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 Friday, February 7 at the 2020 INA Convention and Trade Show.

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)


Steburg, Nancy DSC_8512


Kossuth County Advance

Nancy Steburg began her career with a brief stint in the banking industry before making the leap to the newspaper business. She started in circulation, then bookkeeping; next she was the advertising manager and finally, the role she has held for more than two decades—general manager. Her commitment is unwavering.

Many have longevity in their jobs, but few have the passion and enthusiasm of this individual. After nearly four decades, she still arrives to work well before office hours and often stays well past the close of business to ensure the newspaper and shopper are completely ready for printing each week. Leading advertising and graphics teams, her focus is always on producing quality products for the community.

When it comes to organizational skills, hers are top-notch! She can answer any question you might have, whether its about an upcoming meeting, an even or a supply order. Detailed calendars are planned months in advance. She chases goals and can be heard encouraging her team, saying, “let’s go!” pushing them to reach higher in print and online sales.

She has served on numerous community committees and her input is highly valued. She is not afraid of new projects and is willing to speak up when she sees a community project with some potential pitfalls!

Steburg is the newspaper’s institutional memory and its connection to the community. No one knows more about where each has been.
Through different owners and publishers, she has kept her eye on the newspaper and its financial success. She has dedicated herself to the newspaper, to the industry and to the community. She works to preserve the quality of the newspaper.

Mark Witherspoon Headshot


Iowa State Daily

Mark Witherspoon has been educating student journalists – and positively impacting the world of journalism – for 30 years. Not to mention the decade plus spent editing prior to teaching. During this time, he has taught and mentored over 3,000 student journalists.

One of Witherspoon's great gifts is showing others how to see the world through the lens of a journalist – that in every situation there are two sides, there is something to be learned from every mistake, and that as a writer, you have both the responsibility and the ability to impact truth and justice in the world. It’s a noble, go-with-your-guts view of the world that, impacts all those around him.

His students can be found scattered throughout the country, from anchors at CNN to writers at The New York Times to publishers in small town newspapers right here in Iowa. One thing that we hear time and again is how much he pushes his students. He demands growth from them. Demands excellence. The national awards they win together as a team is a testament to this dedication.

Student journalists keep our recipient inspired. He sees the same mistakes made year after year by freshman students and never loses patience.

His passion for free speech and freedom of the press is illustrated in the numerous awards he’s won in this arena. To have a conversation with him concerning the rights of the people is to commit the next hour of your life to passion, idealism, and resiliency of the best kind.

By this individual’s own admission, his career is not a testament to sainthood, but one of someone who gets up every day and does better than he did the day before. It’s one of his most endearing qualities to his students, who are just starting to learn to do the same. He works hard, he works passionately, and he always keeps the Constitution close to his heart. He is, after all, a journalist.



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