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The Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals is going to merge with the Catholic Press Association during 2017. The decision was made at the January Catholic Academy board of directors meeting after several months of discussions and negotiations with the CPA. Following overwhelmingly positive feedback from Academy members the board voted 8 – 3 in favor of building the premier Catholic communications organization in North America.
For CA members this means access to a larger network of communications professionals, potentially lower annual dues and more professional development opportunities.
“I am delighted at the board’s action,” said CA President David Hains. “This merger will put a broad range of Catholic communicators in one place where we can grow together professionally.”
Under the terms of the agreement the CPA has developed a Communicators Affinity Group for communication professionals to carry on real-time conversations within the CPA. By combining this capability with the popular CA webinars and blog posts, communicators will be able to develop professionally and share ideas on communication strategies or even questions reporters are likely to ask in a crisis situation.
“I can see how this will be a great tool for both new and veteran Catholic communicators,” said Hains. “This is something that we have needed for quite some time,” he said.
CPA President Matt Schiller was likewise very enthusiastic. “By combining our membership, we will share ideas, skills and educational development. Together, we will accomplish so much more than we would separately,” Schiller said.
The merger agreement also calls for the CPA to investigate the possibility of creating a vested seat on its board of directors for a communication director. The CPA will also consider a name or brand identification change. While the name Catholic Press Association is more than 100 years old, the convergence of print, video and electronic media channels limits the CPA identity to print only.
For the CA members who are already a member of the CPA there will be no change in their CPA dues. If you work with, or oversee a diocesan newspaper or other CPA member publication you are eligible to join for just $22. Individuals not associated with a member publication may join for just $47. Both figures are dependent on signing up before March 31 when the CPA annual half-price membership drive concludes. For a complete explanation of the costs and benefits of different levels of membership as well as an application, visit the CPA website.
The Catholic Academy will act as the main sponsor of the Gabriel Awards for 2017 and will transition the awards program to the CPA in 2018. “The CPA is very excited about adding the Gabriel Awards to its award program, viewing the opportunity to build a robust media contest alongside its Press, Book and Student Award programs,” said Walter.
The Catholic Academy office in Dayton, Ohio will be in operation for most of 2017 supervising the Gabriel Awards and overseeing the closing of the office. Most of the archival material of the CA was transferred to Marquette University during 2016.
The CA’s sole employee, Sue West, who has faithfully served the academy for many years will work as a consultant to the CPA for the Gabriel awards.