The Howard J. McCartney Award
During the early days of labor journalism, necessity demanded that a writer combine editing, speech-writing and media relations of the Union with organizing, education and other tasks. Howard J. McCartney was such a person who possessed and utilized his many talents on behalf of the USWA.
The son of a Steelworker, Howard J. McCartney played a key role in the advancement of labor journalism and in helping develop local union publications. Those who knew him said he was gentle and humorous, patient to a fault, candid, but always scrupulously fair.
He was one of the first journalists employed by the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC), formed in 1936, which later became the United Steelworkers of America.
Only 46 years old when he died in 1962, Howard McCartney already was a seasoned veteran, having served in both the United Mine Workers and the early SWOC campaigns. These were lean years for unions and particularly for labor journalism.
He realized that the labor press, born with the American labor movement, had survived the peaks and the valleys of prosperous times and depression years. He refined some of journalism's finest techniques to get the message of labor across to the rank and file and the general public.
McCartney never forgot that the organized labor movement is devoted to people and their problems and that their story needs to be told. He enlisted and encouraged local union publications to tell that story and the achievements of labor for the common good. For all of these contributions, he has earned the deep admiration and respect of all of us.
Presented every two years, the Howard J. McCartney Award goes to a deserving local union editor in the truest sense. It is offered by the United Steelworkers Press Association (USPA) to encourage and inspire local union editors to pass the Union's message down through the ranks. The Award is a suitably inscribed trophy presented during the Biennial Conferences of the United Steelworkers Press Association.
Size of paper or method of publication are not determining factors. Editorial excellence and the finer points of journalism are considered in the biennial USPA evaluations. The McCartney Award is presented to the editor judged to persevere despite the stress, the strain, the low or "no" budget, the meager pay and the little thanks that go with being reporter, editor, rewriter, proof- reader, photographer, distributor/mailer and any other task to get the local union paper out.
The McCartney Award is one way the USPA can pay deserved recognition to those whose quiet deeds advance the art of communications at the local level. The local publication that is well financed, adequately staffed and prominently acknowledged has no problem winning support, acceptance or awards.