The long-time owner and publisher of this fine publication, Greg Bruns, won the 2021 Publisher of the Year from the Association of Community Publishers (ACP).
ACP is a trade association of community publications located throughout North America. According to ACP Executive Director Douglas Fry, the association started in 1953 when like-minded publishers with similar circulation, demographics, and formats got together to share ideas and support each other. The association grew in popularity and has since become the largest association of freely distributed papers in the country.
“Some people might tell you that print is not as relevant as before. The reality is that print and digital offerings provide much-needed connections between buyers and sellers, readers and communities,” Fry said. “The purpose of ACP is to provide the tools and support for community publishers to thrive in a competitive environment.”
ACP’s membership nominates the awardee; the Executive Board tallies nominations, and Publisher of the Year is awarded to the publisher with the largest number of nominations and final approval.
Bruns started working for Arcadia News in 1997 as a humor columnist. From there, he worked in every position – delivery, ad sales and graphic design. When the husband-and-wife owners decided to sell the paper in 2001, they offered it to Bruns.
Shortly after, he established two programs: the Arcadia News Scholarship and the Teachers We Love award. The scholarship is geared toward students who pursue degrees in journalism. A few of the winners even got their start as writers for the paper.
“It’s always fun presenting the scholarships at the annual ceremony at Arcadia High – many of the names for awards, scholarships and accolades have appeared in Arcadia News, which gives me the feeling that we’re doing the right thing as the neighborhood paper,” Bruns said.
The Teachers We Love program was created out of a missed opportunity. Bruns had a teacher who helped him through a difficult time and he never had a chance to thank that teacher properly.
“We all know the thanklessness and strife that many teachers endure. I wanted to give people a way to publicly thank a special teacher now before it’s too late,” he said. “With this program, we’ve awarded 78 teachers in Arcadia and the surrounding area.”
Funnily enough, “Teachers We Love” was the clue that revealed the winner at the 2021 ACP award ceremony in Iowa. ACP presents the Publisher of the Year award in front of over 200 members, reading a statement about the winner, who is kept anonymous until the very end.
“While making their way through the tributes and good things that a publisher has done, everyone listens for a clue or keyword to figure out who it is. When Teachers We Love was mentioned, I was stunned.” Bruns said.
The award is presented each year at the annual conference. Winners receive a trophy and a write-up in the industry magazine Publish (and of course, we had to give our leader a shout-out in his paper!).
“Greg worked for four years as conference chair to make the 2021 Des Moines conference a huge success,” Fry said. “He was tireless and unflappable. ACP is proud to have Greg Bruns as a member and esteem him as one of the bright lights in the industry,” Fry said.
Outside of the office, Bruns spends time with his wife Jenn and sons Carter and Noah. He’s also a leader in Arcadia’s Scout Troop 6, which Carter and Noah are a part of.
“We are an active Troop, and we have a lot of adventures around the state of Arizona and beyond. We also give back to our community through service and volunteer projects,” he said.
In the future, Bruns would like to spend more time enjoying his passion: photography – and dreams of becoming an “empty-nester.”
“We tease our teenage boys that once they go off to college, we are selling the house and buying a mobile home so they can’t move back in. It’s mostly fantasy, though. We love this neighborhood too much to leave forever.”
We don’t want you to leave, either! Congratulations, Greg!