Bill Draayer Award 2007

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

Frank McTighe

Mary Jane Harper, past recipient of the Bill Draayer Award, presents Frank McTighe, the 2007 Recipient of the prestigious Bill Draayer Award.

In 1983 during the AWNA’s annual convention, long-time member of the association and everyone’s favourite newspaperman, Mr. Howie Bowes, became the first recipient of the Bill Draayer Award.

Thus began a strong tradition of honouring people who have worked tirelessly for the betterment of the association.

The intent of the award is to recognize a member who has served the AWNA without thought of recognition or reward.

The selection committee comprised of past Bill Draayer Award recipients including myself, Cal Dallas, former publisher of the Red Deer Express and 2007 AWNA president Scott Fitzpatrick, reviewed at length, the criteria used to choose a worthy recipient.

Amongst the criteria to be used in our selection process was the following:

  • Innovative development of a service policy that has proven beneficial to AWNA and its individual members.
  • Individual diligence in pursuit of a successful objective that enhances efficiency, profitability or public image of weekly newspapers in general and in AWNA in particular.
  • A member who has a record of reliability in performance of volunteer or assigned Association projects vital to its present or future success.

Now that you have heard some of the criteria and the background to the Bill Draayer Award you will realize why President Scott Fitzpatrick said during our meeting, “This describes exactly what Frank McTighe has done for our association. This award has Frank’s name on it.”

So I am very proud to name Mr. Frank McTighe as the 2007 recipient of the Bill Draayer Award.

Frank’s work with the AWNA began in 1992 when he was first elected to the Board of Directors serving as corporate secretary for five years. I might note those were the days when the corporate secretary took all minutes at the board of directors meetings.

During his tenure on the board, Frank served as chair of a number of committees including the Better Newspapers Competition, Technology and Membership.

In 1997-98 he took the helm of the association serving as president. Following his term on the board he went on to become your representative to the Alberta Press Council. After a 20-plus year career in the community newspaper industry, having worked as publisher, editor and reporter for a number of publications including The Taber Times, The Vauxhall Advance, Coaldale Sunny South News, High River Times, The Vulcan Advocate and The Nanton News, of which he was owner and publisher from 1989-95, Frank returned to the roots of his journalism career, accepting a position as journalism instructor at SAIT. He taught news writing, copy editing, and Canadian government to first and second year students. In addition he assisted with practicum placement of students.

During his tenure as a full-time and part-time instructor at SAIT Frank served as an ambassador to the community newspaper industry, promoting to students the rewards of working for a community newspaper. Many of his students would become employees of AWNA member newspapers.

In 2001 Frank and his wife Emily returned to the community newspaper industry as proud owners of Alberta’s oldest newspaper, The Macleod Gazette. Frank serves as the newspaper’s publisher and editor. And being the former owner of an independent community newspaper, I might add that Frank wears many hats and fills many jobs, including news reporter, sports reporter, photographer, production, sales, part-time receptionist and of course, office janitor.

Despite all the time and dedication required to own and operate a successful independent community newspaper, in 2004 Frank rose to the challenge when I asked him to seek election as your CCNA director, a position he has held to this time. With his return to the board of directors, Frank has continued to work for the betterment of your association through his work at the local, provincial and national levels, serving on a number of committees including chairman of CCNA’s Verified Circulation committee and as a member of CCNA’s Better Newspapers Competition committee.

Frank has taken time out of his busy schedule to judge numerous newspaper competitions at the national, provincial and international level.

"His work as chair of the AWNA Industry Education committee has seen the association’s dream of distance learning for a vital segment of our industry become a reality with the launch in 2007 of “AWNA Ad Sales 101,” an online newspaper advertising sales training program.

Through the Industry Education Committee, Frank is also working on putting in place a Speaker’s Bureau of community newspaper leaders who will act as ambassadors, speaking to groups and organizations about roles as editors, reporters photo journalists and the community newspaper in general. In addition to his hard work on this initiative, Frank has also chaired the AWNA AWSOM Archive committee and the Nominating committee, and served as a member of the AWNA Symposium committee and History Book Project committee.

When Frank takes on a task, I can rely upon him to get the work done,” says AWNA President Scott Fitzpatrick. “Frank has been our rock this past year.”

Frank has gone about his work for your association on the provincial and national level with steadfast dedication, without thought of personal reward and with considerable sacrifice of personal time away from his family and his business.

In addition to his work for the association and his business, Frank also serves on a number of local committees including the Willow Creek Community Adult Learning Society, the Fort Macleod Police College Liaison Committee, Fort Macleod Health Care Foundation and Fort Macleod Project Read Literacy Board.

I cannot think of anyone more humble about his work for this association or more deserving of this award. It is my pleasure to present to you the 2007 recipient of the Bill Draayer Award, Mr. Frank McTighe.

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