Sunday, October 06, 2019

Publishers from rural Minnesota and South Carolina win top individual awards from National Newspaper Association

Two rural publishers, one with three papers and one who works for a chain, won the top awards for individuals at the 133rd National Newspaper Association convention in Milwaukee this weekend.

Reed Anfinson of Benson, Minnesota, and Susan Rowell of Lancaster, South Carolina, won the James O. Amos and Emma McKinney awards, named for long-ago leaders in the association. They recognize distinguished service and leadership to the community press and their communities.

Reed Anfinson
"America would be a far better place if every community had a Reed Anfinson at the helm of their newspaper," Georgia publisher Robert Williams, a recipient of the Amos award, wrote in his nomination of Anfinson, a former NNA president who heads the group's foundation.

Anfinson and his wife Shelly own the Swift County Monitor-News in Benson, the Stevens County Times in Morris and the Grant County Herald in Elbow Lake. He is a partner in Quinco Press, a central printing plant. He has been president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association and vice president of the old Minnesota News Council, has won freedom-of-information awards, and has been a member of several local statewide civic groups, including the Minnesota Center for Rural Policy and Development, which advises the Minnesota Legislature on rural issues.

Anfinson said in accepting the award that newspapers are important for five reasons: their reach, which gives them authority that "tells those in power that they will be held accountable;" their strength, shown by fights for open government; their persistence, showing up at meetings on citizens' behalf; their knowledge of the laws that govern public agencies; and "We're in print, which allows us to do all these things."
Susan Rowell

Rowell has been publisher of The Lancaster News and a regional manager for Landmark Community Newspapers since 2002. As NNA president and immediate past president, "She helped NNA make a successful transition to new management, which brought in a dedicated team to oversee the daily operations of the association," NNA said in the award announcement. "This transition also was critical in shoring up the association’s financial position."

Rowell said her years in NNA "changed my life." She is also a past president of the South Carolina Press Association and is active in state and local civic matters. “Susan Rowell is a consummate community newspaper leader," Virginia publisher Matt Paxton wrote in his nomination. Past winners are listed at

NNA announced winners in its editorial contest in June. For complete lists, click here.

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