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Cal Press names Jim and Lisa Rule the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executives of the Year

Dick Fogel, Charlotta Bass, Ben Bagdikian, Cheryl Brown, Marcia Parker also honored

San Francisco,California (PR MediaRelease) December 4, 2017

The California Press Foundation has named Jim and Lisa Rule, owners of Acorn Newspapers in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executives of the Year. Chuck Champion, president and publisher of the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, presented the award to the Rules during Cal Press’ 140th Annual Winter Meeting, held Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel in San Francisco.

The Rules are the 53rd recipient of the award, which is given to publishers, editors-in-chief or equivalents who have involved themselves in the directions of the editorial and news side of their newspapers by showing exceptional editorial achievement. Their newspapers have made impacts on their community or influenced local, state or national concerns as a result of their journalistic effort. The award was established in honor of Justus F. Craemer (1888-1966), who served as president of the California Press Association for 20 years.

Jim and Lisa Rule purchased a single Acorn publication out of bankruptcy in 1996, and through their dogged determination to make the paper a vibrant voice for the community — while others in the industry struggled — they were able to expand operations and add four new Acorn papers to serve the western Los Angeles and eastern Ventura County region. The total circulation is nearly 150,000.

The Acorn weekly is the people’s paper, as demonstrated by avid reader enthusiasm for regular features such as Squirrel of the Month (the squirrel is The Acorn mascot) and Take Your Acorn on Vacation photo submissions. An annual Fiction in a Nutshell contest encourages young readers to submit their best 100-word works of fiction and receive prizes and recognition.

In this newsroom, community comes first, and the story about a creative Eagle Scout project is just as important as the reporting on a city council meeting as it heads into the midnight hour. The Acorn takes a hard look at local politics, but prefers not to dwell too much on the negative.

The Acorn papers have taken numerous editorial and photography first-place finishes in the annual CNPA awards, and are frequently named by various service organizations as a business that matters.

Four years ago the Rules added a quarterly lifestyle magazine, Beyond the Acorn, as a way to further engage the community.

Under the leadership of publishers Jim and Lisa Rule, the five Acorn newspapers and their 50 employees represent community journalism at its core.

California Newspaper Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame honors deceased newspaper men and women whose outstanding devotion to their responsibilities resulted in substantial contributions to their regions and to the development of California. Effective 2011, two honorees are recognized: one who has been deceased more than 10 years and one who has been deceased less than 10 years.

Paulette Brown-Hinds, publisher of the Black Voice News in Riverside, and a Cal Press director; and her sister Regina Brown-Wilson, executive director of California Black Media, inducted Charlotta Bass (1874-1969) into the Hall of Fame and presented the award to Morgan Fykes, Bass’ great-great niece.

Bass was managing editor and publisher of the California Eagle from 1912 to 1951. The Eagle, founded in 1879, was one of the longest-running African-American newspapers in the West.

As a crusading journalist and political activist, Bass was at the forefront of the civil rights struggles of her time, especially in Los Angeles, but also in California and the nation.

Bass was also a political candidate at the local, state and national level, including running for vice president of the United States on the Progressive Party ticket in 1952. She used the newspaper, along with direct-action campaigns and the political process, to challenge inequality for Blacks, workers, women and other minorities in Los Angeles.

Bass fought important battles against job and housing discrimination, police brutality and media stereotyping, and for immigrant and women’s rights and civil liberties.

She paid a price for her outspokenness. Her life was threatened on numerous occasions. The FBI placed her under surveillance on the charge that her newspaper was seditious and continued to monitor her until her death. Accused of being a Communist, in 1950, she was called before the California Legislature’s Joint Fact-Finding Committee on un-American Activities. The accusations began to take a toll on her effectiveness in the community and her ability to sell her newspaper. In 1951, she sold the paper and continued her work in the political realm.

Considering the sum of her career as she was completing her autobiography, “Forty Years” (1960), Bass wrote: “It has been a good life that I have had, though a very hard one, but I know the future will be even better. And as I think back I know that is the only kind of life: In serving one’s fellow man one serves himself best …”

Bass ran for several elected offices, including the Los Angeles City Council, Congress, and the U.S. vice presidency. She was also a founding member of California’s Independent Progressive Party, part of the national Progressive Party, a third-party movement.

Aimee Lewis Strain, a former Bay City News Service editor, inducted Richard Henry “Dick” Fogel (1923-2009) into the Hall of Fame. Fogel’s widow, Marcia, and daughter, Vicki Fogel-Mykles, accepted the award.

Fogel was a former Oakland Tribune editor who went on to co-found, in 1978, Bay City News Service, a regional wire service dedicated to local coverage of news and events throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

He also worked with other prominent journalists and news organizations across the country to craft the basic principles of what would later become the landmark Freedom of Information Act.

After graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1941, Fogel enrolled at Stanford University but deferred his college education to enlist in the U.S. Army after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, he became a news correspondent and sports editor for the army’s Stars and Stripes newspaper.

After the war, Fogel returned to Stanford, where he served as night editor for the Stanford Daily and interned as a reporter for the San Francisco News. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1947, Fogel worked as a correspondent and staff writer for United Press International in San Francisco, Honolulu, Fresno and Salt Lake City.

In 1948, Fogel moved to Oakland and joined the Oakland Tribune as a copy editor. Over the next three decades he worked his way up through the company, being promoted to night editor, city night editor, news editor, Sunday editor, assistant managing editor, managing editor and executive editor.

In the early 1960s, he successfully challenged the Kennedy Administration’s national security policy of the “right to lie to the public” during the Christmas Island H-bomb tests. In 1969, together with California Chief Justice Donald Wright, Fogel developed the concept of courtroom closed-circuit television coverage and applied it to the Sirhan B. Sirhan trial for the assassination of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

In 1978, along with his wife Marcia Schwalbe Fogel, business partner Wayne Futak and associate Joann Sutro, Fogel launched Bay City News Service, a regional wire service dedicated to local coverage of news and events throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

For 30 years in his capacity as owner and editor, Fogel mentored a new generation of aspiring reporters, instilling in them the journalistic ethical principles of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, and objectivity. Throughout his career, Fogel garnered numerous awards for excellence in journalism, including the James Madison Freedom of Information Career Achievement Award (1989), the Public Service Award for Distinguished Reporting on the Administration of Justice from the State Bar Association of California (1975), the Contra Costa Press Club Award (1970), and the Editor and Publisher Newspaper Promotion Award (1967).

Philip N. McCombs Achievement Award
Craig Harrington, publisher of The Intermountain News in Burney, and a Cal Press director, presented the Philip N. McCombs Achievement Award to Cheryl Brown, former co-publisher of the Black Voice News in Riverside. This award honors newspaper executives who are no longer fully active in the industry but who have served their communities well for an extended period and have made lasting contributions to the industry.

In 1980, Brown and her husband, Hardy, founded Brown Publishing Company to produce the weekly Black Voice News, which provided community news in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The couple, married for 50-plus years, has been recognized as the only living publishers to be included in the 175th anniversary of the Black Press of America. They have four children, nine grandchildren and six great granddaughters. The Black Voice News’ publisher is now their daughter, Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds. Other family members are part of its online and print operations.

Cheryl Brown was a state assemblywoman from 2012-2016, representing California’s 47th District in San Bernardino County. Prior to election to the legislature, Brown worked as a planner for the San Bernardino County Planning Department. She served on the San Bernardino County and City Planning Commissions for 17 years. Her achievements include authoring the county’s first mining ordinance, re-writing the Zoning Code, saving the historic Bloomington Garage and directing Auto Club Speedway through the environmental review process. During her tenure as a commissioner, she was elected president of the California County Planning Commissioners Association.

She has worked with such groups as the Inland Empire Urban League, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Kiwanis, Lions, Arrowhead United Way, YWCA, San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council and her church, the San Bernardino St. Paul A.M.E., where she has served as a trustee; founded the Golden Gleaners senior citizen group and was the Young People Department (YPD) Regional leader. Prior to being elected to the Assembly, she served as the president of the San Bernardino NAACP. Brown also spearheaded local events including Take a Cop to Lunch, Bill Pickett Rodeo and the Footsteps to Freedom Underground Railroad Field Study Program.

Brown has been recognized by countless local, state and national organizations for her work on behalf of the community in various capacities as an elected official and community volunteer. She continues on that path as the California State Commissioner on Aging.

Mark Twain Award for Journalistic Excellence in California
Established in 2010 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the death of Mark Twain, this Cal Press award goes posthumously to journalists (editors, writers, cartoonists) whose journalistic work – either regional or statewide in nature – challenges the status quo.

The 2017 Mark Twain honoree is Ben H. Bagdikian. Tom Goldstein, former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, presented the award, which was accepted by Allen Matthews, a Cal Press director, on behalf of the family.

During a career that covered more than 70 years, Bagdikian served in nearly every capacity in journalism, from foreign correspondent to newspaper executive, educator and media critic.

Bagdikian had a major role in the publication of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret series of documents that outlined America’s strategy and involvement in the war in Vietnam. The publication of the papers, which Bagdikian obtained from Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department official, created a sensation and helped turn public opinion against the war.

Earlier in his career, Bagdikian shared a Pulitzer Prize with others on the Providence Journal staff for coverage of a bank robbery and police chase. Bagdikian was the author of six books, including “The Media Monopoly,” and served as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley. He earned a Peabody Award for his research and commentary in broadcasting, a citation of merit as “journalism’s most perceptive critic” from the American Society of Journalism School Administrators, and other honors, including the Berkeley Citation, UC Berkeley’s equivalent of an honorary degree.


The First Amendment Coalition Free Speech & Open Government Award
David Snyder, FAC’s executive director, presented this award to Jennifer Lynch and Dave Maass of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Peter Bibring of the American Civil Liberties Union-Southern California (ACLU). They were honored for their joint work to bring accountability and transparency to the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by police and other entities. The award, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, recognizes an individual or institution whose actions deserve public honor and emulation for their advancement of government transparency and exemplary work in the arena of open government.

The ACLU-EFF team’s work included advocacy in California courts, the state legislature and a broad-ranging public advocacy campaign to bring visibility to the use of ALPRs, high-speed cameras used by police officers to scan passing vehicles. The cameras collect license plate numbers as well as other information, sometimes capturing images of vehicle occupants.

In August, EFF and the ACLU secured an important victory in the California Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department could not justify withholding records collected by ALPRs by relying on the so-called “investigative records” exemption to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The ruling set an important precedent at a time when police are increasingly using dragnet-style technologies to surveil the public.

Together, LAPD and LACSD reportedly collect, on average, three million license-plate scans every week and, in total, maintain a database of roughly half a billion records. These records can be used to trace a person’s past movements, determine patterns of behavior, and reveal intimate details such as where individuals work or who they live and associate with.

The EFF-ACLU team also worked in the California Legislature, helping to draft and get passed a bill that requires all agencies or individuals that use ALPRs to publicly post privacy and usage policies. They also created a Google map of jurisdictions that use the cameras. In addition, the team recently filed CPRA requests to state agencies for records related to data sharing and plan to publish those findings later this year.

Jack Bates Award for Distinguished Service to the Cal Press
Nikki Moore, legal counsel at CNPA Services Inc., presented this award to Marcia Parker, COO and publisher of CALmatters. Named after its first recipient, CNPA’s legendary former executive director, the award goes to a representative who exhibits effective leadership in addressing newspaper challenges. Accepting for Parker, who could not attend, was Vicki Haddock, CALmatters’ managing editor.

The CALmatters newsroom describes Parker as super-hardworking. She engenders loyalty in those she works with, and commits significant time mentoring others in the industry. As publisher of CALmatters, Parker is charged with the challenging and unique task of leading a nonprofit news organization, drawing an audience to a new name and ensuring the organization’s financial success.

Parker is a leading force in pushing CALmatters’ unique model forward. One of her first acts as publisher was to get CALmatters onto the Apple News app, significantly increasing its visibility online. Parker draws from her knowledge and connections with the tech world to drive the organization’s strategy forward. At the same time, CALmatters is providing superbly reported and exclusive journalism to newspapers and broadcasters across the state, free of charge.

Before joining CALmatters, Marcia was executive director for Content for Penton Technology, and she has consulted on content strategy for digital media companies and startups across Silicon Valley. She also serves as an adjunct lecturer on innovation at Northwestern University’s San Francisco campus, and she is an active member of the Online News Association.

A veteran digital journalist, Parker has held leadership roles for organizations including the AOL-owned network Patch. She also served as a launch director for the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch investigative unit. Parker taught at and served for several years as assistant dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and for nearly a decade served on the adjunct faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has a master’s degree from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy.

ABOUT CAL PRESS: The California Press Foundation carries on the traditions of the California Press Association, one of the earliest press associations in the country. Cal Press was founded in 1878 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. In 1925 and 1926, Cal Press worked with the Southern California Editorial Association to form a trade organization: the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

Cal Press’ mission is to be the guardian of the history and traditions of California journalism, to recognize and honor contemporary achievements, to assure the future of California journalism through encouragement of education and to provide a social and educational forum for its members.
To learn more and to join, please visit

Joe Wirt
CNPA Services Inc.
Director of Affiliare Relations


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