Fun was had by all this last weekend at the Missouri Press Association’s 151st Annual Convention and Trade show in Springfield. There were newspaper members and friends of Missouri Press from all over the state.

Registered members sign in to get their name tags and drink tickets Friday evening before the Missouri Newspaper Hall of Fame Banquet.

Before presenting the new inductees to the Newspaper Hall of Fame, Executive Director Mark Maassen honored Karen Philp, an employee of Missouri Press. Hired in July of 1998, Karen has been the bookkeeper at the Missouri Press Association for 19 years.  She will retire in December and plans to travel with her mother and spend time with her beloved grandchildren, Maassen said Friday.

Karen Philp, bookkeeper at the Missouri Press Association

After a round of applause and hugs from her friends, Karen accepted a bouquet of flowers presented by Maassen. Former President of the Missouri Press Association, Chuck Haney took the mic and began the Newspaper Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The first inductee announced was the late Arthur Aull. Recognized for his “all-the-news-is-fit-to-print” mentality, Aull was editor and publisher of the Lamar Democrat from 1900 until his death in 1948. Melody Metzger of the Lamar Democrat accepted the award on behalf of the Aull family.

The late Kenneth G. Meuser was this year’s second inductee. Interviews with Jim Sterling depicted a man that was dedicated to being a voice in his community. Meuser ran the Monett Times for 30 years, beginning in 1954. He is remembered for his calling for economic development. His son, Kenneth Meuser Jr. and daughter, Ann Meuser accepted the award on his behalf and told stories about how his actions helped save the community from becoming obsolete.

Following Meuser with an emotional speech about how no journalist he knows or ever knew would participate in fake journalism, Bob Mitchell was the next to be inducted. He connected with the audience and received a standing ovation by the time he was finished. A very passionate speaker, Mitchell’s words will likely be remembered by those he touched.

Bob Mitchell gives a memorable acceptance speech.

Last, but certainly not least, 2009 MPA President Vicki Russell was the evening’s fourth inductee. Former publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune, Russell was a newspaper publisher for 39 years and she has been president of the Missouri Press Foundation for the last three. Russell spoke on the efforts she intends to make as president of the Foundation and the importance of local newspapers in the future.

In addition to the Hall of Fame Banquet, the night held many memorable moments, while featuring the obvious dedication of MPA’s members and friends. An array of jokes by MPA President Jeff Schrag helped keep the evening cheerful and entertaining.  Other highlights of the evening included an exciting live auction with an equally exciting live auctioneer (Chase Crawford), recognition of MPA’s 2018 officers and directors and, of course, the passing of the gavel to incoming President Carol Stark.

With laughter and smiles, the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony is something MPA President, Jeff Schrag, hopes continues every year.

Next year’s 152nd Annual Convention and Trade Show, being held Sept. 13-15 in Joplin, is sure to be just as memorable. We look forward to seeing you there!