Williams & Jensen this week notified Congress it has lobbied for the publisher of The New Yorker, Parade and dozens of other magazines and newspapers on pension plans.
The firm's advocacy efforts for New York-based Advance Publications Inc. centered on the inclusion of a pension provision in a highway bill that the Senate passed on March 14 and sent to the House for consideration, said Williams Vice Chairman Bert Carp, who worked on the account with firm principal Christopher Hatcher. The provision, which the Senate added to the measure on March 7, would change the way companies calculate pension contributions, allowing them to contribute less to retirement funds.
The legislation, with its pension provision, would be “extremely helpful” to Advance, Carp said. “It is obviously important for newspapers because they are facing financial squeezes.”
Advance has taken numerous steps in the past few years to cut costs. In 2009, the company shuttered The News of Ann Arbor, Mich., and reduced the number of days that three of its other Michigan newspapers would publish. According to Editor & Publisher, Advance also instituted mandatory furloughs and pension freezes at most of its daily newspapers that year.
The company, which is owned by the Newhouse family, has holdings that include daily newspapers for almost two dozen cities, as well as Condé Nast Publications, Parade Publications, Fairchild Publications and American City Business Journals. In addition to The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., The New Yorker and Parade, Advance publishes newspapers and magazines that include The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, The Oregonian of Portland, the Birmingham News in Alabama, the Washington Business Journal, Golf Digest, GQ and Vogue. The company also has an ownership interest in Silver Spring, Md.-based Discovery Communications Inc.
Williams is the first firm to lobby the federal government for Advance, according to congressional lobbying records that date back to 1999. But the firm won’t stay registered to lobby for the company for long, Carp said. Williams has finished its lobbying work for Advance and will deregister in the coming weeks.
“This is a very limited project,” Carp said.