2 major organizations of newsroom leaders agree to merge

The American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors, whose membership of newsroom leaders and educators make them among the most significant organizations in media, have agreed to merge and will become the News Leadership Association.

The two groups announced the merger plan on Tuesday, after their members voted to approve the move at their joint News Leadership Conference in Austin.

ASNE, founded in 1922, and APME, which began about a decade later and works closely with The Associated Press, have long worked together on the same issues, including raising journalistic standards, enhancing newsroom diversity and fighting for the First Amendment rights of their members.

They'll continue to work jointly for the next year until the merger's expected completion by next September's News Leadership Conference in New Orleans.

The move means a group with a broader variety of news outlets than either had separately, and the presidents of both said they believe a single organization will be a more powerful way to handle the shockwaves shaking journalism.

"These are challenging times for our business and our country," ASNE President Nancy Barnes said in a statement. "We believe joining our two organizations will only strengthen our ability, as journalism leaders, to stand up for the principles we hold dear."

APME President Angie Muhs agreed, saying in a statement: "Editors' jobs have never been more challenging, and we believe that our groups are stronger together as we work to be a valuable resource for leaders at news organizations of all sizes."

The new group is encouraging journalists from across all platforms and disciplines to become members.

Leaders of the groups say the new organization will proceed with respect for their near-century of history.

"We have gotten to this point with the drive and determination to create an organization that keeps advancing the core causes that allow journalism to have a vital impact on society and democracy," outgoing ASNE President Alfredo Carbajal said. "Those include defending the First Amendment, pushing for greater diversity and inclusiveness in news stories and newsrooms and developing newer generations of news leaders."