APA to induct Fowler and Sears into Newspaper Hall of Honor

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Ed Fowler, left; Marcia Sears, right (APA)

Ed Fowler and Marcia Sears, both icons in Alabama community journalism, will be inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor during ceremonies at Auburn University Saturday, April 4, 2020.

Ed Fowler passed away March 9, 2014. He was 67. He was retired from Consolidated Publishing Co., where he had worked since 1992.

He began his career as a proofreader at the Athens (Georgia) Daily News while in school at the University of Georgia. He later moved to the newsroom as a reporter and copy editor.

He joined Boone Newspapers in 1974 and worked in newspapers in North Carolina and South Carolina before going to The Tuscaloosa News as managing editor. Fowler was later named general manager and then editor and associate publisher during his tenure there.

In 1986, he moved to The Montgomery Advertiser as managing editor and worked there until he joined Consolidated Publishing in 1992, where he remained until his retirement.

With Consolidated, Fowler was the publisher and editor of The Daily Home in Talladega and later the vice president of operations for The Anniston Star and all of the Consolidated publications. He also oversaw the construction of Consolidated facilities in Anniston and Talladega.

Fowler was president of the Alabama Press Association in 2001 and the APA Journalism Foundation in 1998. He served as chairman of the APA Better Newspaper Contest for many years and also served on the Legislative Committee.

Fowler was a board member of the Calhoun County Foundation and a Vestry member and secretary/treasurer of The Church of St. Michael and All Angles in Anniston.

He was awarded the APA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

In his nomination of Fowler for that award, Consolidated President Phil Sanguinetti said, “Ed is one of the few people who can chase a news story, write an editorial, sell an ad, run a press, and do them all well.”

Marcia Sears, former owner of The Shelby County Reporter, was the first woman to lead the Alabama Press Association, serving as president in 1981.

She was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1927 and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1948. After graduation, she married Ralph Westgate Sears and moved to Montevallo. He began a career teaching radio and speech at the University of Montevallo, while she worked as a teacher and social worker for the State of Alabama. Marcia was also a Spanish instructor at the University of Montevallo.

The Searses purchased The Shelby County Reporter in 1967. They also co-owned The Childersburg Star, The Coosa Press and WBYE Radio in Calera. They sold these news operations in 1984.

In addition to running these news organizations, Marcia served as “First Lady of Montevallo” during Ralph’s six terms as mayor. She was active in the development of city parks and other municipal improvements.

Sears worked with the Birmingham Children’s Aid Society, Cahaba Council of the Girl Scouts of America, the Montevallo Evening Garden Club and the America Association of University Women.

In 2003, Sears received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alabama Press Association.

In his nomination, David Moore, publisher of Good Life Magazine in Arab, said, “Marcia Sears was the consummate news editor, demanding professionalism of herself and those working for her. She had her finger – if not her fist – on the pulse of life, times events, politics and shenanigans of Shelby County.”

The Hall of Honor ceremony will be held at Auburn’s Ralph Brown Draughon Library April 4, 2020. Registration begins at 10:15 a.m. and the program will begin at 11 a.m. Invitations will be mailed to all APA members by the University Relations Department at Auburn University.