Master Editor-Publisher Award

The Iowa Newspaper Association annually honors deserving individuals with two prestigious awards: the Master Editor-Publisher award and the Distinguished Service Award. Both awards are presented to recipients during the association's annual convention in February.

Recipients were announced Friday, February 2 at the 2018 INA Convention and Trade Show. 

Each year's honorees are selected by past recipients of the awards.

Master Editor-Publisher honorees are chosen based on the following criteria:
The nominee has worked hard, thought soundly, influenced unselfishly, and lived honorably.

This award may be given to any person who at the time of the selection is actively engaged in editing and/or publishing a newspaper which is a member in good standing of the Iowa Newspaper Association.

Paula Buenger, Publisher - Spencer Daily Reporter

Paula Buenger has spent the past three decades serving as a journalist, editor and publisher. She often juggles the day-to-day operations of her newspapers while contributing her talents as a writer and mentor to staff.

Utilizing a work ethic that was established early in life, she began her journalism career as a reporter in the early ‘80s and then as a sports editor in a male-dominated field. She earned her stripes as a dedicated storyteller and exhibited a perseverance her readers could relate to: her first car on the job had no heater, so she kept a blanket on her lap to keep warm and often had to scrape her windshield from the inside to reach her assignments.

Through the ‘90s she ascended the ranks of her organization and after taking a break from journalism to start a family, she returned and eventually rose to regional publisher. In this role, she is known for her penchant for innovation, commitment to community and her stable, reassuring voice in what can be a volatile business.

She is heavily involved with many aspects of the communities she serves and loves to shine the spotlight on the work of others. She is supportive and encourages staff to take on leadership roles of their own and give back. In her time as publisher she has led her newspapers to numerous INA General Excellence, Community Service and Community Leadership awards.

Our recipient is a selfless, tireless worker and passionate about her trade. She has led her newspapers to statewide recognition and is respected by her peers. Please help me recognize Paula Buenger with the Spencer Daily Reporter, Dickinson County News and Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune.

Douglas Burns, Co-owner - Carroll Daily Times Herald

Our next Master Editor-Publisher Award recipient has spent nearly his entire life in newspapers. A fourth-generation newspaper person, his journey has taken him from paperboy to upstart journalist to D.C. politico and now jack-of-all-trades part-owner of his family’s newspaper company.

Active in all aspects of his family’s newspapers, he contributes news and feature writing, editorials and columns and even dabbles in ad sales. He is a well-known as an outspoken advocate for rural Iowa and works to better the economic and cultural prospects of his community.

He is heavily involved with local economic development groups, foundations and other nonprofit organizations. His understanding of the importance of regionalism for sustainability of rural Iowa and collaboration between communities allows him to champion local efforts to grow the region.

His written opinions on politics have been as diverse as they have been controversial. In fact, few politicians pass through Iowa without being interviewed by him and he not known to throw softballs.

He has acted as a mentor to countless young journalists and invests time and energy into developing inexperienced staff members. When they are ready to move on career-wise, he chooses to celebrate them and help them along, rather than convince them into staying.

Along the way, he has helped lead his family’s newspapers to numerous awards at the INA Convention over the years, has also served on a number of committees for the INA. Tough but fair, passionate about his trade and fiercely loyal to his community. Please help me recognize Doug Burns with the Carroll Daily-Times Herald.

Dodie Hook, Publisher - Akron Hometowner

Dodie Hook embodies the ethos of the quintessential small-town family newspaper. She worked for 20 years for her hometown newspaper before embarking on her own, starting a competing newspaper from scratch, where she quickly became successful.

A hard worker, who often works seven days a week, she manages every facet of her newspaper—from writing to pagination to accounting. She has a selfless style, avoiding the limelight herself, while providing others opportunities to shine. She takes pride in building up her employees, invests in their training and creates a positive culture for them to thrive.

She is a popular figure in her community and has invested her time and resources into its main street, and maintains a great relationship with City Hall. She is still a stickler for unbiased reporting and publishing factual information and does not hesitate to remind her local public offices of the state’s open meeting laws.

She has been a long-serving board member of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation, where she recently served a term as president. She is also involved with the National Newspaper Association, where she has served as a committee member and contest judge.

An open-minded problem solver and risk-taker, she has a deep passion for independently owned weekly newspapers and for decades has served her community and the newspaper industry with integrity and generosity. Please help me recognize Dodie Hook with the Akron Hometowner.

MEP recipients

2018
Paula Buenger, Spencer
Douglas Burns, Carroll
Dodie Hook, Akron

2017
LeAnn Larson, West Union
Ron Slechta, Kalona
Stuart Clark, Tipton   

2016
Steve Delaney, Burlington
Charles "Scott" Campbell, Eldridge

2015
Charles Nixon, Coon Rapids
James Gargano, Humboldt

2014
Bill Haglund, Adel
Mark Rhoades, Missouri Valley

2013
Luann Waldo, Bayard
Jerry Wiseman, Sac City
Dave Stanley, New Hampton

2012
John Goossen, Iowa Falls
Gene Hall, Charles City
Doug Lindner, Solon
Mary Ungs-Sogaard, Dyersville

2011
Mike Finnegan, Clear Lake
Jane Podgorniak, Northwood
Mike Schlesinger, Marshalltown

2010
Amy Duncan, Indianola
Ron Peterson, Sioux City
Peter W. Wagner, Sheldon

2009
Lowell Carlson, Bellevue
Ken Chaney, Sigourney
Brian Cooper, Dubuque
Dennis Wilcox, Madrid

2008
Martin Bunge, Marengo
Gary Milks, Fort Madison
Howard Query, Mason City

2007
Rick Fromm, Decorah
Larry Bushman, Fort Dodge

2006
Art & John Cullen, Storm Lake
Connie Wimer, Des Moines
Dan DeBettignies, Montezuma

2005
Brad Hicks, Hampton
Bill Casey, Iowa City
David Allen, Lamoni

2004
Larry Woellert, Anamosa/Manchester
Mark Bowden, Cedar Rapids
Gary Lindsey, Leon

2003
David Paxton, Albia
Mike Simmons, Marengo
Dana Larsen, Storm Lake

2002
Dirk and Lee van der Linden, Belmond
Mary Rueter, DeWitt
Tom Yunt, Dubuque

2001
Bill Mertens, Burlington
Scott Gonzales, Guthrie Center
Roger Rector, Ida Grove

2000
Alan Mores, Harlan
Doris Vezina, Hartley
Bob Goodyear, Monticello

1999
Dorothy Pinder, Grinnell
H. Alan Smith, Mt. Ayr
Joe McDermott, Newton
Merle Kent Shawd, Woodward

1998
Michael Gartner, Ames
Jo Martin, Iowa Falls
Edward “Mike” Lyon, Mapleton

1997
Arvid Huisman, Creston
Dan Feuling, New Hampton
Darwin Sherman, Washington

1996
Donna Haight, Afton
Dan Field, Corning
Joe Roth, Hampton

1995
Ed Littler, Adair
Gary Gerlach, Ames
Bill Tubbs, Eldridge
Ed Rood, Slater

1994
Jim Wilson, Carroll
Ann Wilson, Carroll
Mark Hamilton, Iowa Falls
Dean Krenz, Sioux City

1993
Virgil Oakman, Lake View
Don Magdefrau, Benton Co.
Carolyn Cole Gage, Villisca

1992
Drake Mabry, Ames
Jim Lindvall, Griswold
Jerry Blue, West Union

1991
John Robertson, Cedar Rapids
Lloyd & Alice Madson, Northwood
Ed & Billie Robinson, Hartley
Jim Hodges, Wapello

1990
Burl Tiedemann, Adel
Mary Louise Robinson, Bayard
James Patton, Gowrie
Paul Bunge, Osage

1989
Gary Spurgeon, Bloomfield
Steve Mores, Harlan
Harris Honsey, Lake Mills

1988
Joe Hladky III, Cedar Rapids
Dave Norris, Marshalltown
Gary & Sharon Alban, Ogden
Ben & Lucy Colby, Rock Rapids

1987
Rick Morain, Jefferson
Jerry Bloom, Logan
Len Strasburg, Manchester

1986
John (Andy) Anderson, Spencer
Shirley Omer, Primghar
Forrest Kilmer, Davenport
Herbert Clark, Tipton

1985
Al Schafer, Eldora
Richard Gross, Council Bluffs
Carl Cassidy, Lime Springs

1984
Verle Burgason, Ames
John Field, Hamburg
Maury Noonan, Dyersville
John Sullivan, Cascade

1983
Charles Gonzales, Guthrie Center
Stuart Awbrey, Burlington
W. R. Vezina, Hartley
M. E. Messersmith, Riceville

1982
C. W. Wilcox, Madrid
W. E. Beck, Spirit Lake
Walter Stevens, Fort Dodge

1981
Ed Sidey, Greenfield
Robert Lyon, Schleswig
Frank Morlan, Sheldon

1980
Hugh Doty, Corydon
Gerald G. Moriarity, Mason City
Robert Parrott, DeWitt
Bruce A. Turvold, Cresco

1979
Dave Elder, Washington
Dick Knowles, Denison
Russ Waller, Algona

1978
Thomas H. Miller, Cherokee
Robert L. Caswell, Red Oak
John L. Morrissey, Montezuma

1977
Robert & Evelyn Reiste, Ocheyedan
John Anderson, Storm Lake
Frank Nye, Cedar Rapids

1976
Everett A. Streit, Clinton
Kenneth A. Robinson, Bayard
William Ferguson, Glidden

1975
Albert Pinder, Grinnell
John van der Linden, Sibley
Carter Pitts, LeMars

1974
Robert J. McCoy, Waterloo
William L. Lindsey, Leon
Prof. James Schwartz, I.S.U.
H. M. “Johnny” Jones, Monticello

1973
Benjamin F. Carter, Jr., Forest City
G. Wiley Beveridge, Williamsburg
Charles Davis, Iowa Falls

1972
Fred Grawe, Waverly
Robert Larson, Albia
E. J. Van Nostrand, Creston

1971
W. J. Carmichael, Webster City
John Baldridge, Charition
Wayne & Jeanne Davis, Seymour

1970
Joe F. Hladky, Jr., Cedar Rapids
Keith Hawk, Knoxville
Robert Melvold, Maquoketa

1969
Dwight Purcell, Hampton
F. A. Wortman, Malvern
A. M. Patterson, Mount Pleasant

1968
Reeves Hall, Independence
Deemer Lee, Estherville
John Feuling, New Hampton

1967
Hollis Nordyke, Ames
Neil Maurer, Laurens
Lew Kimer, Indianola

1966
Mrs. Harold Garvey, Boone
Dale Merrill, Ida Grove
Dick Westerfield, West Union

1965
Ken MacDonald, Des Moines
Phil Jarnagin, Storm Lake
Tom B. Powell, Jr., Anamosa

1964
Phil Adler, Davenport
Fred Morain, Jefferson
Leo Mores, Harlan

1963
M. B. Crabbe, Eagle Grove
Robert K. Beck, Centerville
Elmer E. Taylor, Traer

1962
Lew Warren, Oelwein
Karl Le Compte, Corydon
Carl Hogendorn, North English

1961
A.K. Walling, Oskaloosa
Carl Hamilton, Iowa Falls
Gordon Aasgaard, Lake Mills

1960
F.D. Simpson, Atlantic
Robert Burrows, Sr., Belle Plaine
Lloyd McCutcheon, Sibley

1959
Walter Merryman, Fort Dodge
John Burrows, Belle Plaine
J.C. Moore, Winterset

1958
Walter Williams, Fairfield
Charles Hacke, Sac City
George Carman, Buffalo Center

1957
C.W. Moody, Burlington
A.W. Hamblin, Bedford
Carl E. Sexauer, Ogden

1956
Harold V. Ellis, Marengo
Paul Norris, Marshalltown
Harry E. Taylor, Traer

1955
L. B. Watt, Grinnell
Lloyd O. Brewer, Newton
K. H. Sidey, Greenfield

1954
W. D. Archie, Shenandoah
Carl Caswell, Clarinda
Wm. Allender, Chariton

1953
Lee P. Loomis, Mason City
A. L. Frisbie, Grinnell
John Vanderwicken, Grundy Center
Don Reid, West Des Moines

1952
G.E. Whitehead, Perry
Will F. Lindsey, Leon
B.H. Shearer, Columbus Junction

1951
James Wilson, Carroll
Duane E. Dewel, Algona
David Sutherland, Sr., Montezuma

1950
John Huston, Ottumwa
Willis Overholser, Sibley
S.E. Tennant, Colfax

1949
Claude Campbell, Jewell
Ralph Shannon, Washington
Paul C. Smith, Rock Rapids

1948
James C. Gillespie, LeMars
Phil Hoffman, Oskaloosa
C.S. Walling, Oskaloosa

1947
Chas. A. Doxsee, Monticello
Hoge Howard Sadler, Pella
Justin Barry, Cherokee

1946
Paul A. Olson, Story City
John W. Haggard, Algona
W. Earl Hall, Mason City

1945
Fred W. Hill, Hamburg
Jas. McCutcheon, Mt. Vernon
Wm. S. Rupe, Ames

1944
F.W. Beckman, Knoxville
Stephen Goldthwaite, Boone
Ralph Overholser, Red Oak

1943
Don L. Berry, Indianola
Sherman W. Needham, Ames
Geo. C. Tucker, Webster City

1942
J.L. Papes, Marion
Leon S. Barnes, Northwood

1941
Chas. N. Marvin, Shenandoah
Frank Jaqua, Humboldt
E.P. Harrison, Oakland

1940
W.C. Dewel, Algona
Chas. Rogers, Mt. Pleasant
Paul C. Woods, Sheldon

1939
Jesse M. Beck, Centerville
John M. Grimes, Osceola
Scott Snyder, Adel

1938
Ward Barnes, Eagle Grove
Orville Elder, Washington
J.G. Lucas, Madrid

1937
Thomas W. Purcell, Hampton
E.P. Chase, Atlantic
Victor Lovejoy, Jefferson

1936
James R. Rhodes, Newton
K.F. Baldridge, Bloomfield

1935
John c. Hartman, Waterloo
M.A. Aasgaard, Lake Mills

1934
W. C. Jarnagin, Storm Lake
Wm. P. Moscrip, Marshalltown
Grant Caswell, Des Moines
Wm. P. Wortman, Malvern

1933
Ed M. Smith, Winterset
E.P. Adler, Davenport
W.G. Ray, Grinnell

1932
Joseph F. Grawe, Waverly
Harvey Ingham, Des Moines
Elmer E. Taylor, Traer