The seeds of the IAPA were planted in 1926, when the First Pan American Congress of Journalists in Washington, D.C., adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a permanent inter-American journalists’ organization. his resolution, however, lay forgotten until the next Pan American Congress of Journalists gathered in Mexico City in 1942, decided to form a permanent committee.
Over the course of subsequent conferences in Caracas, Bogotá and Quito, the organization took shape under its current name and its bylaws were approved.
The IAPA began as a predominantly Latin American organization. In 1946 a group of publishers and editors founded an IAPA chapter in the United States.
The year 1950 marked a turning point for the IAPA. Until then, conferences were sponsored and funded by host governments, voting was conducted on a per-country basis, and many members were not journalists.
This all changed when delegates adopted new regulations precluding such sponsorships.
Ever since then, the IAPA has relied on member contributions and foundation grants for its funding. Members represent their respective publications, and each delegate has one vote.
The IAPA currently has approximately 1,400 member publications with a combined circulation of over 43,000,000 plus a comparable — and growing — online readership. IAPA members are either publications or newspaper chains.
The IAPA’s flagship event is its General Assembly, which pursuant to its bylaws is held in October of each year at sites alternating between Latin American and North America.
DThe program features presidents and other outstanding public figures from countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, and participants review the state of press freedom in the Americas.
Panel discussions with leading academics and intellectuals — including Nobel Prize winners — lend even greater prestige to the overall event. In addition, the IAPA’s Midyear Meeting is held in March of each year, with a structure similar to that of the General Assembly. Hundreds of IAPA delegates participate in both annual gatherings.