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Murphy’s Law — Your MDDC Update from Executive Director Jack Murphy for Sept. 5

Board meetings to decide MDDC’s future
By Jack Murphy

The MDDC board of directors is meeting this week and next to determine the future path of the press association. Friday, board members will meet to discuss options and ideas, and then at the regular board meeting next week to make a decision.

The impetus for the discussion is my retirement as the executive director after seven years of leading MDDC. I informed the board in May, and President Paul Milton set a meeting for September to decide how to proceed. I will be leaving at the end of the year, so the September meeting is the right time to decide on a course, write a budget for the association, and begin the search for a successor.

MDDC is primarily supported financially through advertising sales into our three networks, the weekly Classified Advertising Network, the Daily CAN and the 2x2 network. Member newspapers contribute space to the association, and our ad sales person, Wanda Smith, places clients into the networks. In addition, other press associations sell national ads into our networks.

The classified network revenue has been dropping steeply for several years, mirroring the decline in classified ads in all newspapers. The Daily CAN was started three years ago, and at first helped stem the slide. But sales in this network have slowed as well.

The impact on the association was dramatic, and the board was forced to dip into our reserves for two years to cover deficits which totaled more than $100,000.

Faced with the drop, the board began cutting expenses four years ago. MDDC moved out of its offices in Crofton into smaller, less costly space in the Capital-Gazette. We reduced staff, and made other cost reductions. For now, the association is able meet all of its obligations.

Now, the challenge facing the board is to align future expenditures to future anticipated revenues.

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