, Corbin, KY

January 31, 2013

Times-Tribune publisher named KPA president

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Special to The Times-Tribune

Times-Tribune Publisher Willie Sawyers was named 2013 president of the Kentucky Press Association at the KPA Winter Convention in Louisville last Friday.

Sawyers has been a KPA board member for about 10 years and served on the executive committee the last two years. He succeeds John Mura, multimedia manager of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“I am humbled and proud to serve as president of the best press association in the country, with the best executive director and best staff in the country,” Sawyers said during a speech to about 200 people during the Changing of Guard ceremony Friday afternoon.

Sawyers said KPA “has been a steadying, guiding influence to our newspapers for decades. KPA has been our constant companion, from hot type to digital delivery to whatever lies beyond. I will work hard to continue that mission.”

The press association, founded in 1869, represents 229 newspaper industry members, including all 23 Kentucky daily newspapers, 124 weekly newspapers and 10 college/university publications.

Sawyers said one of his goals for 2013 is to expand the summer internship program, which pays for college students to work in newspapers and public relations firms in the summer.

Each year, KPA places 20 college interns at a cost of $60,000, but could double the number if the money was available.

“It’s a great program that gives interns experience in the field and helps our companies deal with furloughs and vacations,” he said.  “Many of us have even hired our summer interns for full-time jobs.”

Sawyers, who also serves as publisher of The Sentinel-Echo in London, has been publisher of the Times-Tribune since last February. He began his newspaper career at the Times-Tribune in 1980 and has worked as a reporter, editor, publisher and weekly newspaper owner.

“I must say my enthusiasm for our profession is just as great today as it was when I saw my first byline in print,” he said during his speech.

Sawyers, 54, and his wife, Mary, have three children and five grandchildren.