Willie Sawyers, publisher of the London, Ky., Sentinel-Echo and the Corbin Times-Tribune, assumed the presidency of the Kentucky Press Association at the group's winter convention last weekend.
"Now, more than ever, people are looking to newspapers to give them professionally produced and unbiased information that cuts through the froth generated by talking heads, spin-meisters, political operatives and the hordes of journalistic pretenders with an Internet connection," Sawyers said in prepared remarks.
"People are depending on newspapers to give them answers to their questions; to let them know what’s going on their communities; to protect them from governmental corruption; to make them laugh; and to make them cry," he said. "We continue to put speed bumps on scroll bars with compelling articles and information they can’t get anywhere else.
Sawyers cited growing the association's summer internship program as one of the goals of his year-long presidency. He took the gavel during a ceremony on Friday, Jan. 25.
Sawyers also described his long association with the group, which dates to 1985 when he and his wife, Mary, "drove for what seemed like a whole day, seeing nothing but beautiful Kentucky countryside and a whole lot of wildlife, before finally arriving at the KPA convention." They had traveled to receive what turned out to be a third-place certificate for news writing, he said.
Sawyers began his newspaper career in Corbin in 1980. He moved into management four years later, at the The Whitley Republican in Williamsburg. In 1989, he moved to London to begin a weekly newspaper, which was later purchased by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.
Sawyers has been publisher The Sentinel-Echo since 1998. A year ago, he was also named publisher of the Times-Tribune in Corbin.
Sawyers was once again an award-winner at the Kentucky Press Association's meeting last weekend. The Sentinel-Echo won 16 awards, including prizes for its coverage of a March 2012 tornado. Sawyers' awards included a first-place prize for best column, describing the night of the tornado from a reporter's perspective.