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NHPA elects leaders, sets goals for 2019

The New Hampshire Press Association elected officers and board members as well as set goals for 2019 at its annual meeting conducted at the Nackey S. Loeb school of Communications Thursday, Oct. 25. Twenty four people representing more than a dozen state news organizations attended the meeting.

The board of directors for 2019 are:

President: Vanessa Palange – University of New Hampshire.

Vice President: Howard Altschiller – Seacoast Media Group

Secretary: Heather Henline – Nashua Telegraph

Assistant Secretary: Melanie Plenda – NH News Collaborative

Treasurer – David Brooks – Concord Monitor

Assistant Treasurer: Geoff Forester – Concord Monitor

At Large: Trent Spiner – New Hampshire Union Leader

At Large: Nancy West – InDepthNH

At Large: Dan Tuohy – New Hampshire Public Radio

The following goals were established:

1 – Implement the new contest.

The New Hampshire Excellence in Journalism Contest will be announced by the end of November. We are in the final stages of building on online entry platform.  You can view our splash page here.

2 – Expand efforts at legislative oversight

The Press Association testified in favor of several right to know related bills in the 2018 legislative session. We plan on expanding those efforts and our cooperation with Right to Know New Hampshire. Please contact me if you would like to join the NHPA’s legislative committee.

3 – Create an education committee.

For several years, the NHPA, working with the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, has conducted a journalism workshop at Oyster River High School. You can view a highlights video of this year’s workshop here. We would like to expand the workshop concept to other parts of the state. Please contact me if you would like to join the NHPA’s education committee.    

4 – Establish relationships with the journalism programs at the state’s colleges and universities.

The association believes there are many areas were it can cooperate with college journalism programs. Members have expressed interest in creating an internship bank.

5 – Continue efforts to expand membership.

The association added several new members in 2018. Our goal is to continue to expand membership so that all news organizations in the state are participating.

The first meeting of the new board of directors will be by conference call Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. And agenda of the meeting will be issued Nov. 5.

In other news, the NHPA is working with the Solutions Journalism Network, which recently provide a grant to support the Granite State News Collaborative. NHPA Assistant Secretary Melanie Plenda is the collaborative’s project coordinator.

The Collaborative is focusing its reporting efforts on mental health issues in New Hampshire. Money is available for reporter travel funding, audience engagement funding and help planning engagement events.

Anyone interested in joining the project should contact Melanie at

Another The Solutions Journalism Network project centers on the midterm election. News organizations with a story or project idea relating to election reform can apply for SJN’s Renewing Democracy grant program through Nov. 13. It’s awarding $2,500 grants to 13 U.S. newsrooms that want to investigate what’s actually working to spur improvements in the electoral process — higher voter turnout, better campaign finance regulations, etc. Funding can be used for reporter travel to study an electoral system being tested elsewhere, data gathering or visualization, visual or audio components, audience engagement or live events, and more.

The Solutions Journalism Network can also conduct newsroom workshops. For more information go to its website to learn more and contact Leah Todd, , she in the organization’s New England Regional Manager based in Lebanon, N.H.

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