For the first time since 1983, the Kentucky Press Association will not be holding a Winter Convention in Lexington or Louisville. That’s because two years ago, the KPA Board wanted to take its January convention to other parts of the Commonwealth.
As is the case with each convention, KPA solicits proposals from potential host facilities and then the Board selects one.
In January 2024, KPA will convene its convention at the University Plaza Holiday Inn in Bowling Green. The last time the gathering was held outside the Lexington/Louisville area was in January 1983 when it met at the old Executive Inn in Owensboro. When the convention adjourned on Saturday morning, attendees found themselves traveling home with up to six inches of snow.
That summer, the Board past a policy that the convention would rotate between the two central Kentucky cities, which lasted 40 years.
But even moving it to Lexington and Louisville in the winter time didn’t prevent weather from disrupting the convention. In January 1994, on the Monday of convention week, the state was shut down with a 17-inch blizzard. It is believed to be the first time since the floods of 1937 that a convention had to be canceled.
It happened again in 2016, when many attendees had arrived on Thursday only to find out a blizzard warning had been issued for that evening. KPA canceled its convention following the KPA Board meeting on Thursday afternoon. The blizzard did hit that evening but on Friday, and attendees began their journeys home, taking up to 12 hours to make it from Lexington to the east and west borders of the state.
Until the early 2000s, KPA held two conventions each year: one in January and the other in June.
The summer convention often included press associations from adjacent states, namely Indiana, and on at least four occasions, Tennessee. Summer conventions had become family-oriented events, with less program and more social events. As attendance waned, the Board voted to suspend summer conventions. The last one was in 2002 when KPA traveled to Gatlinburg to meet with members of the Tennessee Press Association.
Winter conventions are now scheduled for the third Thursday and Friday of January. A Board meeting and dinner are held on Thursdays, and Fridays are focused with several one-hour training sessions. It’s also a time for the Changing of the Guard luncheon when officers and board members are welcomed to their new role for the coming year. KPA also uses Friday evening for the presentation of the Advertising Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers and News Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers. The evening includes a banquet, followed by the video production of the winners in both contests.
The countdown for the 2023 contests have already begun, with participating newspapers now able to register and enter their submissions. All materials should be completed no later than October 16. The Board has extended the contest entry period in an effort to allow more newspapers to participate. Click here to register your newspaper.
If you have questions regarding the contests, contact David Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-223-8821.