NNA honors distinguished community leader with 2015 McKinney Award

October 3, 2015

CHARLES, MO—Barbara “Barb” A. Walter of Hennessey, OK, was honored during the National Newspaper Association’s 2015 Annual Convention & Trade Show, when she was presented with the Emma C. McKinney Award at the association’s business meeting on Oct. 3, 2015.

Recognized as the highest and most dignified tributes in community journalism, the Amos and McKinney Awards are presented to a working or retired newspaperman and woman who have provided distinguished service and leadership to the community press and their community.

Walter, who became managing editor of the Hennessey Clipper in 1978, was later named co-publisher by her husband, Bill Walter.

Gloria Trotter, publisher and editor of the countywide Sun of Tecumseh, OK, wrote, “Barb has been a journalist since age 14.” Early in her career, Barb worked at the Oklahoma Press Association for 16 years, where she became editor of the Oklahoma Publisher and “got to know virtually every newspaper publisher in the state.”

Trotter continued, “She is a past president of the Oklahoma Press Association, a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, a two-term past president of the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation and winner of OPA’s Beachy Musselman Award. Barb Walter is a legend in Oklahoma journalism. She is feisty, fearless, funny and the best friend a journalist could ever hope to have.”

Congressman Frank D. Lucas wrote, “Barb’s tireless work ethic, journalistic integrity and creative gifts have won her numerous awards for outstanding contributions to newspaper reporting, writing and photography, culminating in her 2008 induction into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.”

Mark Thomas, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Press Association, wrote, “I wish Emma McKinney had met Barb Walter. They both know the importance of a fiercely independent local newspaper, love a good laugh about public officials who tried to sneak something past, and would cry together about good people who simply need a voice.”

Walter’s community leadership includes being founder and officer of Hennessey Celebration Inc., co-chair of Hennessey Wine & Chocolate Festival, board member and past president of Hennessey United, chair of the Oklahoma Safe Kids Car Seat Check in Hennessey, American Cancer Society volunteer and member of Freedom of Information in Oklahoma, among others.

Her NNA/national involvement includes rallying OPA members to attend the NNA convention, serving on the NNA Contest Committee, judging NNA contest entries for many years and supporting NNA postal efforts financially.

The McKinney Award was established in 1966 to honor Emma C. McKinney, co-publisher and editor of the Hillsboro (OR) Argus for 58 years. She was dean of Oregon newspapermen and women in 1954 and was inducted into the Oregon Journalism Hall of Fame in 1982.

Past and present Amos Award winners are listed at www.nnaweb.org.

Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association is the voice of America’s community newspapers and the largest newspaper association in the country. The nation’s community papers inform, educate and entertain nearly 150 million readers every week.

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