During its meeting at the KPA Winter Convention, KPA Past Presidents heard an update on the Kentucky High School Journalism Association. Membership has waned since state budgets over the last 10 years hampered many activities of secondary schools. And in the same time, newspapers paying annual dues of $50 for local high schools have decreased as well. Membership numbers hit a high a few years ago with 110 to 115 schools. More recently, the membership number has struggled to get to 50 schools.
The KHSJA Convention was canceled this year because of the illness of administrator David Greer. With the information about membership and the probability that attendance for the half-day convention would have been low as well, the Past Presidents voted to suspend the activities of KHSJA. The organization was put together in 1996 because Kentucky was the only state without a high school journalism association. And it was placed under the Kentucky Journalism Foundation. The foundation is overseen by the Past Presidents, just as the group oversees the internship program.
When KHSJA was proposed, we assumed membership would be for high school student newspapers. But we soon found out there were more radio/TV programs in Kentucky high schools than there were student newspapers. Additionally, most every school had yearbooks. So we incorporated yearbooks, radio and TV programs and student newspapers into KHSJA.
Following the action by the Past Presidents, we began discussion what could be done with KHSJA and that could include a state college or university playing a major role in its future. In the meantime, David Greer has sent the following message to teachers at schools that were a part of KHSJA.
To: KHSJA members
From: David Greer, KHSJA administrator
We are sad to announce that effective immediately, operation of the Kentucky High School Journalism Association has been suspended. That will cancel all KHSJA activities, including the annual contest for student newspapers, yearbooks and broadcast.
More than 21 years ago, the Kentucky Press Association established KHSJA to be an advocate for student journalism. During most of that time, KPA and the Kentucky Journalism Foundation have been the sole resources behind KHSJA. But declining resources have made our mission more difficult in recent years. In August 2016, a letter was emailed to KHSJA members stating our concerns about our ability to continue under the current circumstances.
A number of factors, many of them external to KHSJA and KPA, dictate that we take this action. We apologize to the many students and teachers alike who have enjoyed attending our conventions and participating in our annual contests.