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Norman Van Liew



The Bolivar Commercial

Inducted 2003


A native of Atchison, Kan., Norman Van Liew began his career in newspapers as a carrier and in high school worked as a copy boy and sold advertising for his hometown newspaper, The Atchison Daily Globe.


His next stop on the paper trail was Hutchinson, Kan. He then moved on to Gallup, N.M., where he served as advertising director and assistant publisher of the Gallup Independent.


In 1972, he moved to Cleveland to become editor and publisher of The Bolivar Commercial.


Within a couple of months of Van Liew’s arrival at the newspaper, the Commercial was converted from a weekly to a daily publication. During his 29-year tenure at the newspaper, the newspaper almost tripled in circulation. The growth of the paper necessitated moving the facilities and expanding them twice.


His outstanding work in the field of journalism has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Mississippi Press Association General Excellence Award in 1996 and the Mississippi Medal for Excellence in Journalism by the University of Southern Mississippi. He also received a national award from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information.


As a member of the Mississippi Press Association, he served as a board member, treasurer, vice president and president, and has attended numerous seminars relating to the newspaper industry, including the American Press Institute.


In addition to his contributions to the field of journalism, Van Liew made numerous contributions to his community as well. He served as a board member, treasurer, vice president and president of the Cleveland/Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce and chairman of their Industrial Development Foundation. He has also served on the Community Action board, Select Committee on Education and the Literacy Council.


He also served on the Boards of Directors of TEAM Cleveland, the Bolivar County Community Action Program, the Bolivar County Literacy Council and on the Bolivar County Ag Expo Center Committee.


In recognition of his civic service, Van Liew received the S.E. Kossman Award in 1986. In 1991, when Bolivar County won first place in the Mississippi Economic Council’s Look Around Mississippi competition, the award was dedicated to him.


He and his wife, Sherry, helped re-establish Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Cleveland and were active members until they moved to Ridgedale, Mo. on Table Rock Lake upon retirement.


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