NNA honors Alan Cruikshank with 2013 Amos Award

Sep 14, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ—L. Alan Cruikshank was honored during the National Newspaper Association’s 2013 Annual Convention & Trade Show at the Arizona Grand Resort, where he was presented with the James O. Amos Award at the association’s business luncheon Sept. 14, in Phoenix, AZ.


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.


The Amos Award was established in 1938 in honor of General James O. Amos, a pioneer Ohio journalist and member of the National Editorial Association—now known as the National Newspaper Association (NNA).


Cruikshank, publisher of the Fountain Hills (AZ) Times, was presented with the 2013 James O. Amos Award by outgoing NNA past President Merle Baranczyk and Robert Sweeney, NNA’s 2003 president and co-publisher of Villager Newspapers.


Sweeney said, “Everyone here knows about the exemplary contributions this year’s Amos Award winner has made to NNA. I’m honored to have the opportunity to present the Amos Award to my good friend and colleague Allen Cruikshank.


“Alan is publisher of the Fountain Hills Times in Fountain Hills, AZ, and has been working in the newspaper business for more than 40 years, garnering so many awards and achievements that his office walls cannot contain them all.


“He has mentored many journalists and business people over the years, and in 2003 he was inducted into the Arizona Journalism Hall of Fame. For NNA, Alan has served two terms on the NNA board, attending numerous conventions and Washington meetings. He served on the Arizona Newspapers Association board for six years and was president in 1997.


“Alan came by his love for journalism honestly. As a young boy in Oklahoma, he often went with his father on nights and weekends when he worked at The Daily Oklahoman and later the Oklahoma City Journal. It was after the Journal closed, that the family moved to Arizona and Alan’s father went to work for The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette.”


In his nomination letter, Michael Scharnow, editor of the Fountain Hills Times, wrote: “Alan’s name is synonymous with Arizona, Fountain Hills, and the newspaper industry. A graduate of Arizona State University, Alan first went to work in the advertising and public relations field, but by 1973, he was drawn to sports journalism and launched Arizona Sports Digest. Alan has been owner and publisher of Western States Publishers since 1974, when the weekly Fountain Hills Times was first printed. Today, nearly 40 years later, the paper and media company are strong and vibrant.”


“Professionally, Alan has always been a visionary and realized how valuable it is for the newspaper industry to remain united and connected. He has always been a strong supporter of the National Newspaper Association and Arizona Newspapers Association. He was on the ANA board from 1993 to 1998. During his presidential term, Alan founded the Arizona Newspapers Foundation, which oversees the association’s better newspaper contest, and that helps fund scholarships. During Alan’s two terms on the NNA board of directors, he helped guide the association through a difficult transition. NNA named a national scholars program in Alan’s honor. Alan is a firm believer in journalism, the role of community newspapers and small business. He has served on many business advisory boards and served two terms as president of the local Chamber of Commerce.”


“A local museum was named in his honor—the L. Alan Cruikshank River of Time Museum. A newsboy statue was also erected in his honor outside the museum. He funds an annual scholarship at the local high school for a graduate who is seeking a journalism or communications degree. I can think of no other person who has contributed so much to Fountain Hills, to Arizona and to community journalism. He is truly and extraordinary man, journalist and businessman.”


Local Fountain Hills attorney (Gerald) Jerold Miles, also endorsed Alan for the Amos Award. He wrote: “His newspaper is without question the most important source for news in our community. I have been privileged to call Alan a friend for more than 20 years. We have worked together on numerous projects within the town of Fountain Hills, during that time I have been continually amazed at his incredible dedication to the improvement of our community. Along with his other friends and family, I have suffered with him through his long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He has not struggled alone, however. He has been eager to share his understanding of the disease with others similarly affected in our community. And he has let the rest of us know how important it is to find a cure.”


Bret McKeand, president of Independent Newsmedia in Phoenix, noted he and Alan share the title; former president of the Arizona Newspapers Association. He wrote: “Alan was a great inspiration to me and others who followed. His commitment and desire to boost the value of the organization to all its members throughout Arizona, as well as his ability to connect directly with members—set a new standard for the office and created a definition for the role of president.” Most important, he added, is that Alan “publishes a newspaper that is reputable and respected by the community. He understands that a good newspaper is one that puts community first and personal profits second.”


Although the Town of Fountain Hills was not incorporated until 1989, Councilmember Cassie Hansen wrote: “The first residents that moved to the fledgling community in 1972 began enjoying the ‘best in journalism’ when Alan came to town in 1974 and began chronicling the news and adventures of the first ‘pioneers’ and the developer that gradually transformed a cattle ranch into a community. But Alan was more than an observer around him, he was a doer with endless energy that he enthusiastically put into his newspaper and his community.”


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


Cruikshank will be recognized in the November issue of Publishers’ Auxiliary.


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.