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 February 8 at the 2024 INA Awards Ceremony.

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.


Randy Cauthron photo

Randy Cauthron

Spencer Daily Reporter

Randy Cauthron is described as a dedicated journalist, committed to his community and selfless with his time and energy. While newspaper’s publishing cycles may be seeing changes these days, our recipient still sees the job as a seven-day-a-week adventure.

Rather than looking for ways to lighten the load, he is constantly seeking ways to offer readers more. His columns are a must-read for subscribers. Personal, local, regional, state, and national topics are all fair game, and at the end of his columns always include an invitation for response. He wants to know what is on readers minds.

Randy is not shy to innovation either. He has led several progressive charges at newspapers over the years including diving into new technology as it arises but also hanging on to old favorites like movie reviews. He recently approached his school district with a program idea that resulted in more than $10,000 to the bottom line of the newspaper AND the booster club.

The community benefits from his talents in many other ways. He hosts a weekly coffee outreach, is a long time Kiwanian, serves on a community outreach board, teaches youth classes at church, supports a foundation for infants born with special needs, is a tireless volunteer for the youth football program and many more. For the past few years, he has also taught communications classes at a community college.

All of this has been done through a myriad of health problems following an accident several years ago. Editing, writing, corresponding never stopped, or slowed, through his journey.

Kent Thompson 2


Humboldt Independent

Kent Thompson has served in a multitude of journalism roles across many organizations for more than four decades.  His story is characterized by consistency and dedication, to his publications, co-workers, and communities. The journalism bug caught him early when he started writing and shooting photos for a special edition before he even held a driver’s license.

Kent would go on to work for several prominent newspaper families and companies throughout his lifetime. He gained knowledge and experience from many generations in the business before him. He also however, had a hand in bringing along generations of his own in new talent as well. Passionate about sharing what he has learned with students and fresh to the newsroom employees, he made every effort to take time during the day to mentor, whether he knew he was doing it or not.

Along his journey he has stack up plenty of INA award recognition at every stop and has also given back to his communities in a variety of ways. An active member of Kiwanis clubs, he takes on leadership roles, writes grants, plays a jolly ‘ol Santa during the holiday, has been seen on theatre stages, helping at fundraising events and generally anywhere the town needs him.

Over the course of his 40-plus year body of work and dedication to life in Iowa newspapering he has told thousands of Iowans’ stories, kept a watchful eye on elected officials, photographed ballgames, transitioned from paste up and dark rooms to a new digital landscape and kept putting out top-quality newspapers all along the way. His objective was and has always been to provide readers with reliable, honest, and truthful reporting of their communities and citizens.


Des Moines Register

Carol Hunter is intensely committed to upholding the very best in journalist standards, is a dedicated mentor and routinely pushes to increase transparency in journalism. She is a staunch supporter of open records, working to improve accessibility, use and policies in Iowa and beyond.

Carol works tirelessly to help maintain the quality of journalism in this state. She has a reputation in finding creative ways to access resources for newsrooms that have higher demand than ever before, yet fewer resources. In an industry that is constantly changing to keep up with reader and community trends, she can be found working nearly round the clock at times to find new ways to connect and engage readers from all demographics.

Carol is also highly engaged in advocating for transparency and openness with lawmakers. She is involved in several committees fighting for government openness, is thoughtful about legal processes, poses deep questions to officials and never hesitates to hold the powerful accountable.  She has a quick willingness to collaborate and a desire to help journalists of all experience levels grow. As a thoughtful leader, she works to gain trust and respect from everyone around her with her fair and nuanced approach to the job.

Carol has led staff to create and present documentaries which air in theatres and on television across the state. She helps connect Iowa and politicians at the Iowa State Fair Soapbox sessions or presidential debates. Being able to lead many different projects – and many in spotlights – is no small feat and takes a journalist with skills at the highest level.

Carol has the very best attributes of journalism in Iowa and has an unmatched dedication and loyalty to both her organization and the craft.



Terry Christensen, Fort Dodge Messenger
Bruce Miller, Sioux City Journal
Karen Spurgeon, Bloomfield Democrat
Jeff Wagner, Sheldon N'West Iowa REVIEW


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


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


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


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


Steve Delaney, Burlington
Charles “Scott” Campbell, Eldridge


Charles Nixon, Coon Rapids
James Gargano, Humboldt


Bill Haglund, Adel
Mark Rhoades, Missouri Valley


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


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


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


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


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


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


Rick Fromm, Decorah
Larry Bushman, Fort Dodge


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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