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California Press Foundation names Erik Cushman the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year

Frank McCulloch, James Joseph Ayers, David Lamb, Gerald Bean, Michelle Stephens also honored

Cal Press

San Francisco,California (PR MediaRelease) December 7, 2018

The California Press Foundation has named Erik Cushman, publisher of the Monterey County Weekly, the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year. Bill Johnson, publisher of Palo Alto Weekly, presented the award to Cushman during Cal Press’ 141st Annual Winter Meeting, held Dec. 6-7 at the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel in San Francisco.

Cushman is the 54th 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.

Cushman has been publisher of the Monterey County Weekly since 2001, when it was titled Coast Weekly. He joined the company as vice president and director of operations in 1999 after serving as general manager of the Colorado Springs Independent. Previously, he had overseen business operations of the Missoula Independent, which he had co-founded in 1991 as a student at the University of Montana.

With Cushman’s assistance and influence, The Weekly’s veteran news staff has shone with its comprehensive coverage of local news, regional issues, culture and business.

The Thursday newspaper, which changed its name to Monterey County Weekly in 2004, published a 104-page issue this October to commemorate its 30th anniversary.

Cushman has had a hand in all of it. He is an enthusiastic, demanding leader who requires accountability from his staff.

His company is able to take action when needed to fulfill its public-service role. The Weekly has pursued difficult stories and engaged in legal actions that would overwhelm many editors and publishers.

During Cushman’s tenure, The Weekly’s staff has received the First Amendment Coalition Free Speech & Open Government Award (2015) and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia Free Speech Award (2016), along with the coveted General Excellence award in CNPA’s statewide contest in 2017. The paper has won nearly 100 local, regional, state or national editorial awards for editorial content, design and photography.

Under Cushman’s guidance, the company has formed partnerships within the community to highlight great causes and to raise money. The Monterey County Gives program has raised over $16 million since 2009 to support local non-profits.

Cushman is chair of the Monterey County Workforce Investment Board and a member of the CNPA Board of Directors.

 

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. Two honorees are recognized: one who has been deceased more than 10 years and one who has been deceased less than 10 years.

Becky Clark, chair of the Hall of Fame and a Cal Press director, inducted James Joseph Ayers and presented the proclamation to Kim Golding, a descendant.

Ayers (1830-1897) was a restless printer-newspaperman-miner whose adventures saw him editing or publishing newspapers in Calaveras County, San Francisco, Virginia City, San Luis Obispo, Hawaii and Los Angeles.

Ayers later served in the 1878 State Constitutional Convention and was active in the campaign of Gen. George Stoneman for governor. That Convention framed the foundation of the laws of California, where Ayers helped to ensure that both men and women could attend the University of California.

Clark also inducted Frank McCulloch (1920-2018) into the Hall of Fame, presenting the proclamation to his daughter, Dee Dee Parman.

McCulloch was a former reporter and editor at newspapers in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Reno, and a heralded war correspondent for Time magazine.

He was a formidable editor and a beloved mentor whose career impacted countless journalists and publishers.

After he retired in 1985 as McClatchy’s executive editor, he joined the San Francisco Examiner as managing editor. While he was there, Cal Press named him the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year.

McCulloch received the Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Award in 1983. In 2009, The Center for Investigative Reporting honored McCulloch with a Founders Muckraker Award, citing “his passion for investigative reporting” by noting he “was named in seven libel suits – all unsuccessful – during his McClatchy years that helped establish protections from which journalists still benefit today.”

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 Gerald A. “Jerry” Bean, chairman of Century Group Newspapers. 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 2007, Bean was elected to the Redlands City Council where he served for five years, including one year as mayor pro tem.

This was a difficult time for the city as the recession deeply cut into city revenues. They managed to maintain most services while cutting the city staff by 20 percent. It should be noted that while he lives in Redlands, Bean did not have a newspaper in Redlands.

In 2010, Bean retired from day-to-day management of Century Group Newspapers, the company he founded in 1987. He retains ownership of the company today as chairman while CNPA board member Toebe Bush is president and runs the company. They publish five community weekly newspapers and one semimonthly newspaper having a circulation of about 70,000 copies in San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

Since retiring, Bean has served for six years as a board member and two years as president of Family Service Association of Redlands, which provides food, clothing, housing and other services to needy and underserved residents of Redlands and surrounding communities. During his term as president, he founded the Redlands Hunger Walk, which raises money every year to help alleviate hunger in its service area.

Bean also co-founded and was the first president of the Redlands Festival of Arts, a juried art show that each year since 2013 attracts more than 100 artists from throughout the West and is attended by 7,000 art patrons. Money raised is used to support youth art education in the area.

With an interest in classical music, Bean has been a board member and is current board chairman of the Redlands Symphony Association, a professional orchestra presenting a six-concert season and two special programs reaching more than 6,000 elementary school students each year.

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 2018 Mark Twain honoree is David Lamb (1920-2016). Becky Clark presented the award to Sandy Northrop, Lamb’s widow.

Lamb was a longtime Los Angeles Times foreign and national correspondent who enjoyed the nomadic life, absorbed what he witnessed, made “friends not sources,” as one editor put it, and wrote masterfully – even poetically – about people and events in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, The Times’ obituary said.

“You could send him to a country in turmoil and get great copy,” recalled his former boss, Alvin Shuster, foreign editor of The Times from 1983 to 1995. “And then you could send him to Australia, where nothing was happening, and get great copy.”

As a reporter for United Press International, Lamb followed U.S. combat troops into battle in Vietnam in the late 1960s, when fighting was especially fierce.

Lamb proudly, and probably accurately, claimed credit for dubbing an otherwise anonymous killing ground “Hamburger Hill,” a name that U.S. troops adored and the Pentagon hated when it hit the headlines in 1969.

Lamb later explained that he had asked a soldier from the 101st Airborne Division if troops had a name for the heavily fortified mountain they were assaulting other than what the Army called it: Hill 937.

“I was hoping he would come up with a punchy, descriptive label that I could use in that day’s dispatch,” Lamb wrote. “Something like Pork Chop Hill from the Korean War.

“‘I don’t know what anyone else is calling it,’ [the soldier] said, ‘but with all this chopped up red meat, it reminds me of a hamburger.’”

“That night I took journalistic liberty and wrote, ‘The battle that GIs are calling Hamburger Hill…’” Lamb admitted.

 

The First Amendment Coalition Free Speech & Open Government Award

This award went to the staff of the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica for its extensive use of public records to increase transparency around political appointees at the highest levels of government. David Snyder, FAC’s executive director, presented the award to Claire Perlman, senior research fellow at ProPublica. 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.

When President Donald Trump took office in 2017, the White House said publicly it was deploying 520 political appointees throughout the government but refused to give details. In response, ProPublica launched an enormous fact-finding mission that involved filing more than 200 Freedom of Information Act and Form 201 ethics requests to every federal agency to collect names, titles, roles and offices of hundreds of political appointees.

The work culminated in the publication of several in-depth stories and databases. That includes the Trump Town dataset, the first authoritative searchable database of 2,724 political appointees, including Trump’s cabinet, White House staffers, senior government officials within the government, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. Many, if not most, of these appointees would have otherwise slipped below the radar as they were not subject to Senate confirmation or review.

 

Jack Bates Award for Distinguished Service to the Cal Press

Jim Ewert, general counsel at CNPA Services Inc., presented this award to Michelle Stephens, legal advertising manager at Daily Journal Corp. and the California Newspaper Service Bureau. The award was established in December 2007 in appreciation of effective leadership in addressing newspaper challenges and assisting journalism education, demonstrating that the best leadership for the newspapers of the future comes from those who understand and appreciate how to take the best of the past and invest it into the future.

Stephens oversees the legal advertising operations of ad scheduling, ad placement, coordination with newspapers and billing to advertisers. Her responsibilities include hiring, training, establishing and implementing procedures, knowledge of legal publication requirements and newspaper adjudication requirements, maintaining the newspaper database, knowledge of customer requirements, customer service and sales support.

She started working at California Newspaper Service Bureau after high school, processing probate notices and eventually became the Legal Advertising Operations manager; she also manages Human Resources.

 

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 cal-press.org.

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 cal-press.org.

Joe Wirt
CNPA Services Inc.
Director of Affiliate Relations
9162886021
joe@cnpa.com

 
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