Today’s find is another article in the notebook of Briles / Rush materials given to me by the late Mildred Barby. It is a photocopy of a clipping that likely came from a Kansas newspaper.
Unknown paper / date
Ernest Briles the Honoree As Kansas Editor of Year
Ernest Austin “Ernie” Briles, publisher of the Stafford Courier, today was named Kansas Editor of the Year.
The citation was made to Briles at a luncheon in the Kansas Union at Kansas University, in connection with the William Allen White Day activities.
Briles, 77, has been a newsman in Stafford County for 54 years since buying the Stafford County Republican, and consolidating it with its rival, the Courier, two years later.
He served six years in the Kansas House of Representatives, eight years in the state senate and for nearly nine years was chairman of the State Board of Social Welfare. He’s also a two-term mayor of Stafford.
John Conrad, editor of the Kiowa County Signal in Greensburg, made the announcement address at the award luncheon. He said Kansas ranked nearly last among the states in mental health programs when Briles began his service as chairman of the social welfare board. After eight years, Kansas ranked first.
“It was the greatest satisfaction of my life,” Briles said of his experience as chairman.
“If I have accomplished anything worthwhile for my fellow men,” Briles said in accepting the White award, “it has been in that field (government) rather than as editor. It is somewhat embarrassing to say this under these circumstances,” he added, “but I believe it to be the truth.”
Conrad, citing Briles’ service to his community and to the profession called him “a great Kansas editor in the full sense of the William Allen White tradition.
“Tell it like it is, they say today, but that is old hat to Ernie Briles, who has followed the beacon of absolute truth for all his 77 years.
“He is completely friendly and open — concealing nothing — and the truth has made him free. It has made him, too, a venerated editor of the White tradition.”
Accepting, Briles said:
“My desire has been to publish a good newspaper but never have I believed I could turn the world upside down with anything I might write.”
He said the first responsibility of a newspaper is “to publish the news of its own community. The short news items of the smaller newspapers may draw the scorn or contempt of the nationally known reporters, but they mean something to the home folks.”
Briles is a native of Coffey County and was born at Crandall, a town which no longer exists. He attended Campbell College at Holton, taught at Winchester High School in Jefferson County and served as an Army teacher in the Philippines for two years before going into the newspaper business in Stafford County.
Last year’s recipient of the award was Herbert A. Meyer Jr., of the Independence Reporter.
The first recipient, in 1954, was the late Charles M. Harger of the Abilene Reflector – Chronicle. Subsequent winners:
The late Will T. Beck, Holton Recorder, 1955; the late Fred W. Brinkerhoff, Pittsburg Headlight and Sun, 1856; Rolla A. Clymer, El Dorado Times, 1957; the late Angelo Scott, Iola Register, 1858; Dolph Simons, Lawrence Journal-World, 1959; Oscar S. Stauffer, Stauffer Publications in Topeka, 1960; Marcellus M. Murdock, Wichita Eagle and Beacon, 1961.
Daniel R. Anthony III, Leavenworth Times, 1962; Clyde Reed, Parsons Sun, 1963; Whitley Austin, Salina Journal, 1964; the late Drew McLaughlin Miami Publishing CO., Paola, 1965; Roy F. Bailey, former editor of the Salina Journal, 1966, and Mrs. Frank Boyd of Mankato, 1967. No award was made in 1968.
A search of Newspapers.com did not produce the above article. However, it pulled up several similar articles:
- “Briles Named Editor of Year,” The Manhattan Mercury (Manhattan, KS). 10 Feb 1970, page 3.
- “Stafford Man Named Kansas Editor of Year,” The Parsons, Kansas, Sun (Parson, KS). 10 Feb 1970, page 4.
- “Stafford Editor Honored,” The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, KS). 11 Feb 1970, page 9.
- “White Award to Stafford Editor,” The Wichita Beacon (Wichita, KS). 10 Feb 1970, page 3.