Spring conventions for Texas’ five regional press associations didn’t happen this year, thanks to COVID-19.
Government prohibitions of mass gatherings in response the coronavirus pandemic began in early March. Shelter-in-place orders to ensure social distancing soon followed.
The Panhandle Press Association convention scheduled March 20-21 was canceled. Contest chairman Roger Estlack said contest results haven’t been released as board members are working to arrange a one-day conference later in the year for presenting awards and electing new officers.
The North and East Texas Press Association convention scheduled April 2-4 was also canceled. NETPA contest awards were announced April 4, with the Winners Circle posted on the group’s website and social media and distributed to members via email. Contest awards were mailed to the winners.
NETPA President Brad Blakemore said the group held officer elections by mail in late April. On the ballot were Brad Blakemore, Van Zandt Newspapers, chairman; Wyndi Veigel, Marshall News Messenger, president; Dan Moore, The Henderson News, first Vice President and convention chair; Jake Mienk, Palestine Herald-Press, second Vice President and contest chair; and Cher Thompson, Hood County News, secretary-treasurer. Board selections on the ballot included directors with terms expiring in 2022, Jim Bardwell, Gladewater Mirror, and Jerry Pye, Marshall News Messenger; and directors with terms expiring in 2021, Chad Engbrock, Farmersville Times; Lange Svehlak, Athens Daily Review; and Kim Ware, Azle News.
The South Texas Press Association convention was rescheduled from April 16-18 to June 11-13 at the Emerald Beach Hotel in Corpus Christi.
The Texas Gulf Coast Press Association convention originally scheduled May 15-16 in Sugar Land has been postponed, TGCPA President Jeff Wick said.
TGCPA Board members are considering a date in August, most likely at the same location. The new date will be announced.
West Texas Press Association President Kristen Tribe said that group’s convention is on hold with plans to make a decision by mid-May.