The Hoosier State Press Association honored Henry Bird, senior vice president for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., with its Distinguished Service Award for his support of the newspaper industry.
With newspaper publishers from across the state observing, Bird received the award during an evening reception in the Quarterback Suite at Lucas Oil Stadium Feb. 7, 2013. The event was part of the HSPA & HSPA Foundation Annual Meetings and Government Conference.
Bird has demonstrated his commitment to newspapers through his leadership role at media properties in multiple states and his commitment to both HSPA and the HSPA Foundation as a board member and president, said Karen T. Braeckel, HSPA Foundation director, in her nomination letter.
The HSPA Board of Directors presents its Distinguished Service Award to an individual who has made a significant impact on the newspaper industry in Indiana through service to HSPA, who has performed outstanding service to the newspaper industry in general, and/or who has demonstrated service in the local community that reflected positively on its newspaper. Nominees must be a present or former employee of an HSPA-member newspaper or affiliated with journalism through a university, college or newspaper association and an exemplary professional who brings credit to the newspaper industry.
As a member of the HSPA and later HSPA Foundation boards, Bird served – not just held the title, said Greg Morris, president of HSPA and publisher of the Indianapolis Business Journal, to the assembled newspaper professionals and other leaders, including Gov. Mike Pence.
“He’s always there when needed – except for those times the corporate types have him flying around the country,” Morris said. “We offered to give cnhi’s senior management in Alabama some geography lessons. Massachusetts and Wisconsin are not exactly neighboring states of Indiana.”
In her nomination letter, Braeckel noted Bird’s many contributions.
He set several goals to complete during his year as president of the Foundation board in 2011-2012, Braeckel wrote.
He determined to stop the bleeding from voluntary donations; to take action with the Foundation-sponsored Indiana Civic Health Index; and to rejuvenate the sputtering golf outing – even after his term expired.
The results speak for themselves, Braeckel wrote.
The voluntary donations from member papers showed an increase over the previous two years.
HSPA Foundation has a list of civic engagement activities either completed or in the works as a result of the findings in the Civic Health Index.
And the golf outing is now known as the North v. South Challenge with teams battling for the Freedom Cannon thanks in part to his appointed golf committee: Indiana newspaper publishers Jack Pate and Randy List. Henry donated the Freedom Cannon trophy. The Foundation had the most golfers since 2008 and increased participation from 2011 by 17 golfers, or more than 50 percent.
“That’s our Henry,” Braeckel said.
Some of Bird’s other contributions include:
• Served as the auctioneer at HSPA’s 75th anniversary celebration.
• Attends Foundation events, such as the Newsroom Seminar, to support his staff.
• Supports HSPA’s Indiana Classified Advertising Network by encouraging staff to sell into it.
• Makes up for not playing golf himself by sending two teams to the Foundation’s annual fundraising outing and creates a cnhi competition within the event.
Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, reiterated Bird’s invaluable support of the Hoosier State Press Association and the HSPA Foundation.
“I cannot think of a time when we’ve asked for his help that he didn’t deliver,” Key said. “He’s also a thoughtful contributor to discussions concerning the future of newspapers and journalism.”
Founded in 1933, HSPA represents nearly all daily and weekly paid circulation newspapers in the state.