Evangelical Press Association
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The Evangelical Press Association is a professional association serving the Christian periodical publishing industry. Its members produce some 300 periodical titles with a combined circulation of over 20 million. EPA is a religious and educational non-profit corporation under the laws of the state of California. It is managed by an executive director, who is responsible to a board of six directors. The following statement of purpose was adopted at the founding meeting of the association in 1948:
- The EPA seeks to promote the cause of evangelical Christianity and to enhance the influence of Christian journalism by:
- providing Christian fellowship among members of the Association;
- rendering practical assistance;
- stimulating mutual helpfulness among members;
- encouraging high ethical and technical standards in the field of Christian journalism;
- and suggesting concerted and timely emphasis on important issues.
In the fall of 1947, a handful of editors met at the convention of the National Sunday School Association and began to talk about an association of evangelical editors. Dr. James DeForest Murch, editor of United Evangelical Action, took the lead and called together a pro tem committee in Chicago on May 6, 1948. Thirty-five editors met at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. They officially organized the Evangelical Press Association, adopted the doctrinal statement of the National Association of Evangelicals and wrote the statement of purpose printed above. On April 4–6, 1949, the first annual convention of the EPA met in Chicago with 103 publications represented.
In September, 1951, the association mailed the first copies of a news service to its members. It was produced by volunteers who sent out ten releases in the first five months. In 1952 it became a weekly service with a subscription rate of $10 a year. That year also the association began its newsletter, Liaison. In 1954 the association adopted a code of ethics and began an awards program.
EPA has held an annual convention each year since 1949. The conventions were held in Chicago until 1957, then moved to a different city each year after that. The conventions were held in January until 1963 when the date was changed to April or May.
As the association grew, it demanded an executive secretary to carry on the administrative work and edit the news service. This became a half-time paid position. In 1978, the job of executive secretary was changed to executive director, and the director was charged with giving vision and leadership to the organization. The news service was licensed to an independent news organization, and in 1994 the news service was sold.
Programs and services
Held each May, the annual convention is the focal point of the EPA year. As a rule, a committee of local members invites the association to its city and plans the program, with the approval of the board. The goal is to provide three days of learning, sharing, networking, and fellowship, as well as to conduct official association business.
EPA conventions offer speakers of national stature, the annual awards contest, the annual membership meeting and election, tours, and a wide variety of workshops designed for editors, writers, graphic artists, and business personnel—from beginners to veterans.
EPA sponsors an annual awards contest to give member publications recognition of outstanding work, as well as helpful critiques of their periodicals. There are two divisions in the contest: The Awards of Excellence contest looks at the entire magazine. The Higher Goals contest offers competition and critiquing in separate areas such as first-person articles and publication design.
Other programs and services include a mentoring program, one-on-one publication critique, scholarships for college and graduate students, a guide to freelance writers, an ethics committee to hear complaints, and the “EPA on campus” program which sends working journalists into classrooms to talk about their work.
- Mattingly 3E.
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