In January, the KPA Past Presidents voted to suspend the operation of the Kentucky High School Journalism. Membership numbers had waned in recent years, from the state budget cuts to secondary education and from fewer newspapers sponsoring local high school journalism programs.
KPA started KHSJA in 1996 following about 12 years of there being no high school association in Kentucky.
The organization, operated by existing KPA staff members, was far beyond just for student newspapers. Early on it was discovered that high schools had more radio/TV programs and yearbooks than they did student newspapers. So KHSJA reached out to all high schools to become a part of the association and bring together all three communications programs.
Spring conferences were established and were successful. We had a high of 998 students attending one spring conference in Shepherdsville but that was just before the state announced large budget cuts for education. KHSJA also reached upwards of 115 member schools.
Since then, though, membership numbers had fallen. Late fall of 2017, there were only about 50 high school members, some with the dues paid by local newspapers.
When budget cuts made it apparent attendance was decreasing for conferences, KPA incorporated a half-day of programs at each Winter Convention. Two years ago, the KHSJA portion was canceled because of the impending blizzard that would hit Kentucky. And for the 2018 convention, the schedule was canceled because of the illness of KHSJA administrator David Greer. It was obvious that even if the half-day had been kept in place, participation would be very low.
And that’s when the Past Presidents had the discussion about KHSJA and voted to suspend the organization, and in hopes that a college/university or another organization would revived it.
Word came last week from Stan McKinney at Campbellsville University that his staff there had voted to incorporate KHSJA activities into its program and would begin by revitalizing the KHSJA Contest.
Here are some notes to David Greer and me from Stan in making the announcement:
“I am pleased to announce that the department of mass communication at Campbellsville University has agreed to take over the operation of the Kentucky High School Journalism Association. We will be revising the contest. I hope to have details about that within the next couple of weeks.
“I will be the director of the association for at least the first year.
“I am excited about the possibilities. I am also grateful to the willingness of my staff to do this.
“I hope we can do both of you proud as we go forward and continue the program KPA began so many years ago.”