KPA listens, makes convention changes

Posted July 18, 2019

A significant change in the format of the annual convention of the Kansas Press Association is coming in 2020.

Next year’s convention of the Kansas Press Association, including news and advertising programming and the ever-popular Awards of Excellence luncheon, will be March 19 and 20 at the Meridian Center in Newton.

The President’s Banquet will become a separate event, rebranded as the President’s Gala and scheduled early in the summer of 2020 in Topeka.

Emily Bradbury, KPA executive director, said two surveys following this year’s convention indicated attendees believed too much was being packed into the Thursday night through Saturday afternoon annual conference, making it difficult for smaller newspapers to take advantage of the programming because of the cost of being gone that long from the office.

“Respondents to the surveys indicated the convention was too long and that having it run into Saturday was a concern,” Bradbury said. “They also were telling us they needed more basic programming for their staff members.”

To make it more attractive to newspaper staff members and especially those at non-daily newspapers, the convention will begin with a networking event on Thursday night, followed by a full day of programming on Friday.

The hotel will be the Holiday Inn Express in Newton. It has a community convention facility just across the parking lot.

The President’s Gala will continue to be a more formal affair and include the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame inductions and well as presentation of the other special awards including the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award, the Gaston Outstanding Mentor Award, the Boyd Community Service Award and the Victor Murdock Award.

Bradbury said plans are to invite all living Hall of Fame members and immediate families of deceased HOF members to the event.

“We want to take the opportunity to again recognize those who have blazed the trails of Kansas journalism and their family members,” she said.“We’re continuing to plan both events, so your suggestions for speakers and programs are still welcome.”