2009 Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award

Mary Jacobus honored posthumously


2009 recipient:
Mary Jacobus (presented posthumously)

The Frank W. Mayborn Award was presented posthumously to Mary Jacobus on Monday at the SNPA News Industry Summit.

The Mayborn Award – made possible by a contribution to the SNPA Foundation endowment from the Frank W.and Sue Mayborn Foundation – recognizes outstanding SNPA publishers and editors for their vision, leadership and significant contributions to the newspaper industry.

During the presentation of the Frank W. Mayborn Award to the family of Mary Jacobus, Mary and Dean's three children were each given a Frabel sculpture that read: "This sculpture, called 'Ascendency,' was chosen by the
Southern Newspaper Publishers Association to honor Mary Jacobus for her vision, leadership and contributions to the newspaper industry."

The award, presented annually by SNPA,is named for Frank W. Mayborn, the former editor and publisher of the Temple (Texas) Daily Telegram and the Killeen (Texas) Daily Herald, who served as SNPA president in 1961-62. As a committee member, committee chair and SNPA director, Mayborn provided key leadership throughout the 1950s and 1960s that formed the basis for the organization's future growth and success.
Until his death in 1987, Mayborn also served as one of the leading figures in broadcast and print media in Central Texas.

The award was announced by Carol Hudler, president and publisher of the Fort Myers News-Press and group president, U.S. community publishing division, of Gannett’s South Group.

The text of her remarks follows:

"It is my pleasure to present the Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award, an honor SNPA has bestowed for five years on the brightest lights of our industry.

"This award recognizes leaders. They are people much like Frank Mayborn, a man whose foresight and guidance helped shape SNPA into an organization that is so important to all of us today. Our past winners – Walter Hussman, Derek Dunn-Rankin, Ashton Phelps, Stewart Bryan and Lissa Walls Vahldiek – are all people of vision and leadership whose contributions to their communities and the newspaper industry made them natural choices for this award.

"That tradition continues with this year’s honoree, whose fast rise through the ranks of the newspaper industry is a powerful testament to how far the proper mix of talent, dedication, inspiration and caring can take a person.

"What makes this presentation different than in previous years, is that the one we honor was taken from us and from her friends and her family earlier this year. This is the first time that this award has been presented posthumously.

"My good friend and esteemed colleague Mary Jacobus was the president and chief operating officer of the
New York Times Regional Media Group. She passed away in February of this year, suddenly and far too soon. We miss her dearly, but we remember her and honor her today for all of the things she brought to us and to this industry.

"Mary has been described as 'brilliant, dedicated, focused and witty.' Her leadership skills were heralded at every stop of a career that took her across the country and back, from Buffalo to Long Beach and San Diego, from Colorado to Minnesota, Indiana, Massachusetts and, finally, Florida.

"She was extremely calm.She appeared unfazed in even the worst of situations. She seemed to recognize how useless whining or getting angry is in a tough situation and modeled that behavior. She cared about achievement a great deal, but was not what she used to call a 'breast beater' – someone who called attention to her own accomplishments. She kept her ego in check.

"Mary was also talented, using her strong financial acumen to help guide planning for her organizations through the turmoil of the last several years. She had strong synthesizing skills. She cut to the chase. She also had a good sense of humor and knew it was OK, even best, to laugh at some of the craziness that falls outside our control.

"What was in her control, however, was her commitment to newspapers. She served on the SNPA Board of Directors and on the board of The Associated Press. She served multiple terms on the board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations and headed one of the most important ABC task groups in recent years – the committee charged with making significant changes to the rules for counting single copy and third-party newspaper sales.

"Mary’s family set her apart from others as well. They supported her career decisions and moved with her because they all loved the challenge of new experiences and new opportunities. She relied on her family for her source of strength. They were always there for each other.Few executives have such a strong family unit.

"That family – the family that moved with her, supported her and embraced her challenges – is here today to accept the Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award as we present it in honor of Mary Jacobus."
Photo by Scott Wheeler, The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.

Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award, Jacobus
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