Rusty Ferguson takes office as president of the Oklahoma Press Association
Rusty Ferguson, publisher of The Cleveland American, took the office as the
president of the Oklahoma Press Association on July 1.
Ferguson, 49, was elected by OPA business members at the Mid-Winter
Convention in February and will serve a one-year term. He succeeds Rod
Serfoss, publisher of The Clinton Daily News.
Also taking office for the 2011-2012 term are Jeff Shultz, publisher of The
Garvin County News Star, as vice president, and Gracie Montgomery,
co-publisher of The Purcell Register, as treasurer.
Mike Brown, publisher of Neighbor Newspapers in the Tulsa area, begins a
three-year term on the OPA board of directors on July 1. Other directors are
Jeff Mayo, Sequoyah County Times; Jeff Funk, Enid News & Eagle; Dayva
Spitzer, Sayre Record & Beckham County Democrat; and Brian Blansett, Shawnee
News-Star. Serfoss will serve a one-year term on the board as past
Ferguson grew up in the newspaper business. His grandfather, Jo O. Ferguson,
bought The Cleveland American in 1931 and started The Pawnee Chief a few
years later. His father, Larry R. Ferguson, published The American next,
while his uncle, D. Jo Ferguson, published The Pawnee Chief for many years.
The Hominy News-Progress is also published by the Fergusons.
“We in the community newspaper business want to sound-off loud and clear
that we are not going anywhere. We are embracing, not resisting, changes
brought about by the incredible advance of social media,” the OPA president
said. “Community newspaper readers still want their hometown newspapers and
many of us are offering it to them in multiple formats. Our readership is
strong. We are creative people who will continue providing hometown news
like no one else does and continue to offer the best advertising buy for the
Ferguson said he hopes to find avenues to celebrate the talent that exists
in newspapers of all sizes across the state and to find ways to pool that
talent for the greater good of the industry.
Ferguson graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1984 and returned to
Cleveland a year later with his wife, Deana, to become publisher of The
Cleveland American. His father had been elected to the Oklahoma House of
Representatives and passed the paper to Ferguson.
Ferguson is active in his community having served as president of the
Cleveland Chamber of Commerce on three different occasions and currently
chairs the local library’s board of directors. He is chairman of the Hanson
Educational Trust, a million dollar trust that awards an average of $35,000
each year to graduates of Cleveland High School. He is an elder as well as
children’s director of First Christian Church in Cleveland. He has also
served on the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation board of trustees since 2002.
“I think you’ll find it common in communities across this great state that
newspapers not only provide the local news the townspeople need to know, but
also play a key role in supporting the active civic life that makes their
piece of Oklahoma special.”
The Fergusons have four children: Liberty and husband Sol, Lincoln, Landon
and Layne, all who have or are following their parents as OU Sooners.