R. Thomas Berner, a Tamaqua native, received the prestigious New Mexico Press Women (NMPW) Communicator of Achievement Award at the organization's annual conference banquet dinner Friday, April 16, at the Sheraton Uptown, in Albuquerque. The Communicator of Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by New Mexico Press Women upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by affiliates, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, service to NMPW and to the community. Berner will go on to compete against nominees from other states at the National Federation of Press Women's annual conference, to be held this year in Chicago in August.

Berner – nominated by Northern New Mexico Press Women, for which he currently serves as chapter president – is a professor emeritus of journalism and American studies at Pennsylvania State University. After he retired in 2003, he and his wife moved to Santa Fe, where Berner continued to teach online for Penn State and other universities and to write a textbook (his eighth). Berner has lectured twice in China for the Fulbright program, once in 2005 after retiring.

A Tamaqua native, Berner began his newspaper career right out of high school in 1961 at The Evening Courier in Tamaqua. After service in the U.S. Navy, he received two degrees (English and journalism) from Penn State while working full-time as a city editor at two newspapers, the Pennsylvania Mirror and the then Centre Daily Times. During his 28 years on the faculty, Berner also spent one summer on the metropolitan copy desk of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

New Mexico Press Women, organized in 1950, celebrated its 60th anniversary at the 2010 conference. NMPW is an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women http://www.nfpw.org [1] . It is an organization of professional journalists and communicators – with membership open to women and men – that promotes the highest ethical standards while looking to the future in professional development, networking and protecting First Amendment rights.