Fowler and Ferrin Cox, publisher and advertising manager of The Elba Clipper, are the two honorees for APA’s annual award, which was established to honor and recognize the accomplishments and career achievements of current or former Alabama newspaper executives and employees.
The two will be featured in the February edition of The Alabama Publisher.
Fowler was selected from a committee that consisted of four APA officers and two additional board members, and will be presented with the award Friday, Feb. 18, during APA’s Journalism Summit & Job Fair in Montgomery.
“I really appreciate the APA,” Fowler said. “The award means a lot to me and the recognition of the work I’ve done in the field.”
Fowler is originally from Rome, Ga., and came to Alabama as managing editor of The Tuscaloosa News in 1974.
He was also a publisher for Boone Newspapers Inc. at newspapers that served communities in North Carolina and Georgia.
Fowler returned to Alabama as editor and general manager of The Tuscaloosa News in 1981, then became managing editor of The Montgomery Advertiser in 1986, and in 1992 became editor and general manager of The Daily Home.
Fowler was named publisher of The Daily Home later that year, and in 1994 was named vice president of operations for Consolidated, which owns The Daily Home, The Anniston Star and four weekly newspapers.
“It’s very meaningful to me,” Fowler said. “APA has been a big part of my journalism career.”
In addition to working at newspapers represented by APA, Fowler has also worked closely with the association and made lifelong friends in the process.
One experience in particular with APA led Fowler to Montgomery, where he and his colleagues worked to gain information from government officials on behalf of the public.
“I found a certain respect for APA,” Fowler said. “We were really a group of people with public interest, as well as special interest.”
In addition to working on behalf of the public, Fowler said APA also provides journalism scholarships and paid internships to students in an effort to get young people involved in journalism.
“We have adapted to the times,” Fowler said. “We have advertising websites and news websites. The association has done a lot to make sure we are up-to-date.”
Fowler has 40 years of experience in journalism.
He said that as a young person just starting out in the news business he quickly learned to exercise humility.
“I learned that readers are more than abstract,” he said.
After years of reporting and editing stories about homicides and rapes, Fowler said he learned everyone, whether a reader or a victim, was a human being.
“I think The Daily Home has a well-deserved reputation for serving the people of Talladega,” he said.
Fowler said he believes newspapers still play a vital part in the lives of Alabama communities, and after living in Talladega for 10 years, and working at The Daily Home for five of those years, he admits to feeling nostalgic about the good times Talladega brought him.
And after 40 years in the news business, Fowler sees journalism as more than just a way to make a living.
“It’s good to get up in the morning and go to work knowing that you’re doing more than just making money,” he said.
“And after 40 years, it’s still a lot of fun to put out a newspaper every day.”