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 2 at the 2023 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.


terry christensen23


Fort Dodge Messenger

Terry Christensen is not one to be fearful of shaking up the norm to bring fresh perspective, a more relevant and locally based news product. Once an outsider to the industry if you will, he brought a wave of new ideas, tactics, and philosophies for his newspapers.  

When he is named publisher of newspapers, it becomes clear the impact he has on communities and people. Most recently after taking on a new leadership role he moved quickly to first update the building’s interior to a more contemporary look. Gone were the historical pages of yesteryear and in their place were motivational messages, work boards, a large flag, and even a mirror so that every employee walking in could take measure of their appearance and attitude as they came to work. Publications were renamed, re-branded and updated to appeal to a new generation of reader. Local news became a larger emphasis, sports was redone with local emphasis and personal updates on local athletes became the norm rather than exception. 

Christensen has substantially grown a commercial printing business and turned newspapers into award winning publications.  

His management style is one of empowerment and positive reinforcement. He involves all employees in regular meetings to drive goals and create a cohesive operation. He is known as a “people” person who forms positive relationships with anyone he meets. He is well liked, respected and looked up to in his community. Most importantly, he is driven to improve the communities he lives and works in.

Bruce Miller, editor of the Sioux City Journal, is shown Friday, March 27, 2015. Sioux City Journal photo by Tim Hynds


Sioux City Journal

Bruce Miller has worked the last four decades to promote the profession of journalism, make his local newspaper a leading source of news and give back to the community whenever possible. 

In the newsroom, he leads by example with his positive, can-do attitude, challenging colleagues to achieve lofty goals and practice high professional standards. He is continually giving of his time and ready to offer praise and constructive criticism to staff. He enjoys mentoring young journalists both in his role at the newspaper as well as an adjunct professor. 

Throughout his career, Miller has quickly adapted to the many changes and challenges in the industry and has developed keen insight for the type of stories readers count on the newspaper to tell. Under his leadership the paper has won numerous state, regional and national awards. 

He harnesses his outgoing personality and cheerful manner to give back to the community, volunteering as an MC for a long list of charitable events. While these high-profile public appearances have made him a local celebrity, most people never see the commitment and compassion he has for his own staff. He often refers to his team as a family and goes above and beyond for those who may need an extra hand from time to time. 

He has been a fixture in his community for 40 years. He is dedicated to fairness, truth and kindness, qualities that have not gone unnoticed in his community and among his colleagues. 



Bloomfield Democrat

Karen Spurgeon is much more than a caretaker of her community newspaper. She has excelled in the role of publisher through her day-and-night devotion to a paper that has been a part of the family for more than 50 years.  

As we know, dedication to newspapers entails many responsibilities. Covering city council and education meetings, writing editorials that challenge local residents and leaders to step up in the community, and writing countless stories to shine a spotlight on current issues just scratches the surface. 

We also know life has a way of throwing many of us for a curve. This holds true for our recipient when she was quickly faced with launching this second career, as a busy publisher, at a time when she would have been facing retirement and all the anticipated rest she had earned. 

Through her leadership she has taken the newspaper into the lives of its readers expanding its coverage to highlight a variety of groups in her community. She introduced readers to members of the Amish religious order, highlighted first responders efforts and sacrifices during the worst health crisis in a century, supported business during the health crisis and still found time to remain active in several community organizations as well.  She has done a great service to her community by championing what it means to provide local news. 

Serving as publisher since 2013 has not been a job for this individual. It has been a labor of love – love for what her late husband built during his nearly 50 years at the helm, love for the community where they both grew up, and love for the vital role a strong newspaper plays in a community.  



Sheldon N'West Iowa REVIEW

Jeff Wagner was born into the publishing business. As an infant he was regularly carted to work at the family paper and as a young boy listened to his parents talking printing, publishing, and newspaper issues nightly at the dinner table. 

By the time Wagner was in high school he held a fully franchised Nikon dealership located in the newspaper office and, was the only photographer for the paper. His parents would often have to call the high school principal to get excused from class when there was a breaking daytime story. 

When finished with school, our recipient jumped head-first into the family publishing business, as both staff photographer and designer and chief layout artist. It was during that period the newspaper won 17 Iowa Newspaper of the Year honors and became one of the three largest circulation weekly papers in Iowa. 

In the mid-80’s he was instrumental in the establishment of the family’s newspaper printing plant that has steadily steered through challenges and loses, yet more than tripling business from when it first starts. 

Wagner knows and loves the important role newspapers play in the lives of the communities they serve. The company has expanded and grown tremendously under his leadership. He has been a committed member of the Iowa Newspaper Association, serving on the Foundation and Association boards as well as many committees. He also represents the National Newspaper Association as a presenter at state association conventions across the country. 



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