Mary Dodge Brewer, retired managing editor of the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper, and Ann B. McGowan, retired managing editor of the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, were inducted to the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame during a luncheon ceremony that drew 90 people to the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport on Oct. 13.
Mary Brewer joined the Register as a summer intern soon after completing her first year at the University of Maine, and began working full-time after graduating from the Katharine Gibbs school in Boston. She was named editor in 1962 and held the job until this year. Brewer was president of the Maine Press Association in 1982-83 and the Maine Journalist of the Year in 1984.
Kevin Burnham, the current editor of the Boothbay Register, gave the induction speech for his former boss, looking back on the career she started in a male-dominated profession and the 25 years he spent working with her. “She was our leader,” he said, “but one of her biggest attributes as a manager was letting us be part of the success of the paper. She never squelched our creativity or ideas.”
Ann McGowan joined the Morning Sentinel as a correspondent in 1961. Over the next 35 years, she went on to become the newspaper’s first full-time feature writer, its features editor, its editorial page editor, and finally one of the first women to be appointed managing editor of a Maine daily newspaper. She won awards from the Maine Press Association and the New England Associated Press, and “knew every job in the newsroom,” said reporter and columnist Amy Calder, who nominated McGowan for the Hall of Fame along with Sentinel colleague Darla Pickett.
In introducing McGowan as a new member of the Hall of Fame, Calder described her as a trailblazer, a mentor and “a real newspaperwoman.” Pickett, who joined Calder in inducting their former boss, said McGowan was among the best editors she has worked for in 30 years in newspapers. “By example,” she said, “Ann taught me a great deal about how journalism should be done.”
The keynote speaker for the Hall of Fame luncheon was Steve Mistler, who was named the MPA’s Journalist of the Year in 2011 for his work covering politics for the Lewiston Sun Journal. Mistler, who now covers politics for the MaineToday Media newspapers, spoke of his start and journalism, the challenges of being a reporter and the need for newspapers to do better and face up to its many challenges. Read his keynote speech here.