New Year’s Message to the AAPA membership
At the turn of the year, it’s useful to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the future. For the AAPA and its nearly 120 members, 2015 will be remembered by the terrible attacks of January and November that resonated throughout the world and made Paris the focus of global media attention. Among other intense happenings, reporters came face to face with human drama as refugees from the Middle East poured into Europe. Sadly, most of the big headlines from France were of bad news. Covering these events put us under strain. We put in long hours reporting as we struggled to make sense of news at our front door for far-away audiences. We can only hope that 2016 will bring more serenity, both professionally and personally.
Those of you who attended our AGM on Dec. 14 heard that, aside from the intense news flow, 2015 was a busy year for the AAPA. We held 18 events, boosted our membership and – responding to members’ requests – became a more community-oriented group. Our regular Happy Hours are widely appreciated occasions for us to meet up with old friends and meet new ones, to exchange gossip, war stories and work tips, and for newbies and visitors to link up with our more established members.
The AGM approved a reshuffle of the top management, and I have been handed the daunting task of filling John Keating’s shoes after his record-breaking four-year term as president. We now have a full complement on the committee, including all those who devoted their time and energy to organize events in 2015.
This is my third stint at the helm of this proud ship, and we have come a long way in recent years. So what does the future hold? Clearly, we will continue our efforts to bring our members together in more social settings. We will organize events that appeal to a broad swathe of the membership, inviting personalities from officialdom as well as from other walks of life. Last year, we had guests from the realms of religion, security, business, and climate change who helped us understand topical issues. This will continue, and I hope we can leaven our mix with more cultural and off-beat events. We are eager for suggestions about speakers and other activities, so don’t be shy about contacting myself or other committee members if you have an idea you want to share.
One of the tasks I have set myself is to dust off the AAPA’s statutes, notably the membership criteria. In his new role as Treasurer, John Keating has pledged to improve our accounting, and will keep his eagle eye on our family jewels. That said, our financial position is strong, which gives us a lot more leeway than many other associations enjoy to subsidize events such as the annual Gala. Sara Miller Llana, our new Secretary General, is the point person for internal and external communication.
We want to make our social media presence more effective and immediate, and one of the first actions this year – acting on a member’s suggestion – will be to open a Twitter account to let members know what we’re up to and to raise our visibility in the outside world. For example, it will be useful for posting links to published reports about AAPA events.
We are grateful for your loyal support of France’s most dynamic press association, and urge you to show your continuing involvement by heeding the call for annual dues that will be going out shortly.
I wish you all a peaceful New Year full of good health and happiness.