Terry McCollough, recently retired publisher of the Brainerd Dispatch, received the Al McIntosh Distinguished Service to Journalism Award from the Minnesota Newspaper Association in Bloomington.
McCollough, who began his career at the Dispatch as a 14-year-old photographer's apprentice, retired as publisher on Dec. 31.
He said he was surprised to win the award and was actually caught with a "mouth full of pasta" when his name was announced Thursday at the MNA's 144th annual convention in Bloomington. He said his wife, Mary, and Tim Bogenschutz, who succeeded him as publisher, knew of the surprise and did a good job of keeping it a secret.
"They definitely put one over on me," he said. "I had no time to prepare any remarks."
He told the audience he was humbled, that he knew a lot of the people who had won the award and that he didn't think his achievements measured up to theirs. The East Gull Lake resident said to those at the MNA meeting he was appreciative of the opportunity to grow up and work in one of the greatest businesses and he hoped the young people in attendance there would have the opportunity to enjoy a similar life.
Receiving the award from his colleagues was extra special, McCollough said later Thursday.
"It was a wonderful award to receive," McCollough said. "It certainly does cap it all off."
McCollough, 66, was a fourth-generation publisher and a longtime member of the MNA's Legislative Committee. He continues to compile excerpts from old papers for the Dispatch's This Was Brainerd column and will be available for special projects at the newspaper.
The award is named after McIntosh, the publisher and editor of the Rock County Star Herald in Luverne from 1940 to 1968. He also served as president of both the MNA and the National Newspaper Association. MNA officials said nominees must be approved by the MNA board of directors and that it is not necessarily given every year.
MIKE O'ROURKE may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5860.