ohionews.org or mail to Chana’s attention at the Ohio News Media Association, 1335 Dublin Road, Suite 216-B, Columbus OH 43215.

Please include or submit the following:

  • A cover letter stating that you are applying for membership. The letter should be signed by your highest-ranking local executive. It must include a business address, phone number and email address.
  • For a printed publication, publications publishing more than once a week should include circulation on their highest day of the week. Other publications should include their average weekly, bi-weekly or monthly circulation. This should be verified by a postal statement or outside audit. We also need the total cost of a full page of advertising at your national or open rate. These numbers will be used to perform a dues calculation and can be kept confidential.
  • For digital outlets, provide a verifiable statement of your average monthly unique visitors going back at least 12 months based on a commonly accepted platform of Web traffic data such as Google Analytics. This will be used to perform a dues calculation and can be kept confidential.
  • Printed publications should send at least three recent copies and the URL of your website. A brief history of your organization is helpful.
  • Digital outlets should send your website URL and, if possible, a brief history of your organization.

We also have substantial group discounts on dues for multiple publications or outlets in different communities under single ownership if all become ONMA members.

If you have been in operation for less than three years, you may apply as an “interim member.” You will receive all our member benefits other than eligibility to serve on our Board of Trustees. You will be considered for full active membership once you have passed the three-year anniversary.

About our dues: Your dues investment is determined by your total audience size. Our calculation is based on print circulation and/or average monthly unique visitors to your primary website.  Our annual dues minimum is $500 before any group discounts. If you would like us to do a confidential, preliminary dues calculation before submitting a formal application, please email audience information to Chana Powell at cpowell@ohionews.org.


College & University Membership

A non-voting membership may be granted to a college or university newspaper if it conforms to the following criteria: printed in an accepted newspaper format (standard or tabloid size) or published online; published on an announced, regular schedule or, as relates to a Web site, content updated no less than twice a month; have an office in Ohio; must follow the ethics and standards generally of professional print journalism; publish, verify and submit accurate circulation figures to the Association; and prepared entirely by students, except for mechanical assistance or assistance by faculty advisors. Dues are $350 annually.

Associate Membership

Associate Membership is available to firms which provide services, supplies and equipment to the newspaper industry, other non-publishing corporations, university journalism departments, and non-profit educational, financial and governmental institutions, foundations, trade associations, business groups and professional societies. Dues: $400 for profit making firms; $200 for non-profit and educational organizations.

When you join ONMA as an associate member, we will make sure our members know. That includes an article in our member Bulletin about you joining, recognition at our website and multiple forms of recognition at our annual convention if you become a sponsor. The initial announcement when you join will include a description of your business, a link to your website and your company logo. We invite associate members to offer added value to ONMA members through special promotions, discounts or bonuses for use of your services. We will partner with you to publicize these offers.


Retired Membership

Any individual who permanently retires from full-time employment in the newspaper industry and has worked for a newspaper that has been a member in good standing of the ONMA for the past five consecutive years may become a Retired Member. In addition, Retired Members shall be required to show some proof that they are retired, such as receiving retirement benefits or are not employed full-time by any newspaper or allied industry or organization. Dues: $25 per year.


AdOhio & Public Notices

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of ONMA, AdOhio sells advertising in ways that are designed to make the process as easy as possible for the advertiser while also benefiting our member papers. AdOhio handles display, classified and online advertising, legal notices and preprints.

ONMA members receive significant discounts when AdOhio sells advertising in your newspapers, publications and across your digital platforms. While non-member papers face a 40% holdback for any ads placed by AdOhio in their papers, ONMA members only have a 25% holdback for AdOhio business sold into their publications.

In addition, ONMA members receive a discount for uploading public notices to Public Notices Ohio. In order to be in compliance with Ohio's public notice laws, newspapers must upload notices to the site. But ONMA member papers are only charged 30 cents per upload, while non-member papers pay 35 cents per upload.