Four of Montana's best-ever newspaper practitioners will be recognized with the Montana Newspaper Association's highest honors June 10 during the 119th Annual MNA Convention at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls.
Former Hardin Herald-Tribune publisher Helen M. Peterson, the first woman to serve as president of the MNA, ill be inducted into the Montana Newspaper Hall of Fame during the opening session of the Great Falls convention to be held at the Meadow Lark Country Club.
The 2004 designees as Master Editor/Publishers are retired Great Falls Tribune managing editor Terry Dwyer and Marc and Ginny Wilson, former publishers of the Bigfork Eagle and founders of the International News Network.
Peterson, who died Jan. 6, 1997, at 82, was honored as a Master Editor/ Publisher in 1995. She and her husband, Hollis M. Johnson, bought the Hardin newspaper in 1938 and ran it as a team until his death in 1947. Peterson leased the newspaper from 1949 until 1959, when she resumed management as editor and publisher, positions she held until she retired in 1973. She later served 12 years on the Montana State Tax Appeal Board.
Peterson was the first woman to be a member of the MNA board and served as president of the association in 1966-67.
Dwyer won national awards for reporting on local government before being named city editor at the Tribune before being promoted to the top news spot. He served as ME until his retirement in 1988.
He served a director of the MNA in the 1980s and was a leader in the fight for open meetings and records and he was responsible for several cases in which the Tribune sued to enforce those statutes.
He is the author of two books of interest to Montana journalists and Great Plains historians, despite his suffering from macular degeneration.
Marc and Ginny Wilson were prominent in their publishing of the Bigfork Eagle for 13 years before selling the award-winning weekly newspaper to Lee Enterprises in April, 1997.
While publishing and editing their own newspaper, the Wilsons founded INN and made its technological innovations and advances available to MNA members, placing Montana newspapers on the cutting edge of Internet technology and information sharing.
Marc Wilson has conducted numerous seminars for MNA members to help his fellow Montana journalists learn
the latest technologies of the computer revolution.
He also served for longer than any other person as president of the Montana Newspaper Advertising Service.
Both Marc and Ginny had extensive news backgrounds before coming to Montana to operate the Bigfork Eagle.
Marc was with the Associated Press and Ginny was a copy editor in Minneapolis. Their son, Paul, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is the business editor of the Charleston, W. Va., Gazette.