‘Still, We Speak:’ You won’t be able to put it down once you start reading

John Nelson

By David T. —

Except of newspapers, I am not a reader. Never have been. Hated those assignments throughout English classes so whenever I could, I went to the Fayette Cigar Store in downtown Lexington and got Cliff’s Notes.

That changed somewhat this week and it will when the final book is printed.

I’m speaking of ‘Still, We Speak.’ That’s the book John Nelson, KPA’s 2004 President, has written for KPA’s 150th Anniversary. Wow! What an effort, what great, interesting writing and what I learned reading about the first 150 years of this, “our” association.

What I spent a couple of days reading this week was more for proofing and editing, one of several involved in that process. So it wasn’t like I sat and read it for meaning. But as I went through, I had to stop and re-read because I wanted more of KPA’s history. Or I made note of things I wanted to go back and read for substance.

Such as:

Last year, KPA took the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association under its wing. KIPA is now a division of its own, with the chairman being a voting member of the KPA Board. We help KIPA in whatever way the advisers and students need us.

But this is not the first time KIPA has been a division of KPA. I learned that from ‘Still, We Speak.’ In 1948, the Kentucky Inter-Collegiate Press Association (as it was spelled then) had ceased operation so KPA brought it into the fold. I don’t know how long it stayed under KPA but we’re repeating now what took place 70 years ago.

The Kentucky Press News Service is pretty unique among state press associations, at least in the way it’s set up. And while it’s about news sharing, among newspapers wanting to participate, years and years ago, one of the KPA presidents proposed a ‘news sharing content service.’ So while we thought KPNS was quite unique for our members, there was a time when Kentucky newspapers did the same thing.

The idea of the news content sharing was originally floated by 1935 President A. Robbins, 73 years before today’s KNPS was introduced.

One note here about KPNS: For however long the news sharing idea was part of KPA in the early years, there’s no way it can match the success of KPNS today. We just celebrated its ninth anniversary (October 1, 2009) and yesterday surpassed 60,000 stories shared. That does not include another 6,000 to 7,000 editorials that have been made available to participating newspapers.

In 1958 and 1960, KPA’s efforts on public notice advertising finally got strength. What had been scattered across 232 statutes in the Kentucky Revised Statutes was whittled down to one chapter. That’s today’s KRS 424 on Public Notice Advertising. But when these were passed successfully, Kentucky’s law was “widely regarded them as a model for the nation and an example of what cooperation between publishers and public agencies can produce.” That’s no different from the compromises in 2005 and 2006 that were pushed not just by KPA but by the nemesis groups — Kentucky League of Cities, Kentucky Association Counties. Those groups were as active 50 to 60 years ago against public notice advertising and Open Meetings/Open Records as they can be today.

The state’s public notice laws were praised in an article for The Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists, written by University of Colorado professor A. Gayle Winthrop, in which he referred to the publication laws as a series of “miracles.”


The book will be printed by J. Frank Publishing and we’ll be announcing when it’s available for purchase. John Nelson did an outstanding job, using all kinds of resources and conducting interviews to put together this look back at 150 years. It’s pretty much a decade-by-decade history of the organization. It talks about the good times and the successes but John also writes about the bumps and the bruises KPA and its member newspapers have suffered.

I won’t share a lot more right now because I want to leave it at something you’ll want to purchase and hopefully like me, not be able to put it down til you’re finished.

Be watching here, through emails, the KPA Facebook Page and other communications to know when you can order a copy…make that copies… and how. It’s worth your time and it’s worth the price.

Because, ‘Still, We Speak.’

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