HSPA executive director to retire in mid-2022


Stephen Key, executive director and general counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association, plans to retire in mid-2022.

Key has been working for Indiana’s paid-circulation newspapers since the start of the 1993 General Assembly. The 2022 legislative session will be the 29th that he has lobbied for the interests of government transparency and the business interests of the state’s newspapers.

“It’s been an honor to work on behalf of Indiana newspapers because local journalism is a vital component of our democracy,” Key said. “I just hope I’ve made a positive impact on the ability for reporters and the public to hold government accountable and for newspapers to successfully serve Indiana communities.”

“It’s been an honor to work on behalf of Indiana newspapers because local journalism is a vital component of our democracy.”

Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel

Adding 13 years as a reporter or editor for newspapers in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, Key has been tied to journalism for 42 years.

“I’m very happy for Steve, as he has passionately worked for the newspapers in Indiana, and no one deserves to relax and enjoy more family time than Steve,” said Larry Hensley, president of the Board for the Hoosier State Press Association and general manager for Gannett. “His commitment to the journalists and the First Amendment is second to none, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him. We’re all going to miss him tremendously, and we want to wish him the very best, as he deserves it.”

HSPA Executive Director Steve Key answers questions from Bud Hunt (left) of AIM Media and Larry Bemis (right) of the Parke County Sentinel (Rockville) during the Sept. 13, 2019 publishers summit.

Key won’t immediately disappear upon retirement. Depending upon the needs of HSPA, he may assist with the 2023 legislative session or be available to answer legal questions posed by HSPA-member publications.

The HSPA Board of Directors will open a search for a new executive director to succeed Key with a transition period so that HSPA can move forward seamlessly.

Steve Key, third from left, executive director of the Hoosier State Press Association, presents the 2021 Blue Ribbon Daily Newspaper Award to Fort Wayne Journal Gazette President Julie Inskeep, Publisher Sherry Skufka, Editor Jim Touvell and Managing Editor Lisa Green.

Key also serves on the boards of the Friends of Ernie Pyle Development Fund, Inc., which operates the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana; the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame; Butler University College of Communications Dean’s Advisory Board, and Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

He and his wife, Gayle Porter-Key, hope to do more traveling and will be spending lots of time with their two grandchildren.

Intern Marcel Duplantier and Steve Key listen to testimony in a committee hearing for H.B. 1212, a bill that would have eliminated the requirement that notice of sheriffs’ sales be printed in newspapers in 2019. HSPA worked to defeat the bill.

“I don’t see myself sitting around the house all day, so I’ll probably keep busy with some new projects,” Key said.

He graduated from Butler University with a journalism degree in 1977 and from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis in 1994.

The Hoosier State Press Association represents 142 paid-circulation newspapers across the state, from urban daily metro papers to small weekly rural newspapers.