Sometimes the ``story-behind-the-story'' is the most important news of all.
Take, for example, the page one news article in this issue, comparing the financial strengths and weaknesses of the Tire Association of North America and the International Tire & Rubber Association-the two national organizations that combined in July to form the new Tire Industry Association (TIA).
Only a few years ago such an article would have been unheard of, if not impossible.
Neither of these two former national associations would have permitted such close public scrutiny of their finances.
Their leadership would have considered such information ``nobody's business'' but their own, and even the associations' own members would not be given ready access to it.
So it's refreshing to find that TIA has established an ``open-door'' policy concerning the association's finances.
TIA's leaders deserve credit for their intention to operate the association openly when it comes to the group's financial affairs and legislative agenda. Such openness is gratifying in an era marked by widespread public skepticism and distrust of business.
It wasn't long ago that TANA's predecessor, the former National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, was so protective of its financial details and other internal matters that trade press reporters had to promise not to quote anyone just to gain admittance to the group's annual membership meeting during convention time.
Moreover, once the meeting was under way, frustrated news gatherers found the NTDRA's annual ``treasurer's report'' so bereft of factual details that nothing more could be gleaned from it other than whether or not the association likely would end the year in the black.
Later, after the group's financial difficulties finally became known, many association members-including some who served on the board of directors-expressed shock at having been kept in the dark.
TIA Executive Vice President Ross Kogel told Tire Business he's proud of the organization's elective leaders for willingly submitting the association's financial affairs to public scrutiny. ``It's the right thing to do,'' he said.
We couldn't agree more.
Trade associations are financed largely through annual dues paid by members, who have the right to know they're operated in full public view.
Dealers who have signed on as members of the industry's newest and largest trade association should be glad its leadership is setting off on the right foot.
Such openness will serve the association well as it works to build strength and value in the organization and attract new members.