A former managing editor of the Morning Sentinel has been chosen for induction into the Maine Press Association’s Hall of Fame.

Ann McGowan, 77, of Pittsfield, was named today as one of two recipients this year. Mary Dodge Brewer, former managing editor of the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper also was selected. Both will be inducted during a ceremony in October.

The Maine Press Association Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor Maine newspaper journalists who have made outstanding contributions to the profession, according to the association.

McGowan worked for the Morning Sentinel for 35 years — from 1961 to 1996 — while raising five children, all of whom became active participants in their mother’s work.

McGowan began her career as a China corespondent.

“I’m always impressing people with that fact,” she said. “Then, of course, I tell them it was China, Maine.”

For the first few months of her job, McGowan worked without a typewriter, submitting her copy on handwritten pages. A few months later, she got a second-hand manual typewriter, which she used for many years. She was paid 15 cents per column inch, and wrote long, she joked. The material wasn’t exactly newsy.

“This was the era when they had personals (sections). If anyone from China went shopping in Portland, that was in the newspaper. Any child who had a birthday party was in the paper, including a list of all the children that attended,” she recalled.

Later, McGowan moved with her family to Pittsfield and accepted a job as a correspondent there. She worked from home as a correspondent until four of her five children finished high school.

Daughter Jolene McGowan, now 54, recalls hearing her mother clack away at a manual typewriter in her makeshift office in the hallway. Each day, the family rallied around McGowan’s deadline, Jolene recalled. About 4:45 p.m., McGowan would hand one of her children a package that included her typed stories and undeveloped film for bicycle delivery to the nearby Greyhound bus stop, where a bus was bound for Waterville.

“No one used the word ‘stressful’ in those days, but there was just a lot of energy around 5 o’clock because she needed to get her package to the bus,” said Jolene, who lives in Portland.

McGowan also would have to wake up at the sound of the town fire alarm, Jolene said. Her mother was deeply affected by tragedies — but her children, too young to understand the implications, just wanted to join their mother on the spot-news assignments. Sometimes McGowan would relent.

McGowan’s son Patrick McGowan, 56, of Fayette, said the Morning Sentinel was part of the family fabric. “We were full participants,” he said.

Patrick sometimes filled in for his mother at late-night fires or car crashes whenever she was pregnant or caring for infant children.

McGowan was fair as a reporter and a columnist, Patrick said. Years later, when he was in the Legislature, McGowan blasted her son from time to time. Other family members also bore the brunt of her good-natured criticism.

“All of our faults were available for everyone to read in her columns,” he said. “We didn’t mind at all, because we love her so much.”

Toward the end of McGowan’s career, daughter Jean McGowan wrote a weekly column with her mother called “Like Mother, Unlike Daughter,” in which the two argued about topics from McGowan’s conservative stance versus Jean’s liberal outlook. The column spanned three years, from 1994 to 1997.

Despite the potential for animosity, the two got along, said Jean, who is now 42 and lives in Portland, Ore.

In the early 1980s, after four of her children finished high school, McGowan took a staff position as a feature writer in the smoke-filled newsroom in Waterville. She was paid $100 a week, less than what men were making.

“Women weren’t taken seriously,” she said. “The men had the hard-core jobs, but thank heavens, things changed.”

McGowan worked her way up to become a features editor; editor of MaineSay, the Morning Sentinel’s statewide news magazine; and the editorial page editor. In the early 1990s, McGowan was promoted to managing editor.

She was nominated for the Hall of Fame by two Morning Sentinel reporters who worked under her leadership — Amy Calder and Darla Pickett. The Hall of Fame will have 54 members once McGowan and Brewer are inducted. The Hall of Fame luncheon and induction ceremony will be held Oct. 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport as part of the annual Maine Press Association Fall Conference.

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