ASBPE Announces 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Don Ranly

Photo: Don Ranly

He is a teacher — a most noble profession. His message is compelling and is the essential mission of business, trade, and association publications, whether in print or on the Internet.
Don Ranly’s work is a testament to the lasting influence and savvy judgment he has for the practical concerns of business publishers.
It is a testament to the valuable objective of university faculty to provide community service and continuing education for working professionals.
It is a testament to every corporate executive, manger, engineer, or chemist who reads a business or trade publication to learn what useful ideas they can incorporate into their work.
As a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Dr. Ranly helped pioneer the concept of “service journalism.” For 28 years as head of Missouri’s magazine sequence, Dr. Ranly taught hundreds of students and advised many publications — especially those in the business-to-business market — to develop service journalism as their foundation.
The Lifetime Achievement Award from ASBPE reflects his enormous influence and success in the area.
Dr. Ranly defines service journalism with three words: useful, usable, and used — distinctions based on his conviction that efforts to benefit readers are illusive, and won’t work unless information is easy to access and, ultimately, helps lead readers to significant action.
Beyond college, Dr. Ranly has promulgated his vision through hundreds of professional seminars and workshops, where he is recognized for his stimulating presentations, which themselves are designed to be useful, usable, and used.
Soon after, he became editorial manager of the Messenger Press in Celina, Ohio, 1967-1969, while also working as an instructor at St. Charles Seminary.
Dr. Ranly came to Missouri in 1973 to pursue his doctoral degree after earning a certificate in film, radio, and television from New York University. He immediately began teaching classes and the next year became head of the Columbia Missourian’s Sunday magazine, Vibrations, and continued to teach.
He received the doctorate in journalism in 1976 and became the head of the magazine sequence. Three years later he was tenured.
Over the years, Dr. Ranly taught 15 different courses at the journalism school, including every class in the magazine sequence except design (although he probably could, given his expertise in service and visual journalism). His classes have included magazine editing, philosophy, and ethics of journalism, general semantics, magazine article writing, reporting, and mass media and society.


In 1995, Dr. Ranly received a University of Missouri-Columbia Faculty-Alumni Award and was named the O.O. McIntyre Distinguished Professor of Journalism for 1995-1996. In 1998, he won a University of Missouri Golden Chalk award for excellence in teaching.
The journalism faculty nominated Dr. Ranly three times for the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. He’s also been nominated for the Byler Distinguished Professor Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award, and The Kemper Teaching Award. The latter award, which he won in 2003, is the most special to him.
“There are people who say you should not identify yourself with your work,” Dr. Ranly has said, “but I am a teacher. WHen that is my identity, to receive the highest award at the university for teaching — well, that is tremendous.”

Publishing Public Service

Dr. Ranly has given more than 900 seminars and workshops for a wide variety of publishing conferences, including ASBPE (three times), City and Regional Magazine Association, Folio:Show (45 times), International Association of Business Communication (18 times), and the Florida Magazine Association (four times).
His work for publishing companies and magazines has included Advanstar, Argus, Automotive News, Meredith Corp., Southern Living,Times-Mirror, and Vance Publishing.
Dr. Ranly has judged awards competitions for Advanstar, Associated Church Press, City and Regional Magazine Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Missouri Scholastic Press Association, National Association of Agricultural Journalism, Neal Awards, and the Society of American Travel Writers.
He is coauthor of News Reporting and Writing (7th ed.); Telling the story: Writing for Print, Broadcast and Online; and Beyond the Inverted Pyramid and author of Publication Editing.
He has also compiled a reader, The Principles of American Journalism, and written a number of book chapters and articles for professional and scholarly publications.
Presently, he is on the advisory board of Academe, the bimonthly magazine of the American Association of University Professors, and is executive director of the Missouri Association of Publications.

About the Lifetime Achievement Award

Our Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2000 to recognize editors who have made significant and lasting contributions to our editorial profession and to the industries their magazines serve. Previous recipients were Patrick McGovern of International Data Group, Dana Chase of Dana Chase Publications, editorial consultant Howard Rauch of Editorial Solutions, Vernon Henry of Advanstar Communications and Bernie Knill of Penton Media.
To receive the Lifetime Achievement award, a candidate must meet four requirements:

  • Significant tenure (20 years or more) on business publications. Nominees need not currently hold editorial positions, and may be retired, but they must have spent the bulk of their careers in senior editorial positions. Nominees need not be members of ASBPE.
  • A commitment to editorial excellence. This may be demonstrated by general reputation of their publications(s); industry-related awards (e.g., ASBPE, Neal Awards, Folio:); internal company awards; other forms of recognition or other valid measures of editorial success.
  • A commitment to the business and professional press. Nominees should be or have been involved in lending their experience and time to benefit others in the business press. Examples might be participation in local or national business press or related organizations, corporate or university teaching, mentoring programs, or significant research or publication of articles on business press issues.
  • A commitment to the industries their publications serve. Examples include committee work with trade or professional associations or standards groups; frequent speaking engagements at industry events; significant research or publication of articles on industry issues; or significant advocacy work with government agencies.