PACIFIC AREA NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS’ ASSOCIATION
Out of the problems that confronted Australian newspaper publishers as they ditched letterpress printing for web offset in the late 1960s emerged the Australian and New Zealand Web Offset Newspaper Association (ANZWONA). After five years, ANZWONA widened its membership geographically and technologically to become PANPA—an association that served both offset and letterpress newspaper publishers.
By the end of March 1969, about 40 Australian and New Zealand newspaper publishers had installed their own web offset presses. The rate of conversion from letterpress, which had begun in 1965, was gathering momentum. Along with the new presses had come other new processes, such as photosetting, strikeon composition, automatic film processing, computerised typesetting and paste-up composition. Because of their common difficulties and the adventurous spirit that the web offset pioneers required, most had exchanged information freely during plant visits or by letter. Otherwise they were working in virtual isolation, ‘solving the same problems 40 times over’. The existing newspaper associations— daily, provincial, suburban and business—did not provide an adequate forum for discussing technical problems.
To meet this need, a group of Melbourne web offset newspaper publishers met on 1 April 1969 and a month later formed ANZWONA. Ken Heyes of Progress Press was founding president and Tony Whitlock from Peter Isaacson Publications, a fourth-generation newspaperman from New Zealand, became the secretary and the first editor of the ANZWONA Bulletin.
By April 1974, when Frank Welsh from Shepparton Newspapers suggested an enlarged association with a new name, ANZWONA had 88 member companies, including letterpress papers such as the Adelaide Advertiser and Leader Community Newspapers in Melbourne. The new body began as the Pacific Area Newspaper Production Association, but became the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association (PANPA) from April 1980 because the services it provided had broadened to include editorial and advertising.
PANPA’s membership includes publishers, suppliers and affiliates, such as others interested in newspapers and production technology. In 1977–78, on learning that an American company was charging an exorbitant price for a visual display terminal (VDT), the PANPA board established a company that produced a ‘Panterm’ VDT to sell for about 40 per cent of the American price.
PANPA’s first president was Frank Welsh. Under Patrick Hegart (executive director, 1983–86), PANPA moved into management training. Frank Kelett (executive director, 1986–2001) built international links for PANPA and developed the annual conference into a major event for delegates and suppliers. Ongoing information-sharing occurs through the PANPA Bulletin, which began publication in June 1974 and now appears bi-monthly.
Since 26 August 2010, PANPA has been a hybrid organisation, retaining the old title for its international dealings but becoming the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA) for strictly Australian initiatives. In 2012, NPA/PANPA was incorporated into the national marketing and promotional organisation, TheNewspaperWorks, formed in 2006.
REFs: PANPA Bulletin, June 1974, April 1989, June 1989, June–July 1990, and May 2005.