New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid, center, was awarded The New England Newspaper and Press Association's highest honor Friday in Boston, inducting him into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame. He celebrated the award with daughter Katie McQuaid, the Union Leader's vice president of business development, and his son, Union Leader President Brendan McQuaid. 

BOSTON —The New England Newspaper & Press Association presented New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid with its highest honor Friday night, inducting him into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.

McQuaid was one of five recognized as outstanding newspaper professionals from the six-state region during the ceremony in the ballroom at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel.

In accepting the award, McQuaid traced his half century in a field that spurred him on to learn every aspect of the business, including delivering papers in the North Country.

His daughter, Katie McQuaid, the newspaper’s vice president of business development, said the tribute was a fitting one.

“Joe has worked tirelessly over a 50-year career to improve his community and ensure the paper’s independence. This includes helping to raise more than $8 million for the Salvation Army Santa Fund, being one of the last newspapers to feature a regular veterans page, and defending the first-in-the-nation primary which fulfills our mission of holding people in power accountable,” said Katie McQuaid, who nominated her father.

“The most important thing he has done is help found the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, which owns the majority of the newspaper; that has ensured an independent voice for years to come.”

She pointed out that McQuaid instilled a love of newspapers in his children. His son, Brendan, has succeeded him as president of the company.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a Manchester Democrat, said as a New Hampshire native McQuaid celebrates those who succeed in the state but has never been shy about taking on powerful interests.

“He began his distinguished career in his early 20s as the youngest editor in the country of a major newspaper, the New Hampshire Sunday News, and his writings are best epitomized by that old newspaper saying that newspapers are meant 'to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable,' " Gardner said.

“In person, and in his writing, Joe can be direct, even blunt, but always with a touch of humor. His strength has always been to not accept the unacceptable when it appears that others are willing to do so.”

The class McQuaid joined Friday included Bob Katzen, who founded and ran for 40 years Beacon Hill Roll Call, a popular news service covering State House politics in Massachusetts, and the late W. Zachary (Bill) Malinowski, a decorated crime and political corruption reporter for The Providence Journal who died at age 57 from Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2016.

Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, has known what life is like in political campaigns as the endorsed candidate of the newspaper at times and also as the one who was passed over for someone else,

”Readers of the Union Leader could always depend on the accuracy of the news being reported as Joe always drew a clear distinction between the news and editorial opinion,” Bradley said.

“Joe does not shy away from expressing his views but does so by respectfully engaging in debate and discussion. Personally I have always appreciated our discussions and knew that he would ask probing questions and expect clear answers — exactly what a good journalist seeks to provide to his or her readers. Congrats Joe.”

McQuaid’s father, B.J. McQuaid, founded the New Hampshire Sunday News, which was later bought by Manchester Union Leader owners William and Nackey Loeb. The Loebs hired B.J. McQuaid to help run the paper.

Joe McQuaid started working at the Union Leader part time in high school and has been with the newspaper full time for nearly 50 years.

As Joe McQuaid rose through the ranks under Publisher Nackey Loeb, he eventually was named President and Publisher of the Union Leader Corporation upon Mrs. Loeb’s retirement in 1999.

Before Mrs. Loeb’s passing in 2000, he led the effort to open the nonprofit Loeb school, which offers free classes in media and communications, and provides workshops for business leaders and civil servants.

Under his leadership as president and chairman of the board of trustees, the school began giving annual First Amendment Awards to people in New Hampshire who have worked to protect the five freedoms of press, speech, religion, peaceful assembly and petitioning the government.

Executive Editor Trent Spiner contributed to this report.