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Distinguished Service Award

Established in 2004, the Distinguished Service Award annually recognizes an MDDC volunteer whose extraordinary service effort has made a profound and lasting difference to MDDC organization and membership.

Each annual winner is presented an engraved bowl at MDDC's Hall of Fame & Distinguished Service Award Program, traditionally held in late May at the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition, a $500 contribution is made to the MDDC Press Foundation in the winner's name and a photo of the winner is added to the permanent display at MDDC's Annapolis office.

The 2015 winner (award presented in May, 2016) is Karen Acton, formerly of the Gazette Newspapers & Southern Maryland News.  Karen was nominated for the Distinguished Service Award by consensus of the Executive Committee of the MDDC Board in recognition of her years of service to the organization and visionary leadership.

Acton is the director of budget and analysis at the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Previously, Acton was the CEO and CFO of Post Community Media, LLC, the publisher of the Southern Maryland Newspapers and the Gazette Newspaper groups.   The publications in her groups covered the communities in the Washington DC suburbs and southern Maryland.

Acton has been a steadfast supporter of the press association throughout her career, beginning her time on the board in 2000. During her time on the board, she worked to ensure the stability and growth of the association and the industry, serving as president in 2006 and as secretary of the board for her last two terms.  Jack Murphy, retired executive director of MDDC, notes “I worked with Karen both at the Gazette Newspapers and at MDDC, and she was great. She was always interested in making every organization with which she was affiliated be the best that it could be. Karen was swamped with work at the Gazette, and yet she always made time to help with the newspaper industry as a whole. She is smart, creative and very hard-working.” Click below for the video tribute.

Nominations are open and are accepted until the end of the year.




Winners of the Distinguished Service Award

Karen Acton
former CEO/CFO
Gazette Newspapers & Southern MD News


Pat Richardson
former Publisher
The Carroll County Times & Annapolis Capital


Christopher A. Eddings
former Publisher, The Daily Record &
retired Vice President, Business Information, The Dolan Company



Frank Quine
retired Assistant Dean,
Phillip Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland


John League
retired Publisher
The Herald-Mail



Tom Schmidt
Carroll Publishing



Jeff Mezzatesta
Chesapeake Publishing

Jim Donahue
retired Executive Director
MDDC Press Association


Tom Marquardt
retired Publisher
Annapolis Capital


Larry Effingham
The Star Democrat



James S. Keat
The Baltimore Sun



Carol Melamed
The Washington Post

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