Ernest J. Schreiber and Timothy M. Williams have been awarded the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association (PNA) Benjamin Franklin Award for Excellence.
Established in 1998, this award recognizes individuals who have performed an outstanding service or accomplishment to their newspapers; to the newspaper industry in general; to their local communities; or to the PNA, that reflected positively on the newspaper industry in Pennsylvania.
Ernest J. Schreiber is being recognized for his dedication to the Lancaster New Era, Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. and the Lancaster community, along with his tireless work on behalf of open government. Schreiber began his career with the Lancaster New Era in 1974 as a reporter. In 1982 he was promoted to assistant news editor and to news editor in 1986. Schreiber became editor of the Lancaster New Era in 2000 and embarked upon a mission to make the newspaper one of the most recognized in the state.
During Schreiber’s years as editor, the Lancaster New Era staff earned more than 60 Keystone Press Awards for excellence in journalism, including five sweepstakes awards, which are given annually to the newspaper with the greatest number of Keystone awards.
As editor, Schreiber strived to see that each edition of the Lancaster New Era was informative and useful to its readers. He routinely met with local newsmakers and organizations to gain knowledge and perspective on the Lancaster community, ensuring that his newspaper remained relevant to its readers.
In addition to his work with the newspaper, Schreiber was very involved with the activities of the PNA. His passion about open government was well known and he spent countless hours reviewing and commenting on open records-related legislation. He was actively involved in the 2002 amendments to the Right to Know Law, as well as the new Law in 2008, and provided thoughtful and detailed analyses over months and years of legislative debate.
Teri Henning, President and CEO of PNA, said, “Ernie is without a doubt one of the most thoughtful, committed open government advocates that I know – and he has shown time after time that he is willing to devote the time and hard work necessary to make real change.”
Timothy M. Williams is being recognized for his commitment and contributions to the newspaper industry as the head of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. During his 22-year tenure at PNA, Williams started and oversaw the growth of Mid-Atlantic Newspaper Services (MANSI), PNA’s for-profit ad placement service. Under his leadership, MANSI grew into a business that places over $200 million in newspaper and online ad placements each year. PennSCAN, MANSI’s statewide classified ad network; Pennsylvania NewsLink, a statewide press release service; and The Affordable 2x2 Network were all started under his direction as well.
Another of Williams’ lasting legacies is PNA’s headquarters at 3899 North Front Street in Harrisburg. The three-story, 24,068 square foot building was completed in November 1998 and formal dedication ceremonies took place on May 21, 1999. The wording of the First Amendment wraps around the building, signifying the purpose of the PNA. Williams was involved in every detail of the building plans and development.
Williams announced his retirement at the end of 2010, but continues on at the Association, providing consulting and other services to the three companies and their boards of directors. Williams served as executive director of the Arizona Newspaper Association for three years before coming to PNA in early 1989. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and owned and operated several weekly newspaper properties in Missouri.
In his nomination letter, William R. Lynett, chairman of PNA, wrote that Williams "touched the lives - and improved the businesses - of newspaper owners, publishers and many others in Pennsylvania and across the country."
The PNA Benjamin Franklin Award for Excellence will be presented on Nov. 10, 2011, during the PNA Annual Convention held at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa.
The PNA, founded in 1925, is the nonprofit trade association for print and online media in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to advance the interests of Pennsylvania newspapers, promote the importance of a free and independent press and provide a forum for critical and innovative thinking about the future of journalism and the newspaper industry. It has more than 300 newspaper and media members, including daily, weekly, and college newspapers and online publications.