Sun Journal Executive Editor Judith Meyer was recognized Thursday as the recipient of the 18th annual Judith Vance Weld Brown Spirit of Journalism Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of an outstanding woman in journalism each year as selected by the New England Society of News Editors.
Meyer, who has been the Sun Journal’s executive editor since April 2016, was honored in part for her stalwart stance on Freedom of Information Act matters and her ability — and willingness — to work on multiple projects, while maintaining a small-but-vibrant newsroom that consistently ranks among the best in New England in both content and design.
“By example, she makes the newsroom hum with enthusiasm,” reporter Christopher Williams said.
This is the 18th year the New England Society of News Editors Board of Governors has presented the award in honor of the late Judy Brown, longtime publisher and editor of the New Britain (Connecticut) Herald and NESNE’s first woman president.
Brown blazed trails for women, was passionate in her commitment to presenting local news, had a fierce determination to defend the public’s right to know and possessed a generosity of spirit that was especially evident in her nurturing of young reporters.
Meyer began working for the Sun Journal as a freelancer out of the Norway bureau, where she covered local selectmen meetings and breaking news in nearby towns. It was a new role for her, a young mother who had previously worked as a legal secretary, and she loved it.
“She’d pack up the kids and race to a fire,” said Rex Rhoades, who was executive editor at the time.
In 1996, Meyer was hired full time to run that bureau, and from there she rose swiftly through the ranks of one of the largest daily newspapers in Maine. In 1998, she was made editorial page editor. In 2003, she was named daytime managing editor. And in April 2016, she was named executive editor, replacing Rhoades upon his retirement.
Judith Meyer (Sun Journal file photo)