Thursday, May 30, 2024

McHugh David to Become LPA’s Next Executive Director 

by BIZ Magazine

Baton Rouge, LA – A series of leadership changes that have been months in the making are slated to take place in May at Louisiana Press Association and Marketing. 

Jeff McHugh David, Jr. is resigning his position as the trade association’s board president and will take over as the LPA executive director on May 13. Sam Hanna, Jr., will become the board president. 


David replaces Jerry Raehal, who informed the board of directors in December of 2023 of his intent to move closer to family by the summer of 2024. He is moving to Nebraska in June. 

The hiring of David was approved by the board at a January special meeting, allowing for a transition for Raehal to seek a new role and for David to start becoming more acquainted with the roles. 

LPA Director Judi Terzotis said after initial review of potential candidates by the hiring committee, an “unexpected candidate put his name in the hat that is just so uniquely suited for this job. It really just stopped the entire process.”

She added, “We all just felt really excited and energized knowing that a transition from Jerry’s great work and everything that he has done … that we could take that work and put it to really good use in the next level, and McHugh seemed like the right person.”

For David, increasing revenue, moving forward on state and national legislation, and increasing more member interaction are his top agendas.

“It’s an exciting time for the Louisiana Press Association, thanks to the great work from Raehal and the board,” David said. “LPA has momentum at both the local and federal level and I’m excited to take the work we have done the past four years and build upon it.”

David has previously been president and co-publisher, alongside his mother Nancy, of the Livingston Parish News, which has been in the David family since his grandfather purchased the property in 1962. David assumed the co-publisher position when his father, Jeff McHugh David Sr., died from cancer in October of 2015. McHugh followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps and became immediately involved with the LPA and the National Newspaper Association. He is involved with the legislative committees on both levels and has been an LPA board member since 2018.

In order to take the role of executive director, David is relinquishing his title as co-publisher, placing his ownership in trust, and passing both administrative and day-to-day operations to his wife, Melanie, and his mother.

Hanna, Jr., previously served as the LPA Board president from 2020-2022, and has been serving as past president since. 

Hanna is the president and publisher of The Ouachita Citizen and also a co-owner of the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday and The Franklin Sun in Winnsboro. The Hanna family has owned and operated newspapers in Louisiana since 1965.

A native of Concordia Parish, Hanna graduated from LSU in 1993 with a degree in mass communication. After a brief stint working as a deputy press secretary to a governor, Hanna returned to northeastern Louisiana in 1994 to work at the Concordia Sentinel and The Franklin Sun in more than one capacity — news reporting, advertising and delivery. 

Hanna hired Raehal in September 2000 with a goal of helping the LPA and its members transition toward the future. During the tenures of Hanna and David as president, and Raehal as executive director – along with LPA staff, board and support members — the LPA has made several strides, including: 

  • It pioneered the establishment of the nation’s first newspaper Political Action Committees (PACs) and played a pivotal role in passing groundbreaking legislation to create a digital pathway for public notices, as well as enabling digital access to public records. 
  • Through strategic initiatives, the LPA dramatically boosted digital revenue for its members, implementing new programs and regular sales calls to enhance member benefits. 
  • Embracing an entrepreneurial spirit, the association adopted a start-up mindset, complete with a comprehensive business plan. This included the sale of its previous headquarters and relocation, and work towards revitalizing the Louisiana Press Foundation. 
  • The organization underwent major software upgrades to streamline operations and transitioned from a for-profit structure to a non-profit 501(c)(6) model, in line with industry standards, while maintaining a for-profit subsidiary focused on marketing efforts. 

“I think the hiring of McHugh as executive director and Sam stepping back into board president role are great for the press association,” Raehal said. “We’ve been through a lot during the last four years, and they’ve been a big part of it. It will make for a much smoother transition as they are well aware of the challenges we’re facing.”

Raehal’s last full-time day at the LPA is set for May 24. He is slated to start working full time for OnePress, which is the Nebraska Press Association’s marketing arm, on May 28 in a remote capacity as the company’s Chief Growth Officer. 

“I’m very grateful to the LPA board, staff and membership for being so welcoming, as well as working with me on this transition,” Raehal said. “We’ve done a lot of great work to move LPA and its membership toward the future and appreciate the help everyone has provided along the way.” 

About the Louisiana Press Association and Marketing: 

Louisiana Press Association was formed in 1880 and is the official trade organization for Louisiana news publishers and provides representation in the legislature as well as educational services. The association acts as an information clearinghouse. 

Louisiana Press Marketing is a subsidiary of the LPA and works as its marketing arm, promoting advertising in newspapers, on news websites, in magazines and other publications and media, along with a variety of services, including its popular one-order, one-bill service for clients.

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