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 2 at the 2023 INA Awards Banquet.

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)




Lyle Muller has helped shaped the lives and professions of reporters and editors in Iowa for decades. 

Working for Iowa newspapers since 1980 our recipient rose to top editor of one of the state’s largest newspapers and has committed his life to service in journalism ever since. Over the years he has served in numerous roles from reporter to editor to executive director and adviser.  

After being hired on with a non-profit news organization he not only helped student journalists develop investigative news stories to a high level, but he became a national networker and fundraiser. He landed some heavy-hitting donors to help support the organization and developed a new collaboration with a local college to revive the student newspaper. 

His approach with student journalists challenges editors on their biases and pushes them to do what is right for the reader. He helps them navigate tough editorial and management decisions. He is also quick to celebrate and amplify their success. He teaches students to strive for excellence. 

He has cultivated a journalism pipeline, dedicating himself to training the next generation of reporters and editors. His mentees work across Iowa and at national news organizations such as the Washington Post and Politico. These journalists do exceptional work thanks in part to the foundation he laid.  

Muller is an exemplary journalist, editor and mentor.



Eldridge North Scott Press

Mark Ridolfi has been called a “difference maker” for the ideals we value: First Amendment freedoms, the public’s right to know, curiosity, citizen interaction with local government, kindness, and nurturing the new generations of our profession.  

His particular passion for keeping the public involved in the workings of government has included organizing and moderating candidate forums, pursuing public records to bring important issues to light, and poring over reams of data to put government actions into sharp focus. 

His coverage of grass-roots issues are so important to a healthy democracy and critical to an understanding of the power of local journalism. He lends perspective to current issues in thought-provoking columns that draw on his 40-plus years in the journalism profession. He has won many reporting and writing awards over the years, but that is not what motivates him. His motivation is an informed electorate.  

He also understands the importance of writing about people, allowing them to tell their stories. He’s always been one to pick up his camera to capture a moment in time for readers to appreciate. His talents in clean functional page design have also made the newspapers he’s worked for easier to navigate for readers. 

Most recently, Ridolfi has pushed on the importance of utilizing interns as much as possible to help foster the next generation. He is a teacher at heart and his patient and through, yet kind demeanor has served several interns and the newspaper alike, well.  

Many have said it is a privilege getting to call him a coworker and colleague.



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