Ann Wilson, the new president of the Iowa Newspaper Association, addresses that organization at its annual convention earlier this month in Des Moines at the downtown Marriott.
Ann Wilson, the new president of the Iowa Newspaper Association, addresses that organization at its annual convention earlier this month in Des Moines at the downtown Marriott.

February 21, 2017

Des Moines

One of the nation’s largest newspaper organizations has elected a Carroll businesswoman as its president.

The 280-member Iowa Newspaper Association installed Ann E. Wilson, co-owner and publisher of Carroll-based Herald Publishing Co., a nine-newspaper organization in western and central Iowa, as its leader during a convention earlier this month at the downtown Marriott Hotel in Des Moines.

Wilson, 75, is a third-generation newspaper owner. Herald Publishing’s flagship newspaper, The Carroll Daily Times Herald, has been operated by her family since 1929.

The family also owns and operates: The Jefferson Herald, Jefferson Bee, Guthrie Center Times, Guthrie County Vedette, Adair County Free Press, Fontanelle Observer, Lake Panorama Times and the Carroll regional Advertiser.

Herald Publishing employs more than 50 full- and part-time people in four counties.

“In recent years, Ann’s family has purchased weekly newspapers in Greene, Guthrie and Adair counties to expand their ‘news print’ in west central Iowa,” said Charlie Nixon, publisher of The Coon Rapids Enterprise and a longtime Wilson friend. “Her family’s flagship paper — the Carroll Daily Times Herald — is hands down, one of the best in Iowa. Ann has a strong commitment to the newspaper industry and has plenty of insight to help other Iowa newspapers remain a vital part of their communities.  She’ll be a great resource for all members of the Iowa Newspaper Association.”

Iowa Newspaper Association Executive Director Susan Patterson Plank, formerly of The Des Moines Register, said Wilson brings a wealth of knowledge and breadth of experience to her duties as new INA board president.

The INA Services Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of the INA, manages advertising sales, planning and placement for clients across the United States. The INA Foundation provides education and training opportunities to advance the profession and champions First Amendment efforts.  

“Ann brings a great deal of expertise, knowledge and compassion to our industry,” said Alan Mores, co-publisher of the Harlan Newspapers and a former INA president. “I look forward to working with her as do many of us on the board.”

In addition to her leadership in newspapers, Wilson has been active in numerous civic groups. She has been on the board on the Heartland Area Education Agency, including serving as president and vice president. The agency serves schools in 11 counties, including serving children with disabilities and handling professional development for teachers and administrators.

Wilson has also served as president of Friends of Iowa Public Television, secretary of the West Central Iowa Habitat for Humanity and campaigned to pass local bond issues and referendums benefitting the city and local schools.

In the 1970s, her family helped to resettle four Vietnamese men in Indianola, when she lived there.

Among her many other accomplishments, Wilson earned INA Master Editor-Publisher Award in 1994, the organization’s highest honor, served as president of the INA Foundation and has participated and chaired many INA and INF committees.

“We are excited to have Ann become INA board president,” Patterson Plank said. “Not only is newspapering in her blood — her family has owned the Carroll Daily Times Herald since 1929 — but she has been active to make her state and community a better place. We are excited she’s bringing those energies to serve all Iowa newspapers.”

Wilson’s sons, Douglas Burns, and Thomas Burns, both of Carroll, serve respectively as co-owners and vice presidents for news and advertising with Herald Publishing.

Wilson’s daughter, Jane Lawson of West Des Moines, a Carroll High School alum, is a co-owner and contributing writer to the family’s newspapers.