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California Press Foundation names Dean Eckenroth the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of Year

NanTucker McEvoy, Jerene Appleby Harnish, Morrie Turner, Bruce Brugmann also honored

California Press Foundation

San Francisco,California (PR MediaRelease) December 2, 2016

For additional information and honoree photos,
CONTACT: Joe Wirt,; (916) 288-6021


The California Press Foundation has named Dean Eckenroth, president of Eagle Newspapers in Coronado, the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year. Pluria Marshall Jr., a Cal Press director, presented the award to Eckenroth during Cal Press’ 139th Annual Winter Meeting, held Dec. 1-2 at the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel in San Francisco.

Eckenroth is the 52nd 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.

Eckenroth’s newspaper career spans more than five decades. He has been the president and owner of Eagle Newspapers since 1990, publishing the Coronado Eagle & Journal, Imperial Beach and South County Eagle & Times, CORONADO Magazine and several websites. Eckenroth worked previously for Worrell Enterprises and Harte-Hanks Communications, managing newspaper operations including the Coronado Journal, Coronado Visitor Magazine, Publisher’s Offset, The Star-News, Imperial Beach Reminder and Pacific Beach Sentinel.

Eckenroth has been a member of the California Newspaper Publishers Association Board of Directors for more than 18 years and is its immediate past-president. He also is a director and current treasurer of the non-profit California Press Foundation, which provides internships and other journalism education activities through tax-deductible contributions; is past chairman of the Board of CNPA Services, Inc. and a member of the CNPA executive and governance committees, and chair of the real estate committee. He has just begun as chairman of the CNPA Marketing Committee. He is currently treasurer of the Coronado Yacht Club, a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow.

Eckenroth has previously been recognized by the Suburban Newspaper Association for the Best Advertising Campaign in America and CNPA for newspaper design excellence.

He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, holds a Masters of Business Administration Degree, emphasis in Financial Management, and is an Air Force veteran.

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.

John Diaz, opinion editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, inducted Nan Tucker McEvoy (1919-2015) into the Hall of Fame and accepted the award on behalf of the family.

McEvoy was a newspaper heiress who headed the parent company of the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1980s and 1990s. Her grandfather, M.H. de Young, founded The Chronicle with his brother in 1865.

In 1981, McEvoy became chairwoman of the parent company of The Chronicle, which was still controlled by her family. She moved from Washington to San Francisco in 1989 to manage the media business, which included the newspaper, a book publishing company, television stations and other holdings.

She chaired the company until 1995, when a bylaw change required members of the board to retire at 73; she was 75 and was immediately forced out of her job as head of the company

Since the 1990s, McEvoy had presided over the McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma, where she became one of the country’s foremost producers of premium olive oil.

Becky Clark, a Cal Press director, inducted Jerene Appleby Harnish (1893-1980) into the Hall of Fame. Harnish’s great-grandson Christopher Appleby accepted the award.

Harnish guided The Daily Report in Ontario through circulation growth from 4,000 to 28,000, and collected numerous editorial and advertising citations and awards.

Under her leadership, the newspaper editorially spearheaded the drive for local membership in the Metropolitan Water District, pushed for industrial expansion, freeway construction and Ontario International Airport development and campaigned for civil service status for county employees.

After selling The Daily Report to the Progress Bulletin Co., in 1965, Harnish continued in publishing as chairman of the board of Times-Advocate Inc., owner of the daily newspaper in Escondido, and as chairman of the Victor Valley Publishing Co., which operated the Victor Press in Victorville.

Philip N. McCombs Achievement Award
Rowland “Reb” Rebele, former publisher of newspapers in Paradise, Chula Vista and Coalinga, presented the Philip N. McCombs Achievement Award to Bruce B. Brugmann, former co-owner and -publisher of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. 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.

Brugmann and his wife Jean Dibble founded The Bay Guardian in 1966 and sold it in 2012. He was a founder of the California First Amendment Coalition (now First Amendment Coalition) and Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (now Association of Alternative Newsmedia).

Brugmann continues to support — and sometimes rail against — issues related to government transparency and corporate unfairness.

He received Cal Press’ Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year Award in 1988 and is a former Cal Press president.

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.

Jack Ohman, editorial cartoonist at The Sacramento Bee, presented the Mark Twain Award to the family of Morris “Morrie” Turner, the first African-American to have a syndicated comic strip: the ethnically diverse “Wee Pals.”

Turner, an Oakland native, created “Wee Pals” in 1965, and The Oakland Tribune was one of the first major newspapers to run it.

“Morrie was a pioneer with his ‘rainbow power’ message many decades before it became a household name,” said Rick Newcombe, founder of Creators, syndicate for “Wee Pals.”

The youngest of four children, Turner began drawing cartoons in the fifth grade, according to his biography at After attending McClymonds High in Oakland and graduating from Berkeley High, he served in World War II, where he was a mechanic for the famed Tuskegee Airmen and drew comic strips for military newspapers.

Upon his return to the Bay Area, Turner juggled a job as a clerk for the Oakland Police Department while freelancing cartoons to newspapers and magazines locally and in Chicago.

He admired Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” and mulled creating a black Charlie Brown after turning to cartooning full-time in 1964. At one point, Turner asked Schulz, who was then a friend, why he didn’t have any black kids in his comic strip, and Schulz told Turner to create his own.

At the time of Turner’s death at age 90, “Wee Pals” appeared in 40 newspapers and about a dozen websites.

The First Amendment Coalition Free Speech & Open Government Award
Attorney Karl Olson presented this award to Thomas Peele of the Bay Area News Group and to Caroline Titus of the Ferndale Enterprise. 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.

Investigative reporter Peele was honored for filing hundreds of public records requests this year to build a database of the 944 weapons lost by or stolen from California police officers in the last six years. In his work, Peele had to overcome frequent official resistance to disclosure.

Titus, editor and publisher of the weekly Ferndale Enterprise, has carried on an 18-month battle with the Humboldt County Fair Association over disclosure of financial records. Even before the records dispute, her husband Stuart, the association’s general manager, faced mounting pressure from the Fair Board to suppress the Enterprise’s coverage – a demand he refused, costing him his job in 2012. The result: The couple filed a successful First Amendment and wrongful termination suit; and the newspaper won access to the records, only to have the Fair Association restrict access again. Now they’re back in court, fighting on for access. And The Enterprise continues its reporting on the monthly Humboldt County Fair Association board meetings.

Jack Bates Award for Distinguished Service to the Cal Press
Thomas W. Newton, Cal Press president, presented this award to Peter Scheer, longtime executive director of the First Amendment Coalition. Named after its first recipient and CNPA’s legendary former executive director, the award represents effective leadership in addressing newspaper challenges.

Scheer is credited with maintaining the defense of “the people’s right to know” while taking the First Amendment Coalition in new directions with high-profile initiatives. This has included an aggressive campaign to make sure the courts and lawmakers interpret the Brown Act, the California Public Records Act and Prop. 59 broadly in favor of government transparency.


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 Affiliate Relations


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