Master Editor-Publisher

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 April 28 at the 2022 INA Awards Banquet.

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.

2022 RECIPIENTS

swenson

BRAD SWENSON

Missouri Valley Times

An early start in newspapers as a carrier lit a fire in this Master Editor-Publisher recipient, leading to a life-long, passionate career in journalism.

For nearly 30 years he served his local communities by striving to put together top-quality newspapers that residents would be proud of. He has served in many different roles in the industry from sales rep, to reporter, to editor and as publisher of multiple operations. As publisher, he was always doing what he thought was best for the community, followed closely by what was best for the newspaper. He embraced the industry changes and challenges over the decades and often led the charge to finding new ways of improving an already great product.

A major health issue attempted to sideline our recipient, though even it was no match to slowing his dedication and heart to the job. He never let go of trying to make sure the newspaper had what it needed in his absence.

Swenson has been described as a classic newspaper publisher. He was the person who beat you to a scene of a local fire or accident, personally attended the city council meetings to hear directly about what’s going on in his community, active in his church and his local Chamber of Commerce and well respected in the county. He has handled advertising, writing, editing, administration and scooping the sidewalk if needed.

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KRISTIN GRABINOSKI

Armstrong Journal

We all know a newspaper is the leader in any community. It is true, that where there is a strong community, there is a great newspaper helping. Behind several strong communities and newspapers, you can Grabinoski, a strong, smart, business savvy publisher that has an eye for the future.

Whether it be a meeting, social gathering or large project, she is always willing to give it every drop of energy she has. As a small business owner herself, time is always a challenge, however she finds a way to make sure every story is covered and event photographed, giving each project the dedication and attention it deserves. Grabinoski is involved in numerous organizations and helps the communities she serves push the envelope and grow.

A few years ago, her community experienced some political turmoil. Community members agreed that it was a blessing to have had our recipient handling the coverage. The newspaper always to the high road and stay focused on only the facts.

Doing what is best for her community drives her.

There is no job too small or too large. Ownership, management, writing, photographing, selling, editing, layouts, press repairs—the list goes on and on. She is a mentor to her staff. She dedicates time and resources to make sure each person is getting the training and support they need to grow.

kucharski

ZACK KUCHARSKI

Cedar Rapids Gazette

At a time when newspapers are continuously charged with finding new ways to innovate and adapt to changing trends, Iowans are fortunate to have our next recipient working on their behalf. His initiative, drive, and problem-solving skills combine to help engage new audiences with journalism that affects every-day lives. 

Kucharski displayed those three qualities as the leading champion of a program created to engage the community, bring Iowans together, and provide new revenue streams for the newspaper. A first of its kind- and a step outside the box for the newspaper- the program is still going strong five years later and has brought continuity to not only the community, but within the newspaper as well. He is constantly looking for ways to improve the bottom line by driving new revenue—instead of impacting the team. 

Recruiting new talent has always been one of our recipient’s strengths. He finds the best people, sometimes staying in touch for years until they decide to join the paper. He cares deeply about fostering journalism at the high school and college levels and makes sure the newspaper has a regular presence at student media camps or internship programs. 

He is a tireless advocate for open government and accountability by public officials. He files legal challenges when appropriate on public records requests and calls for sit-downs when it seems a public figure or agency has developed a pattern of unresponsiveness. 

Kucharski is a leader who will step in on any job needing done, big or small, stays until the last reporter leaves, and goes above and beyond to represent the newspaper with the utmost integrity and dedication.

littler

WILLIAM E. LITTLER III & CONNIE LITTLER

Adair News

The Littlers have dedicated their lives to publishing the news in rural Iowa. They have contributed greatly to the residents of their community for more than three decades and upheld the namesake of the three generation, family-owned newspaper. 

Following in the family footsteps, they spent countless hours in press boxes, gymnasiums, bleachers, and board rooms to cover all the local happenings then write in ways readers can really feel the understand the issues or celebrate the community’s wins. They truly wanted every resident to feel vested in the community.  

Customer service has always been a top priority for this duo. They know their customers well and make a point to treat all with a personal touch just to show how much their business means. 

In addition to publishing the newspaper, they have been active with the fire department, providing prehospital emergency care to citizens in need. This includes responding to countless emergencies and providing medical care and overseeing the state guideline department requirements. 

The Littlers are known for their commitment, integrity, humility, high standards and generosity. 

MEP RECIPIENTS

2022

Brad Swenson, Missouri Valley
Kristin Grabinoski, Armstrong
Zack Kucharski, Cedar Rapids
William E. Littler III & Connie Littler, Adair

2019

Marlys Barker, Nevada
Mark Spensley, Monticello
Mike Hodges, Wapello

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