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New CCNA president

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Fort Frances Times publisher and co-owner Jim Cumming was elected president of the Canadian Community Newspapers Assoc-iation at its annual meeting last week in Halifax, N.S.

Cumming, 52, said he’s excited about leading the 83-year-old association.

“It gives me the opportunity to meet with publishers and community leaders from across Canada who are vitality interested in the communities they serve,” he remarked.

With this opportunity also comes a tremendous amount of responsibility to CCNA’s more than 670 English-language community newspapers that boast a total circulation of more than 6.8 million copies per week.

First on Cumming’s agenda is to launch the ambitious ComBase readership research study.

“It is the first readership study for community newspapers across Canada,” he noted. “The study will run from September to February, and the results will be available in the [spring] of next year.”

Projected to be the largest print media study ever undertaken in Canada, it will examine more than 300 community newspapers across the country with the aim of improving their accountability.

Cumming also sees changes ahead for the CCNA to make it more efficient and responsible to its members. “We are re-launching the way we do business,” he said.

He also hopes to set up an affiliation with Quebec community newspapers that will give the CCNA a bilingual profile.

For Cumming, who in April completed his term as president of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association, the importance of community newspapers is self-evident.

“Community newspapers chro-nicle the history of Canada,” he stressed. “I will focus on continuing to make [them] vital.”

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