The California Press Foundation has selected Jim and Lisa Rule as the 2017 Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executives of the Year. The Rules own and operate Acorn Newspapers in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The couple purchased a single Acorn publication out of bankruptcy in 1996, and through their dogged determination to make the paper a vibrant voice for the community — while others in the industry struggled — they were able to expand operations and add four new Acorn papers to serve the western Los Angeles and eastern Ventura County region. The total circulation is nearly 150,000.
The Acorn weekly is the people’s paper, as demonstrated by avid reader enthusiasm for regular features such as Squirrel of the Month (the squirrel is The Acorn mascot) and Take Your Acorn on Vacation photo submissions. An annual Fiction in a Nutshell contest encourages young readers to submit their best 100-word works of fiction and receive prizes and recognition.
In this newsroom, community comes first, and the story about a creative Eagle Scout project is just as important as the reporting on a city council meeting as it heads into the midnight hour. The Acorn takes a hard look at local politics, but prefers not to dwell too much on the negative.
The Acorn papers have taken numerous editorial and photography first-place finishes in the annual CNPA awards, and are frequently named by various service organizations as a business that matters.
Four years ago the Rules added a quarterly lifestyle magazine, Beyond the Acorn, as a way to further engage the community.
Under the leadership of publishers Jim and Lisa Rule, the five Acorn newspapers and their 50 employees represent community journalism at its core.
Cal Press will present the award Thursday, Nov. 30 at its 140th Annual Winter Meeting in San Francisco.
Registration is open now. Please visit the for details. The deadline to book rooms at the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel is Nov. 8. Booking information is on the Winter Meeting page at Cal-Press.org.