Distinguished Service

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 February 8 at the 2024 INA Awards Ceremony.

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

Distinguished Service Award recipients are long-time journalists honored for their contributions to the newspaper profession and to their communities. DSA recipients can be any member of the newspaper staff, including but not limited to advertising directors, circulation managers, back shop superintendents and press operators, as well as news and sports editors, publishers and business managers.

Criteria include:

  1. The nominee must be an employee or former employee of an Iowa newspaper or associated with a university, college or newspaper association having close ties with Iowa newspapers;
  2. The nominee shall have contributed greatly to his or her newspaper, and to his or her community and/or the newspaper industry in general;
  3. Longevity should have little effect on the nominee's qualifications.
  4. Individuals who have received the INA's Master Editor-Publisher award are not eligible to win the Distinguished Service Award. (Rule enacted in 2012)


MARY SHARP, Iowa Editor of The Gazette   
Photo taken: August 2006

MARY SHARP -  Cedar Rapids Gazette

Mary Sharp is a long-time newspaper reporter, editor and mentor whose approach to producing great journalism is to bring out the best in fellow reporters and editors. Her love for newspapers comes from deep and respectful appreciation of the written word.

Mary has a deep drive to succeed personally but the goal always has been to bring out the best in others and, thus, the strong team that results.  She has the keen ability to be in command without raising a voice or losing a smile.

Mary worked 35 years at newspapers in Burlington, Ottumwa, Champaign, Illinois and Cedar Rapids until retiring in 2011. But, she returned to her newspaper a few years later to be a copy editor and special projects editor. As with coverage of record floods in 2008, she was instrumental in helping The Gazette cover the catastrophic derecho that hit Iowa in 2010. Additionally, Mary prepares training sessions for editors and continues to mentor in the newsroom.



Lyle Muller
Mark Ridolfi, Eldridge North Scott Press


Steve Plain, Marshalltown Times-Republican
Joe Quinn, Nyemaseter Goode


Nancy Steburg, Kossuth County Advance
Mark Witherspoon, Iowa State Daily


Dorine Peterson, Creston News
Perry Bell, Knoxville Journal Express
Nick Workman, Ottumwa Courier


Scott Spurgeon, Bloomfield Democrat
Don Dauterive, Iowa Falls Times Citizen


Michael Bugeja, Iowa State University
Deb Geisler, Jefferson
Doug Melvold, Maquoketa
Scott Sundstrom, Des Moines


Bruce Binning, Denison
Vicky Decker, Seymour
Chris Mudge, Des Moines


Michael Giudicessi, Des Moines
Larry Peterson, Creston
Rox Laird, Des Moines


Bill Rediger, Dyersville Commercial
Connie Wagner, Sheldon N’West Iowa Review
Irene Wilcox, Madrid Register-News


Stuart Clark, Tipton Conservative
Max Heath, NNA Postal Chair
Keith Luchtel, INA Lobbyist
Barbara Mack, Iowa State University (posthumous)


Chuck Offenburger, Des Moines Register
Kathleen Richardson, Drake University
Norma Thurman, Stuart Herald


Bill Monroe, Iowa Newspaper Association


Jeff Grant, Sheldon
Alan Mores, Harlan
Jim Normandin, Dubuque


Jay Luther, Iowa Falls Times-Citizen
Jo Martin, Iowa Falls Times-Citizen
Mary Reuter, DeWitt Observer


Sharon Alban, Ogden Reporter
Bill Tubbs, Eldridge North Scott Press
Terry Wilson, Davenport Quad-City Times
Bill Wundram, Davenport Quad-City Times


Bob Andersen, Elkader Clayton Co. Register
Wayne Davis, Seymour Herald


Le Ann Larson, West Union Fayette Co. Union
Ron Schuety, Altoona Herald-Mitchellville Index
Randy Evans, Des Moines Register


Mark Wicks, Charles City Press
Connie White, Creston News-Advertiser
Drake Mabry, Des Moines Register & Ames Tribune
Gary Alban, Ogden Reporter


Amy Duncan, Indianola Record-Herald and Tribune
Don Magdefrau, Belle Plaine Union
Karen Young, Seymour Herald
Tom Yunt, Dubuque Telegraph Herald


Edward “Mike” Lyon, Mapleton Press
Michael Gartner, Des Moines
Walt Stevens, Ft. Dodge Messenger
Bill Casey, Iowa City Daily Iowan


Paul Gauthier, Corning Adams Co. Free-Press
Gil Cranberg, Des Moines Register
George Mills, Des Moines Register
Jay Wagner, Des Moines Business Record


Jim Magdefrau, Blairstown So. Benton Star-Press
Jack Crook, Knoxville Journal-Express
Barbara Lyon, Mapleton Press


Dave Storey, Cedar Rapids Gazette
LeAnn Pisarik, Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun
Dr. Kenneth Starck, University of Iowa School of Journalism


Gary Spurgeon, Bloomfield Democrat
James Flansburg, Des Moines Register
Tom Emmerson, Iowa State University
Jack Marlowe, Maquoketa Sentinel Press


Marni Mellen, Fairfield Daily Ledger
Tom Johnson, Waukon Standard
Merle Kent Shawd, Woodward-NE Dallas Co. Record
Jay Mohr, Sibley-Osceola Co. Gazette Tribune (posthumous)


Mark Bowden, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Harold Aardema, Doon Press
Margaret VanderWeerdt, Sully Diamond Trail News
Gene Bloom, Woodbine Twiner (posthumous)


Mary Lou Hinrichsen, DeWitt Observer
Shirley Omer, Primghar O’Brien Co. Bell
Dave Paxton, Albia Newspaper


Bill Mertens, Burlington Hawk Eye
Richard Goughnour, Mediapolis News
David Johnson, West Branch Times
Joe Roth, Hampton Newspapers


Beth Dalbey, Adel Dallas County News
Brian Cooper, Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Ken Robinson, Bayard News-Gazette
Jerry Moriarity, Mason City Globe-Gazette


Al Pinder, Grinnell Herald-Register
Larry Johnson, Ft. Dodge Messenger
Carolyn Cole Gage, Villisca Review


Robert Woodward, Drake University
Phyllis Fleming, Cedar Rapids Gazette
William Zima, University of Iowa


Dale Kueter, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Oline Stigers, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Ron Slechta, Tama News-Herald
Harrison “Skip” Weber, INA


Genevieve Mauck Stoufer, Council Bluffs
Rick Morain, Jefferson Herald
Helen Zogg, Eldridge North Scott Press
Rosalie Johnson, Eldridge North Scott Press


Herb Strentz, Drake University
Lois Jacobs, Marshalltown Times-Republican
Cal Olson, Sioux City Journal
David Kruidenier, Des Moines Register


Hollis Nordyke, Ames Daily Tribune
Jackson Baty, University of Northern Iowa
L. Jay Smith, Fort Dodge Messenger


Harold Bailey, Perry Chief
Bill Kunerth, Iowa State University
Frederick Simpson, Atlantic News-Telegraph


John McCormally, Burlington Hawk Eye
Max Maxon, Webster City Freeman Journal
Harold Roberts, Creston News Advertiser


Esther Williams, Vinton Cedar Valley Daily Times
J. Burl Tiedemann, Adel Dallas County News
Harry Mauck Jr., Council Bluffs Nonpareil


Les Moeller, Iowa City
Donald Lundgren, Clinton Herald
Al Efner, Ottumwa Courier


Frank Nye, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Matt Lawrence, Ottumwa Courier
Paul Norris, Marshalltown Times-Republican