News Archive

Board Votes To Increase Dues

  After much consideration, the board of directors voted to increase NPPA annual membership dues. We raised the dues only after long and serious discussion. I want to say that right up front so there is no misunderstanding. A dues increase was on the agenda at the annual board meeting in June in Chicago and it was voted down. But after looking at our financial options it came up again. The last dues increase came in the mid-1990's. Just the cost of living increase from then until now would have put the dues at a little over $95.00. We've kept it below that, raising it to $90.00. That said, NPPA membership is still a bargain.

Over the past few months many board members have talked with you about the possible dues increase, and most people seem to understand the need for it. Part of the need is evident in the changes in News Photographer magazine, which is undergoing a series of changes designed not only to enhance it visually but also to improve the content. The NPPA Web site is also undergoing a major overhaul.

The truth of the matter is that it's costing more than ever to provide the services we do, and in today's business climate finding and keeping sponsorship dollars isn't easy. The "Best of Photojournalism" book costs $85,000, the "TV Best of Photojournalism" DVD is more than $20,000, and the magazine's annual budget is approximately $400,000. These costs don't include our educational events, the mentoring program, portfolio critiques, and other events and services that NPPA provides.

Each of these items is important to you. It's important to us to provide them to you. The board of directors consists of working people like you; we all understand what it costs in work hours to earn every dollar. Increasing dues is never an easy decision to make, and we hope that you will understand and see the value in NPPA.

The dues increase does not go into effect until January 1, 2004. Knowing this, you can still renew early and pay the current rate of $75.00. It's never easy to raise dues, but we hope you understand it's necessary to do this now so that we can continue to provide the services that you expect and deserve. 


NPPA Budget Moves: Moves Are Necessary For Future/Greg Garneau

by Greg Garneau

The NPPA is in the midst of an operating turnaround. The Executive Committee and the staff are making good progress in addressing a structural deficit that is in the range of $300,000 dollars a year. The deficit was identified during the budgeting process of 2002 but initiatives taken last year to build revenue -- such as the new member drive -- did not pan out. As a result of shortfalls in projected revenue, coupled with operating deficits at our events and at the magazine last year, plus the heavy and ongoing expenses of producing the Best Of Photojournalism Contest DVD's and yearbook ($170,536 in total), our audit report will show an actual deficit totaling $344,787.

Although the Board passed a balanced budget in Chicago last June there are certain fiscal realities that must be faced. A dues increase has been announced which will address part of the problem, but last year member dues covered only 39% of the overall expenses of the Association.

Our corporate sponsors continue to be generous with us. Strenuous efforts are being made to shore up and increase our income from corporate sources. Yet we have to be prepared for future setbacks in this area. Attendance has been down at our educational events. This is a trend witnessed by many other associations and again is a product of the current economy. Cumulative losses at NPPA events last fiscal year totaled $67,424. In the fiscal year ending May 2002 the NPPA spent $195,899 on salaries and benefits. In the fiscal year ending May 2003 the NPPA spent $323,969 on salaries and benefits. One full-time position was therefore eliminated in April 2003.

This month the Executive Committee ordered the NPPA office staff to cut its personnel budget by a further 10% (for the remaining portion of the fiscal year) effective immediately. This meant a 20% cut on an annual basis or one full-time position. This position was eliminated last week. The remaining staff (5 full-time equivalents) understands the need for these measures and supports the Executive Committee at this difficult time.

Certain operating savings (such as online elections, streamlining the audit process, a new vendor for member cards, and the dues increase) amount to $121,000 dollars for the remainder of the fiscal year or $228,000 dollars annually.

Another change promises to solve several long-standing problems and save as much as $50,000 dollars annually, if not more. This year the Best of Photojournalism 2003 hardbound book commemorating the contest for still photographers was projected to cost about $85,000 dollars to produce and mail. The annual book has been criticized for appearing late in the year (this is due to the budgeting and approval process), for carrying ads, for being too expensive, and for not being very easy to sell to the general public. The Executive Committee has decided that instead of producing the hardbound book, the yearbook will appear as a special issue of News Photographer. In the future the issue will be produced live from the judging site as winners are selected. It will go to press shortly thereafter as a high quality softbound -- shades of the "Year in Pictures" issues that Life and Look magazines published annually. The special issue will address all of the problems mentioned above and will be timely and cost significantly less, but with the same content.