The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA) is the successor to the Washington Press Association, founded in 1887 by newspapers in Dayton, Ellensburg, Seattle, Tacoma, Yakima and Walla Walla.
Organized in 1887 as the Washington State Press Association with a state-wide membership consisting of both daily and weekly newspapers, the work-load of operating this fledgling association was distributed amongst the newspaper publishers.
In 1914 Fred W. Kennedy assumed the duties of Association manager on a part-time basis which eventually developed into a full-time position. The Association office was located on the University of Washington campus and Mr. Kennedy was a member of the journalism school faculty.
In December of 1952 Clarence B. (Clancy) Lafromboise was named full-time executive director with the death of Mr. Kennedy. His assistant, Robert M. Shaw, succeeded Mr. Lafromboise in 1961 when he resigned to return to active publishing. After three years, Mr. Shaw resigned in 1964 to accept a similar position with the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Named to succeed Mr. Shaw was Jerry Zubrod. Mr. Zubrod stayed on as executive director until his retirement in 1987. Miles Turnbull, former publisher of the Leavenworth Echo, succeeded Mr. Zubrod as executive director from 1988 until his retirement in February, 1992. Named to succeed Mr. Turnbull was Diana Kramer, a long-time publisher from Arizona. Diana served as executive director from 1992 to 2004, when she returned to active publishing. Named to succeed Ms. Kramer, Mr. George S. Smith of Arkansas took the helm of WNPA on Jan. 1, 2005. When Mr. Smith’s contract expired in September 2005, Bill Will was named general manager. In August 2014, former publisher of the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record, Marcia Van Dyke became executive director. Fred Obee, formerly with the Port Townsend Leader and the Whidbey News-Times, succeeded Van Dyke in May 2016.
Early in 1964, the office of the Association was moved from the University of Washington campus to a small office in the University District. This was a voluntary move, but one that was encouraged by university officials and some publishers. In 1969, the Association's office was moved to 3838 Stone Way North, Seattle. In July 2004, the office moved for the first time in more than 30 years to a larger and more modern space at 1434 Elliott Avenue West, Seattle.
With staff reductions in 2004-2005, the larger space was no longer appropriate and in July 2006 the office moved to a smaller location at 12354 30th Ave NE, in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood. In March 2012, WNPA closed its office and staff began working in home offices.
In December of 2014, WNPA reopened offices at 1204 4th Ave E. Suite 4, Olympia WA. That office was closed at the end of October 2016, and a new office reopened in at 210 Polk Street, Port Townsend, WA in December 2016.
Membership in the Association is voluntary with the newspaper being the member regardless of who the publisher is. A newspaper must be published at least twice monthly to qualify for regular membership. Other membership opportunities are associate membership (for those with a less frequent publication cycle), affiliate (non-publishing organizations, including educational institutions), and honorary life membership (awarded by the Board of Trustees).