Candidates for the Communicator of Achievement award are nominated by NPW members for exceptional achievement in the communications field, service to NPW/NFPW, and service to their communities. The COA award is the highest honor bestowed by NPW.

Nominations for the 2018 COA are being accepted through Aug. 15. Please submit nominations, including a brief note on why the nominee is deserving of the honor, to NPW COA Chair Barb Bierman Batie,

Judy Nelson Named 2017 NPW Communicator of Achievement

COA Judy Nelson

NPW’s COA Judy Nelson at the NFPW conference in Bethlehem, Pa., in Sept. 2018.


Judy Nelson, a 45-year member of NPW, was named 2017 Communicator of Achievement during Nebraska Press Women’s (NPW’s) fall conference in Osceola.

A native of Newman Grove, this accomplished writer and editor mentored many young journalists during her early career at the North Platte Telegraph and her career at the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Over the decades, Judy edited hundreds of Extension publications; led and coordinated writing workshops for colleagues, including one in Morocco; developed and led communications marketing plans; founded and directed newsletters and magazines; researched and wrote speeches for 10 years; developed white papers and strategic plans; built a high-profile lecture series; and developed and led a program enabling high school students to describe how their ideas could help feed the world.

She has extended her writing talents to include books, plays, poetry and a current work in progress, a biography of longtime NPW member Joan Burney.

NPW has benefited from Nelson’s talents over the years and her service as an officer, board member and project director. As the current membership director, Nelson can be counted on to keep in touch with new members, contact potential new members and encourage other Press Women to do the same. Her most important role over the past several years was to lead a special project to write and implement a new NPW strategic plan.

Nelson will represent Nebraska in the NFPW Communicator of Achievement competition set for September 2018 in Bethlehem, Penn.

Some Past NPW Communicators of Achievement

Below are some former NPW COA recipients: back from left, Judy Nelson, Glennis Nagel, Ruth Brown, Martha Stoddard, Cheryl Alberts Irwin, Mary Pat Finn-Hoag; front row from left, Lori Potter, Joan Burney, Stephanie Geery-Zink, Terri Hahn, and Barb Batie at the 2011 NFPW convention after Terri was named runner-up to the national COA.

Past State Achievement Award Recipients

2016 Bette Pore, Grand Island
2015 Lori Potter, Kearney
2014 Ruth Raymond Thone, Lincoln
2013 Mary Pierce, Ogallala
2012 Sherry Thompson, Omaha
2011 Stephanie Geery-Zink, Lincoln
2010 Terri Hahn, Grand island
2009 Martha Stoddard, Lincoln
2008 Barb Micek, Fullerton
2007 Dr. Ruth Brown, Lexington
2006 Cheryl Alberts Irwin, Lincoln
2005 Glennis Nagel, Kearney
2004 Dorothy Fryer, Norfolk
2003 Barb Batie, Lexington
2002 Marianne Beel, Valentine
2001 Mary Pat Finn-Hoag, Norfolk
2000 Mary Bargman Crawford, Alliance
1998 Andrea Cranford, Lincoln
1997 Sue Fitzgerald, Lexington
1996 Gwen Lindberg, West Point
1995 Lori Potter, Kearney
1994 Evelyn Aufdenkamp, Clay Center
1993 Karen Stansbery, Brule
1992 Joan Burney, Hartington
1991 Mary Ann (Koch) Blackledge, North Platte
1990 Jill Claflin, Lexington
1989 Vicki Miller, Lincoln
1988 Judy Johnson, West Point
1987 Marj Marlette, Lincoln
1986 Judy Nelson, Lincoln
1984 Lois Lambley, North Bend
1982 Dr. Wilma Crumley, Lincoln
1981 Joan Burney, Hartington
1980 Marianne Beel, Valentine
1979 Lilly Frels, Hershey
1978 Lilas Thomas, Ogallala
1967 Helen Green, Fairbury
1961 Velma Price, Newman Grove
1958 Norma Carpenter, Lincoln

National Communicators of Achievement from Nebraska
1993 Joan Burney, Hartington
1985 Lois Lambley, North Bend