Timeline: Baptist Press kept adapting, expanding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The creation of Baptist Press 60 years ago, in 1946, culminated longstanding interest in a convention news service.

A BP timeline follows:

1919 -- SBC messengers adopt resolution calling for denominational newsgathering service.

1946 –- Baptist Sunday School Board is encouraged by state Baptist papers to begin offering news items featuring Southern Baptist work under heading of Southern Baptist Press Association. Porter W. Routh directs the effort.

1947 –- Responsibility for news distribution is transferred to the SBC Executive Committee; C.E. Bryant named director of publicity.

1949 -– Albert McClellan succeeds Bryant as director of publications.

1955 -– First fulltime professionally trained writer hired.

1958 -– Washington, D.C., regional office of Baptist Press opens.

1959 -– W.C. Fields named director of public relations. Atlanta regional office added utilizing releases from the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board).

1965 –- High-speed teletypewriter equipment installed for use among regional offices. Separate mailings from regional offices cease as all news is distributed from SBC office in Nashville.

1966 -- Nashville bureau opens with news from the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources). Regional offices are renamed as BP bureaus.

1970 –- Bureau added at Richmond office of SBC Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). By now, BP is distributed to about 350 news media outlets.

1972 -- Dallas bureau added.

1973 -– Feature editor added to staff as BP passes 1,000 mark of news and feature releases.

1975 -– Sixth bureau of BP opened in Memphis at the former SBC Brotherhood office.

1979 -- Baptist Press grows to point of distributing 1,040 news stories and 165 features to approximately 450 religious and secular media outlets.

1987 -– Alvin Shackleford becomes director of public relations.

1989 -– BPNews goes online via SBCnet subscription service on CompuServe.

1990 –- BP editors terminated after dispute over fairness of coverage of the conservative resurgence. Executive Committee separates public relations and news service functions.

1991 -- Herb Hollinger begins leadership of Baptist Press.

1996 -– Baptist Press website begins.

2000 –- Will Hall named vice president for convention news. BP Sports launched to report scores and share witness of Christian athletes. BP On Assignment debuts with “Wedgwood’s Amazing Grace” offering on-the-field coverage of major news events.

2001 -- Churches websites begin linking to BP headlines.

2001 -- BP hosts first Collegiate Journalism Conference to encourage pursuit of career in journalism that honors God.

2006 –- Spanish-language edition of Baptist Press begins.

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