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WPCI celebrates 100 years

By Marion Garmel, Secretary | Jan. 8, 2013
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On Feb. 18, 1913, a group of 13 women journalists and activists met for lunch at the Tea Room in L. S. Ayres Department Store in downtown Indianapolis to found the Woman's Press Club of Indianapolis.

They were writers, editors, publishers and activists who saw the need for an organization to represent women's interests in the corridors of the State Legislature and the columns of newspapers. A month later, they were joined by 15 more women from throughout Indiana to become founding members of one of the oldest continuous journalistic organizations in the state.

That organization will turn 100 on Feb. 18, 2013. To mark the occasion, a group of current members will gather for lunch at the replicated Ayres Tea Room now in the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. A larger celebration is set for May 18, 2013, at Hollyhock Hill Restaurant in Indianapolis, and will combine with the regular communications contest banquet to honor current members' achievements.

No longer an organization only for women or print journalists, Woman's (yes, that's how they spelled it in 1913) Press Club of Indiana includes professional communicators in all media from the entire state. Its mission is to advance professional standards, provide the exchange of journalistic ideas and experiences and coordinate efforts of interest to communicators.

A founding affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women, WPCI sponsors a communications contest for professional communicators with winning entries going on to compete nationally in the NFPW contest. It sponsors annual high school journalism and prison writing contests and offers scholarships to college students and mature writers planning careers in journalism.

Over its 100-year history, WPCI has counted among its members some of the most distinguished women in Indiana journalism. Hortense Myers was the first woman hired by a wire service in Indiana (INS in 1942). A long-time UPI reporter and past president of WPCI, she was considered the female dean of Indiana journalism when she died at an NFPW convention in 1987.

Myers is one of seven WPCI members inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. The others include:

WPCI also has two members in the Indiana Broadcast Hall of Fame, the late Gene Slaymaker and Jinsie Scott Bingham.

WPCI's current president is Elizabeth Granger, award-winning travel writer and adviser to the student newspaper at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis.

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The fine print:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. -- First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
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Updated June 2013