Ozaukee Press publisher Bill Schanen III has been named winner of the Eugene Cervi Award for excellence in weekly newspaper journalism.
The award was presented by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE) Saturday in recognition of Schanen’s “career of outstanding public service through community journalism and for adhering to the highest standards of the craft with a deep reverence for the English language.”
The society is an organization of weekly newspaper editors and publishers from across the U.S., as well as Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
The Cervi Award presentation is the highlight of the ISWNE’s annual conference, which was held this year at St. Norbert College in Green Bay.
The award’s namesake, Eugene Cervi, was the crusading editor of the Rocky Mountain Journal in Denver. On his death in 1970, the New York Times described him as “one of the most outspoken voices in American journalism.” Cervi is remembered as a champion of aggressive reporting of government at the grass roots level and strong editorial writing.
Schanen has been publisher of the Press since 1971, when he succeeded his father, who died at the height of an advertiser boycott of the newspaper led by a wealthy political extremist from Grafton.
Introducing Schanen at the award presentation, Bill Haupt, a past ISWNE president, said, “Bill Schanen III was christened as a publisher in a political and economic cauldron that attracted national attention. Fortunately for journalism and the residents of Port Washington and Ozaukee County, he would not be intimidated by political thuggery. The paper survived, the advertisers ultimately returned, and Bill’s commitment to a free press was obvious.”
He added, “Bill’s principled integrity as a person and a publisher is matched by his excellence as a journalist. The Ozaukee Press is consistently judged to be one of the finest weekly newspapers in the state, and Bill is arguably Wisconsin’s finest weekly editorial writer.”
Haupt said the award should also be considered a tribute to “the Schanen family’s multi-generational record of service.” Ozaukee Press was founded by Schanen’s parents, William and Marie Schanen. Bill Schanen IV and Erin Schanen, son and daughter of Bill III and his wife Jean, are editors in the family publishing business, Bill as editor of the Press, Erin as executive editor of SAILING Magazine.