Bill Draayer Award 1990

Given in recognition of outstanding personal contributions to the progress and development of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association.


Lawrence Mazza

Through more than a decade Lawrence Mazza devoted unselfish service to the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association during an era of new development and new decisions unprecedented in the Association's history. He served as a member of several committees and as a director prior to his election as president for 1978-79.

In the year of his presidency AWNA first entered the 'pit bull' field of advertising and promotion to fight for its rightful share of national advertising and recognition as a viable individual print medium.

It was the year of AWNA's first face-to-face meetings with regional and national advertising agencies and corporate advertising managers in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto – its first advertising campaigns in national and regional magazines and newspapers – the introduction of AWNA Days in Calgary and Edmonton when, for the first time, weekly newspaper publishers met, on a personal basis, representatives of national advertising agencies, managers and space buyers to discuss the merits of advertising in weekly newspaper media.

It was the year of rebirth of the Fire Prevention Week promotion in Alberta and the year AWNA took its first financial responsibility as third sponsor of Alberta's Junior Citizen recognition project.

Following his devoted service to AWNA, in 1981 Lawrence Mazza accepted further responsibility as an Alberta director of CCNA, the national organization which he finally headed as president in 1985-86.


Preamble to the 1990 Bill Draayer Award to Lawrence Mazza

More than 2,000 years ago a famous Roman poet was quoted as having said, "A harpist is laughed at who always plays in the same string." Since the inception of the Bill Draayer Award, at each presentation, I've been playing on a single string – that of devotion, dedication and service to this Association by publisher members.

In justification for that "same string" approach, I would say to that Roman poet (if he were alive today) that I am no musician by any stretch of the imagination! Yes! I enjoy music, but I happen to be a mere listener! I've attended symphony concerts enough to know when the concertmaster comes to the stage he is greeted by applause – even though we know he will proceed to play one note on one string of his violin! His objective?... to bring the entire orchestra in tune for the work ahead!

I hope you will be kind enough to consider my repeated "one string theme" an attempt to persuade the members of AWNA to continue to play in harmony the orchestrations that have meant such success in the past. We cannot forget, of course, that the winds of change have been blowing!

Where AWNA once had only 40 or 50 independent publishers with a will to survive and an objective (or a dream, perhaps) to be recognized as a viable, profitable advertising medium as well as an essential community service.

Tell me of any other multimillion dollar organization that has reached such a pinnacle of success, solely through the business acumen of its ever-changing executive members who literally work for nothing but expenses to attend meetings – and continue to do so today! That's the caliber of membership that MUST continue! That's one reason why it was decided to recognize individual effort with this award!

That's why Lawrence Mazza of the Rocky Mountain House Mountaineer is the 1990 selection as winner!

If Lawrence will join me at the podium it will be my pleasure to share with you his citation that accompanies the presentation of the award.

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