Editor’s Note: I would imagine KPA President Peter Baniak is glad we’re now halfway through his term because it’s been six months full of firsts and unusual happenings. We had two officers elected at the Winter Convention and within days both announced they were leaving Kentucky. We had to have special elections to fill those two Executive Committee seats and then two more special elections to fill Board vacancies. Soon after one Special Election was over, the winner in that race decided to go part-time, meaning he had to give up his spot. And just a few weeks ago we had to fill two division chair positions. Six special elections, plus the two division chair spots and getting to name four State At-Large board members, all serving their first terms on the KPA Board, have been the rule rather than the exception for Peter’s historic term as President of the organization. Then there’s Chris Poore, adviser to the Kentucky Kernel, who was elected Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association President and thus began the year as that group’s representative on the KPA Board. Chris resigned from The Kernel in the Spring and Michele Day, with The Northerner at Northern Kentucky University, will be serving as KIPA rep for 2018-2019.
Thursday, July 19, the two newest members attended their first Board meeting. Heather McGinnis is now chair of the KPA Ad Division and Melissa Mudd won the second Special Election to represent District 4 for the remainder of the term. Melissa shared with the readers of the Butler County Banner and Edmonson News what it means to her to now have a “seat at the table” and has allowed me to reprint the article here.
The other five first time Board members for 2018 (so far) are Eddie Blakeley, the Daily Independent, Ashland; Carrie Dillard, The Paducah Sun; Jane Ashley Pace, Oldham Era/Henry County Local; Josh Givens, Central City Leader News; Catherine Boone, The State Journal Frankfort. Catherine was elected to finish the term in District 13 while Eddie, Carrie, Jane Ashley and Josh are serving as State At-Large Board members.
By Melissa Mudd, Butler County Banner/Edmonson News, District 4 KPA Representative
I am honored to have a seat at the table. For years I always wondered about the great minds behind some of the most successful papers in the state. I questioned how these board members could do what they do. It’s a huge responsibility to take on the task of working with and for some 175 newspapers in the Commonwealth.
I knew that each of these great minds had experienced a different journey that got them to where they were. It made me curious about why they do what they do. It also made me wonder how each of them was able to accomplish what they had done.
We all come from the same core destination. Some just have more experience with this trade more than others. We all are generated from journalism backgrounds. But no two papers are the same. They each have their own individual spin on artistry, compilation, and design.
The Board of Directors for the Kentucky Press Association is an honorable task to take on. Each of them does not do it for the prestige. They choose to serve to help preserve the sanctity of journalism.
We are at a time of uncertainty for newspapers. The way these individual entities used to operate is a thing of the past. It is our responsibility as a board to find what works. We need to dive into the possibility of what the future holds for newspapers. Realizing that the business is what most make all a dying breed, we must change the conversation.
There’s still a need for this type of service. It just may not be what we were initially used to. Smaller communities are always going to be accustomed to opening the pages of their local news and finding out the latest events. Individuals and businesses also entrust in us the responsibility of promoting what they have to offer.
That is why it is up to each one of us to come up with a core meaning of values that works. We need to go back to where it all started. Each of us needs to understand why newspapers began in the first place.
During my first meeting with the Kentucky Press Association, I learned quite a bit about the inner workings of a larger group. These individuals are very passionate about what they do. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a group compiled of so many knowledgeable individuals. One of my favorite things to do is to soak up an understanding of different topics.
In that room during those meetings, I have that chance to do that. These people I can see will quickly become my advisors on my own journey in journalism.
In summary, I just want to reiterate to the public how thankful we are. We do not say it enough how much we appreciate the partnerships with the papers. We value each of the connections that have been gained over the years. We hope to attain even more partnerships in the future.