The VPA bylaws define an Active member as the following:
The active members shall consist of bonafide newspapers circulated substantially within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- A bonafide newspaper that i. meets the definition in the Code of Virginia of a newspaper that may be used for legal notices; and ii. is a paid newspaper of general circulation, publishes news of a general character, has a periodicals class U.S. Postal Service mailing permit, and has been published and in circulation for at least one year.
- Active members shall pay annual dues and shall be entitled to hold office.
- Each active member newspaper shall have one vote in the affairs of the association and shall designate the person empowered to cast that vote. There shall be no voting by proxy.
- Active member newspapers may be referred to as daily or non-daily. A daily newspaper is published at least five days a week. A non-daily is published at least once a week but less than five days a week.
- Active member newspapers may include those immediately outside Virginia which (1) actively seek and service subscribers in Virginia, (2) provide regular staff coverage of Virginia affairs, (3) include Virginia as a portion of their market.
- Free circulation newspapers that apply for membership in the Virginia Press Association must apply for active membership if:
- The newspaper has been certified by a Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a newspaper that may be used for legal notices; and
- The newspaper has been continually published and in circulation for at least one year, employs a full-time news staff, reports local current events and governmental meetings, has an editorial page, accepts letters to the editor and is - in general - a news forum for the community in which it is circulated; and
- The newspaper has a general circulation within the community to which the publication is directed and maintains permanent records of the fact and substance of publication; and iv. Has an audit of circulation certified by an independent auditing firm or a business recognized in the newspaper industry as a circulation auditor.