National Press Club

A Plan to Keep the Club Thriving; Read it Here, Vote on May 8

April 9, 2009

The National Press Club Strategic Planning Committee has completed its two-year effort to develop a blueprint for the Club for the next five years.

The strategic plan, called "Preserving and Growing the World's Leading Professional Organization for Journalists," aims to ensure improved journalism training, continued excellent restaurant and bar service, better governance and financial stability at the Club through the middle of 2014.

The plan won the unanimous approval of the Board of Governors Strategic Planning Committee this week.

"It's simple: The Club needs to think ahead -- to prepare our members as journalism changes and to safeguard the financial health of the Club," said NPC President Donna Leinwand. "The strategic plan is an excellent guide to our future."

The full Board of Governors will consider the plan at its April 20 meeting, and the membership will get to vote on it at the General Membership meeting scheduled for May 8.

"This plan is a product of the hard work of dozens of members and the opinions of hundreds of them," said Jerry Zremski, the Club's 2007 president, who has chaired the Strategic Planning Committee since its inception. "It spells out a vision for the Club to follow, and puts the Club on a path to a strong future of enhanced services for members as well as financial stability."

Zremski said the plan is built around the following mission statement, which the Strategic Planning Committee developed in its recent meetings:

MISSION STATEMENT: The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. It serves its members through professional development activities that bolster their skills, through services that meet the changing needs of the global communications profession and through social activities that build a vital media community in Washington and across the world. The Club is where news happens in the nation's capital and is a vigorous advocate of press freedom worldwide.

To fulfill that mission, the plan suggests the Club will pursue the following central goals in the coming years:

* To develop a more extensive journalism and communications training program, funded by foundation grants and corporate sponsorships, that serves the Club's members and fulfills the Club's mission as the world's leading professional organization for journalists.
* To continue to lure the world's top newsmakers to the Club's luncheon program and the nation's top news events to the Club's conference rooms.
* To develop the Library so that it is operationally self-sufficient and funded substantially through an endowment.
* To fulfill, in 2009, the cost-effective member service requests revealed in the Club's 2007 member survey.
* To simplify the membership application process and grow the Club's 2008 membership levels each year through 2014.
* To update the Club's governance structure to clarify and expand the board committees and to enhance the voice of Affiliate-Associate board members.
* To build the Club's financial reserves to $1 million in July of 2009 (as mandated by the board) and to $3 million by July 2012.
* To improve profitability in all of the Clubl's business units, especially in Banquets and the Broadcast Operations Center, through a strategy that includes the following: improved sales and marketing; cost cutting; and a profit sharing plan.

The goals are accompanied by a series of "action items." In most cases these action items include recommendations or, in some cases, instructions to the Board, its committees, and staff.

Action items that require board or membership action, such as constitutional and bylaws changes, are outlined as proposals. In other words, board approval of the Strategic Plan will not automatically constitute board approval of these important steps. These items would have to be approved separately, by the 2009 Board of Governors and the general membership.

Zremski said the plan attempts to address the current troubles in the media industry by calling for more training programs in the Club. In addition, it suggests making it easier to join the Club by eliminating the initiation fee and replacing the requirement that two members sign each membership application with a system whereby members can simply refer others for membership.

In addition, the plan suggests adding a third Affiliate-Associate board member, enhancing the role of the Board of Governors' committee and improving restaurant services by adding healthier menu items at the Reliable Source and ensuring that the Club remain open, in some way, on Saturdays.

Zremski said he will be happy to talk to members at the Club over breakfast on any day between now and May 8, with the exception of April 14 and 15, when he will be out of town. Feel free to stop by the Reliable Source any day to discuss the plan with Zremski, who plans on being at breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. each day during that period.

In addition, Zremski said members could email him with questions at And if there is enough demand among members for an evening meeting to discuss the plan, at least one will be scheduled, Zremski added.