I am honored to announce that I have recently been approved for active membership in the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
The OWAA is the world’s leading organization of outdoor media professionals. They are the largest association of its kind too, and the oldest, having recently turned 90 this past April.
I am not quite that long in the tooth, but I can say that membership in this group is something that I first aspired to belong more than 50 years ago.
As stated on their website:
The mission of Outdoor Writers Association of America® is to improve the professional skills of our members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and be mentors for the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.
What we’re about:
OWAA is a nonprofit, international organization that represents a diverse group of professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. Members of OWAA are experienced outdoor people, the nation’s best:
- book authors
- film and video producers
- fine artists
- bloggers and new media communicators (e.g. podcasters, webcasters)
- communications and PR professionals
We aim to offer world-class resources, support, and inspiration for our members as they inform the public about outdoor activities, issues and the responsible use of our natural resources. Through OWAA membership and adherence to its creed and code of ethics, members are commissioned to provide honest, thorough, informed, responsible and unbiased outdoor coverage.
Criteria for Individual Membership
You qualify as an Active Member of OWAA if you meet one of the following:
- You have sold and published—in any media—five stories, articles, photographs, videos or illustrations on outdoor-related topics in the past year.
- You have published a book or worked on an income-producing film or any form of audio on outdoor-related topics in the past five years.
- You are a full-time outdoor communicator in any media. Please see below for a list of qualifying positions.
- You are a citizen journalist who writes for a blog or other digital media that is updated with original content at least twice a month and receives 500 AUVs (Average Unique Views) per month over a 12-month period, or generates income.
If you do not qualify for Active Member status, you qualify as an Associate Member if you are paid for some work described above. If you do not join as an Active or Associate Member and are enrolled in a course of study at the secondary or higher education level, you qualify as a Student Member.
OWAA’s bylaws and Board regulate the membership classes, criteria, and application process, and supplement and control what is said here. All applications must be made on a form approved by the OWAA Board, which will require that the applicant agree to be bound by certain principles of the organization, including the OWAA Code of Ethics.
Applicants for Active or Associate Member status must be sponsored by an OWAA Active Member. Both the applicant and the sponsor must verify that the applicant qualifies for the membership sought. Headquarters may be able to recruit sponsors for those desiring to apply and lacking a sponsor. An application for Student Member status must be signed by a teacher or educational advisor of the applicant.
All members must continue to meet membership criteria while in OWAA and may be subject to periodic credential reviews.
OWAA individual membership is intended to improve the personal and professional skills of our members. Individual membership should not be used to promote products, agencies, organizations or businesses.
Professionals working in the following areas qualify for OWAA membership. Other professionals may apply; consult headquarters with any questions.
- Newspaper or Magazine writer, columnist, editor, designer or staff member: Works in one of these capacities for print or online publications.
- Newspaper or Magazine freelancer: Works for print or online publications on a contract basis.
- Photographer/Videographer: Works for magazines, E-zines or other outdoor-related publications.
- Illustrator, Cartoonist or Artist: Published in any medium.
- Film Editor, Scriptwriter, Director or Producer: Works in one of these capacities on a full-length film or video.
- Broadcast Scriptwriter, Editor, Photographer, Director or Producer: Works on television or aired video or audio production in one of these capacities. Guest appearances do not qualify, but guest-hosting does apply.
- Book Author, Editor, Designer or Producer: Works on a published book in any of these capacities.
- Lecturer/Educator/Instructor/Nature Interpreter: Works in any of these capacities.
- Full-Time Employee of Nonprofit Conservation or Recreation Agency: Public relations, publications and public information staff, and others who disseminate outdoor or recreational information.
- Employee of Outdoor-Related Industries, Agencies, Associations or Organizations: Public relations and marketing staff.
You can read more about The Outdoor Writers Association of America Here