West Texas publisher new TPA president
AUSTIN, LAMESA – Russel Skiles, publisher of the Lamesa Press-Reporter, was elected the 135th president of Texas Press Association on June 23 at the 2012 TPA Newspaper Executives’ Retreat in San Antonio. He succeeds Chad Ferguson, editor and publisher of The Banner Press Newspaper in Columbus, who became chairman of the board.
“I’m very humbled to be chosen to help lead an association with such a tremendous history of serving and representing newspapers of all sizes across Texas,” Skiles said.
Skiles is the second publisher of the Lamesa Press-Reporter to serve as president of the association. Walter Buckel, publisher-emeritus of the Press-Reporter, was president from 1985 to 1986.
It was Buckel who hired Skiles, fresh out of college, as a reporter/photographer for the paper in 1980.
Skiles was named news editor the following year and gradually assumed additional responsibilities before becoming editor and publisher of the newspaper in 1991.
In January 2003 he became president of the board of directors for both the Lamesa Press-Reporter and South Plains Printing Company.
He was president of the West Texas Press Association from 1997 to 1998. He served four years as the TPA Contest Committee chairman and has been involved with the TPA/TDNA Legislative Advisory Committee.
He also served on the contest and convention committees of the National Newspaper Association and as a judge for NNA’s Better Newspaper Contest.
Skiles holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Angelo State University, where he served as editor of the student newspaper.
, The Ram Page. He got his start in newspapers reporting for the Del Rio News-Herald during a summer internship in 1977.
He was born in Rankin and grew up in his father’s hometown of Langtry, a tiny community of less than 30 people on the Rio Grande, where his parents, Jack and Wilmuth Skiles, still reside. He graduated from nearby Comstock High School in a class of only eight students.
In 1983 Skiles married Diane Lambright of Lamesa, who joined the Press-Reporter in advertising composition a few months after him. A former teacher at Lamesa Middle School, she now teaches at Klondike ISD, a small school outside of Lamesa. The couple has two children, Kimberly, 20, and Aaron, 14.
Skiles is an active leader in his community. He is a member of the First Baptist Church of Lamesa and serves on the board of directors of the Northridge Retirement Center in Lamesa and the Lamesa Community Players, a local community theater group.
He was a member of the Lamesa Noon Lions Club from 1981-2009 and twice served as president; has served on and chaired various committees of the Lamesa Area Chamber of Commerce before serving as president in 1997. He served on the board of the Dawson County United Fund; was a director of the Dawson County Crime Line for a number of years; and served as one of the original board members of The Friends of Movieland, a non-profit organization that re-opened a closed movie theater and continues to operate in Lamesa.
He headed a local coalition that worked with the Texas Department of Transportation to develop routes and plans for a couple of proposed highway bypasses around Lamesa.
Skiles also coached Little Dribblers and Upward Basketball teams, served briefly on the Girls Little Dribblers board of directors, and worked as a volunteer for Lamesa’s Christmas in Action program.
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