Members of the Missouri Press Association approved changes in the MPA Bylaws on Sept. 7, at the MPA Annual Business Meeting in St. Louis, creating a new division of membership: "Active Online Newspaper." There were no dissenting votes regarding the changes.
The revised MPA Bylaws may be reviewed at here.
Recognizing that we are entering an age in which traditional newspaper information will be provided to readers on the Internet as well as on newsprint, recognizing that newspapers are in the business of providing information regardless of the vehicle used to provide it, it is in the future interest of the Missouri Press Association to offer a form of membership to online newspapers as well as traditional print newspapers. Thus, the new division of membership was created, “Active Online Newspaper.”
The online newspaper membership was a topic of discussion at Missouri Press board meetings for at least five years, first proposed by Gary Sosniecki and a committee of other board members. The Board of Directors approved the Bylaws changes earlier this year.
The ground rules that were approved by the general membership on Sept. 7: Active Online members will be entitled to all benefits of MPA, the same as Active Newspaper members. Online members will be eligible to compete in online categories of the MPA Better Newspaper Contest.
MPA print members with online newspapers automatically have become Active Online members with no waiting time and no additional dues. Dues for independent online members without print publications is $195 per year, or the same as for “Friend of Missouri Press” members.
Online-only newspapers will be eligible to be Active Online members of MPA after meeting certain requirements, including:
a) The online newspaper must be Missouri-based, available to the general public via the World Wide Web, and it must be principally devoted to the dissemination of original local or general news.
b) Content of the online newspaper must be revised on a regular basis, not less than once per week.
c) The online newspaper must be published using recognized standards of professional journalism.
d) An online newspaper must publish regularly and consecutively for three years before it may apply for MPA Active Online membership.
e) All other definitions of a “newspaper” as determined by the MPA Bylaws and the board of directors would apply.
f) The online publication must not serve primarily as a platform to promote the interest and/or opinions of a special interest group, individual or cause.
Online membership will be subject to approval by the MPA Board of Directors after notices have been published in three issues of the MPA Bulletin.
As approved, every Active member – print or online newspaper – will be entitled to one vote in the business of the Missouri Press Association.