Cleveland American editor and publisher Rusty Ferguson was presented the Beachy Musselman Award during a noon luncheon Saturday at the annual convention of the Oklahoma Press Association (OPA).
Presented annually by the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation, the Beachy Musselman Award recognizes a journalist for his or her contributions to the field of printed journalism as well as to his or her community. The recipient of the award is selected by the ONF Board of Trustees.
The award, established in 1969 to recognize and encourage quality journalism in practice, education and research, is named after the late Norman Beachy Musselman, former editor and general manager of the Shawnee News-Star. Musselman also served as president of the Oklahoma Press Association in 1961.
In his acceptance remarks, Ferguson recalled life growing up in a newspaper office and the remarkable changes in the newspaper industry he has witnessed first hand — from letter press (hot lead and wood type) to offset production (typesetters and film) to the digital revolution that started with a lone little Mac.
He said he has always enjoyed leading out in his home community and using the pages of The American to bring attention to the special people and activities of Cleveland.
Ferguson said, through the past three decades, he has had some outstanding staff members. “We’ve always managed to have a quality team and I’m thankful for each one who has given their best and those who continue to do so, week after week, to provide a good newspaper for our community,” he said.
Ferguson thanked his family, who was in attendance with him, for their support through the years and mentioned the years worth of Tuesday night deadlines that kept him away from family events. “As I get older and start looking back at my life, I sometimes wonder if I made the right choices about this...or that... and missing Tuesday night events has always been one of those ‘what ifs’ for me.... but to hear my children tell their own stories of their adventures at the newspaper office or in connection with the newspaper, always seem to far outweigh the dreaded Tuesday nights - and for that, I’m thankful,” he said.