This week marks the culmination of our celebration of bestowing the 50th First Citizen Award. Our recipients for 2019, Terry and Paula Friedman, will be honored Thursday, Jan. 9 at the First Citizen Award reception.

All are welcome at this free event, especially the friends, family and colleagues of the Friedmans and the many people whose lives have been touched by them.

The reception will from be 5 to 7 p.m. at Diamond Jo Casino’s Harbor Room and features a chance to congratulate the recipients and a short program as well as hors d’oeuvres.

In the event of bad weather, the event will be moved to Tuesday, Jan. 14, so check Thursday if the weather looks questionable.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can watch the whole thing along with interviews with some friends and colleagues of the Friedmans live on starting at 5:40 p.m.

The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque has been a great partner with the TH in commemorating this 50th anniversary of the award. While the announcement of this year’s recipients came as a surprise to our friends at the foundation, there’s nice symmetry that Terry Friedman happens to be on the Community Foundation board. We thank them for once again sponsoring the live broadcast.

TH newsroom promotions

I was pleased to announce recently the promotion of three TH newsroom employees.

  • Dustin Kass, local content editor the past six years, has been named managing editor. He will continue to focus on local content in both print and digital platforms while overseeing the day-to-day operations of the news, features and photo departments. A Dubuque native, Dustin attended Iowa State University and worked for newspapers in Minnesota, Kansas and Indiana before returning to his hometown in 2012.
  • Monty Gilles has been named centralized layout team manager. He’ll oversee a team of layout specialists who will handle page design and production of multiple weekly newspapers owned by Woodward Communications, including the Dyersville Commericial, the Cascade Pioneer and the Manchester Press. The team will also handle TH page production in the coming months. A newsroom employee since 1995, Monty has served as news editor since 1998.
  • Tim O’Neill has been named assistant sports editor and will work with Sports Editor Jim Leitner in directing and managing activities of the sports department and oversee the part-time sports staff.

I’m happy to see all three of these guys growing in their roles here at the TH.

Newseum closes its doors

With the close of 2019 came the closure of a Washington, D.C., museum near to the hearts of journalists.

The Newseum drew nearly 10 million visitors over its 20-year run, offering programming and classes that educated more than 330,000 students of all ages. Millions of teachers and students accessed the Newseum’s online educational platform as well.

I visited the Newseum many times, and I am sad to see it close its doors. As many have noted, one of the challenges it faced was its admission fee (as much as $25) in a city of outstanding free museums.

When my husband and I took our kids to the Newseum on a visit to Washington, it took a bit of a pep talk before going. “A newspaper museum? No offense, Mom, but that sounds super boring.”

My kids have always believed that it’s fair to say anything as long as you preface it with “no offense.”

At any rate, they were pleasantly surprised at the cool things found at Newseum, and we all spent hours there.

I also spent time there with Ken Paulson, the Newseum president at the time, and a group of other journalists, digging into First Amendment issues and history from the sky-high roof of the building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

And it was always fun to hear from a Dubuquer who visited on a day when the TH was the front page from Iowa on display in the daily exhibit of front pages from around the country.

A salute to the Freedom Forum for the important lessons taught at the Newseum and the tribute paid to the First Amendment we hold so dear.

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