In 1959, a group of Alabama women with jobs in or related to the news media formed a local chapter of the National Federation of Press Women. The goal of the NFPW was to advance women in news media as a national professional organization. In the early days, women were excluded from the crime, politics and other real journalism topics. They were relegated to what was called "the women's pages," which was the lifestyle sections of newspapers. Also, professional organizations for journalists did not allow women. We've come a long way since then.
The efforts in Alabama in 1959 were mostly in the Mobile area. However, apparently there was confusion as to the goals of the group. Some thought it was more of an effort to form a union. Also, Civil Rights issues were causing tension in news rooms. The Alabama group disbanded in 1961, just 1.5 years after it formed.
1980s - Skipping to 1980, interest in forming an NFPW affiliate returned to Alabama. The name "Alabama Media Women" was chosen. This time, the founding members were from north, central and south Alabama. The members were news reporters, journalism professors, or worked public relations, marketing, or advertising. The service to members at that time was mostly the conferences. Members enjoyed seeing each other for a weekend where they also enjoyed recreation at one of the state's attractions.
By the 1990s, women in the news media were more and more gaining respect as true journalists. The needs and concerns of female media professionals came to match that of their male peers. In the 1990s, our affiliate changed its name to "Alabama Media Professionals" to reflect our embracing both genders in membership and programs. Also, our group attracted more indie communications professionals that did work by contract instead of as salaried employees. Services changed to monthly meetings in the Birmingham area instead of conferences.
Membership has gone up and down through the years depending on the efforts of the leadership of the time. Check out what our organization has become today.