The editor of the Lahontan Valley News was elected Saturday as president of a news organization that champions the First Amendment and strong editorial voices among all its members representing 10 countries including the United States.
Steve Ranson, who has been editor for more than nine years and before that LVN’s sports editor for more than two decades, accepted his position at the annual conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors that was held last week at the University of Maryland.
A member of ISWNE since 2009, Ranson was elected to the Board of Directors in 2014. In addition to guiding LVN’s editorial side, he also serves as general manager of the newspaper, which traces its roots in the county to 1903. During 2015-16, Ranson served as president of the Nevada Press Association and represented the organization at the recently concluded state Legislature in working with a team that presented information on New Voices legislation. The New Voices bill grants more First Amendment protections to student journalists at both the high-school and university level. Both the Nevada assembly and senate passed the bill, and Gov. Brian Sandoval signed it into law.
ISWNE includes members around the world including Australia, Nepal, South Africa, England, Canada and the United States. Most recently, ISWNE has joined other media groups to advocate a strong freedom of the press in all countries.
Journalists from five countries who attended the conference received sources for health coverage, learned about the state of newspapers and a nonprofit’s support of a weekly newspaper, handed out editorial-writing awards and critiqued each other’s editorials. Editors spent five days at the university and also in Washington, D.C., where they also toured the Newseum and the Library of Congress. Some members toured the Washington Post editorial department and saw how stories were discussed for both online and the following day’s print publication.
Ranson has been a community journalist for more than 30 years, first beginning as a reporter with the Wells (Nevada) Progress at the same time he taught English and journalism at Wells High School. He moved to Fallon in 1986 after spending two years in the Republic of Panama as a Department of Defense teacher and as a military broadcast officer and reporter for the U.S. SOUTHCOM’S SCN Radio-TV Network located at the U.S. Army base, Ft. Clayton.
For more than half his military career in the Nevada Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve, Ranson held assignments as a community relations officer, broadcast officer and press officer. After he retired from the military in 2009 as a lieutenant colonel, he traveled twice to Afghanistan to embed with Nevada Army National Guard units.
Ranson said community journalism is “the heart and soul” of small-town America that focuses its news on the people and events of the community.