MISSOURI PRESS ASSOCIATION
Missouri Press Association was organized at a meeting held May 17, 1867, in Temperance Hall, located at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue in St. Louis. A call had been sent by several advertising representatives in St. Louis to the publishers, urging them to meet “for the purpose of taking into consideration matters pertaining in general to the newspaper interests.” Representatives from 38 newspapers, arriving in St. Louis from 31 counties, founded the Editors’ and Publishers’ Association of Missouri, today’s Missouri Press Association. Become a member! Read more about our history here. Find our constitution and bylaws here.
Learn more about Missouri Press Association’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion here.
MISSOURI PRESS SERVICE
Missouri Press Service, Inc. (MPS) was created in 1954. MPS is a business organization with the primary objective of selling and placing advertising into member newspapers. With an One-Order, One-Bill, One-Check system, MPS can quickly and efficiently place advertising in one, several or all of its member newspapers. Visit Missouri Press Services to get full details.
MISSOURI PRESS FOUNDATION
Missouri Press Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation formed in 1984 by the Missouri Press Association. “The purpose or purposes for which the corporation is organized are: exclusively for charitable, literary, or educational purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law) including such activities as providing journalism scholarships and faculty honorariums, conducting journalism seminars, making journalism merit awards, coordinating newspapers in education programs, collecting and preserving old printing presses and printing equipment, operating historical museums on a not-for-profit basis, and other journalistic activities deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors.”
Missouri journalism may be dated from July 12, 1808. It was on this day that Joseph Charless pulled from his Ramage press the first issue of the Missouri Gazette, which has the distinction of being the first newspaper published west of the Mississippi River. The Gazette, published in St. Louis, later became famous as the Missouri Republican.
Missouri also spawned the first “wilderness” newspaper west of the Mississippi River. The newspaper, called the Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser, was started by Nathaniel Patten in 1819 at Franklin in what is now Howard County.
A famous early editor was Thomas Hart Benton of the St. Louis Enquirer, which was begun in 1815 as the Western Journal. Benton went on to a distinguished career in the U.S. Senate. Duff Green, later prominent in Washington, D.C. journalism, also served for a time as an Enquirer editor.
An early St. Louis German language newspaper, the Westliche Post, edited by Dr. Emil Preetorius and Carl Schurz, gave a start to Joseph Pulitzer who later founded the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and went on to become a giant of American journalism with the New York World. It was Pulitzer, too, who sold the St. Louis Globe to J.B. McCullagh who then established the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
Across the state, another giant of American journalism was William Rockhill Nelson. He founded the Kansas City Star in 1880 and made it one of America’s finest newspapers as well as the monitor and mentor of Kansas City. Also in Kansas City at the time when Nelson founded the Star was Eugene Field, who was managing editor of the Kansas City Times.
The “grandfather” of the Missouri press today is the daily Hannibal Courier-Post,which evolved from the Missouri Courier established in 1832 at Palmyra. The oldest continuous weekly newspaper in the state operating under the same name is the Liberty Tribune, founded in 1846.
MPA History Dates of Interest
July 12, 1808 – Missouri’s first newspaper was founded in St. Louis (Missouri Gazette)
May 16, 1867 – Missouri Press Association was founded.
1966 – MPA Newspaper Print Shop Museum was opened on Main Street in the historic village of Arrow Rock.
1984 – Missouri Press Foundation was started.
2016 – Missouri Press Association celebrated its 150th Annual Convention in Branson.
2021 – Missouri Press created the Rural Missouri Newspaper Scholarship.
Principles and Values of The Missouri Press Association
Citizens have the right to know how their government operates. Any legislative efforts of the Missouri Press Association shall be directed to advance, preserve and protect the interests of the public, of newspapers and of publications serving the communities of Missouri. These efforts shall be directed to nourish citizens’ First Amendment freedoms and responsibilities. We will work to enhance openness in government, to keep public what should be public, and to advance the capabilities of a free press, understanding these are essential to the good health and vibrancy of democracy. Newspapers do not want exemptions or special privileges that are not offered to everyone. MPA’s efforts include the following six areas of interest:
1. FREEDOM TO GATHER THE NEWS
We will work to remove any obstacle that interferes with our ability to photograph and speak to people about newsworthy events, to inspect and copy documents in any form (electronic, printed, photographic, etc.) generated by public or quasi-public governmental bodies, to be present to witness meetings and activities of such entities, to follow the use of public funds to entities receiving those public funds, and contact any other source of newsworthy information. At our discretion, we may keep confidential any information we obtain as we gather news.
2. FREEDOM TO PUBLISH NEWS, INFORMATION AND ADVERTISING
We assert the right to control the content of our newspapers, including the right to publish or not publish information and advertising whether brought to us, purchased or sold by our employees and authorized agents, or gathered by our news staffs or agents. We also seek to keep private as our own work product, the information we gather but do not publish.
3. FREEDOM FROM RESTRICTIONS ON DISTRIBUTION OF NEWS
We assert the right to distribute our newspapers and publications, in print or electronically, without interference from governmental agencies, corporations or private individuals.
4. PUBLICATION OF NOTICES TO THE PUBLIC
We believe that a central responsibility of public governmental bodies in our free society is to inform the public, not merely those directly involved, of its activities and legal actions affecting citizens. Missouri’s newspapers share and play an essential role in fulfilling that responsibility. Publication of paid notices in legally qualified local newspapers, as required by law, ensures public notification to those interested and to the community as a whole, as it has since the founding of our nation.
5. MINIMIZE GOVERNMENT BURDEN IN THE COMMERCE OF PUBLISHING
Recognizing the legitimate burden of social responsibility and financial support of local, state and federal governments, we seek to minimize the regulations and restrictions on any facet of our operations, and taxes imposed on our industry.
6. RECOGNIZE NEWSPAPERS AS VITAL, LOCAL INSTITUTIONS
Newspapers are important employers in more than 200 Missouri cities and towns. Newspapers play an important role in communities, keeping local citizens informed, stimulating local retail business and fostering economic development. If a community loses its local newspaper, what institution will next be lost . . . the school, the bank, the hospital? Newspapers and the free flow of information are essential for a progressive Missouri. — January 2007