John "Johnny" Budd Long was born in Iowa in 1894.
As a boy, he started a neighborhood weekly and eventually became editor and publisher of the weekly Council Bluffs (Iowa) Enterprise at the age of 21, upon graduation from Denison University in Ohio.
He worked for The Enterprise from 1915 until 1917 when he joined the U.S. Army. After returning in 1919, he worked as telegraph editor and assistant city editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune and later was managing editor of the Ohio Daily News and then city editor of the Omaha (Neb.) Bee.
Long moved to California at age 33. In 1928, Harry Webster of the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram tapped Long to become executive secretary of the then-Southern California Editorial Association, which, under his guidance, grew into the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Long worked for 34 years as CNPA’s general manager until a month before his death in April 1962.
Although he was never a newspaper publisher in California, Long was still considered a newspaperman and was more widely known than any other individual for his efforts on behalf of the state’s newspapers. Long played a lead role in getting California laws written to protect the public’s right to attend meetings of public agencies and to inspect public records; for laws to protect a reporter who seeks to honor a commitment to hold in confidence the names of his information sources; and for laws that protect the public and the press through the fundamental tenet that truth is the only fair, feasible, meaningful defense against a charge of libel.
The Founders Society of America in 1948 honored Long for having founded National Newspaper Week. He also helped to start organizations that include an industrial relations bureau, which is now the Western Newspaper Industrial Relations Bureau; The California Newspaper Youth Foundation; The American Institute of Journalists, which grew into Sigma Delta Chi; the School for Country Printers at California Polytechnic State University; and The Pacific Newspaper Mechanical Conference.
Long’s many awards included The American Institute of Journalists Award in 1951; The National Editorial Association’s President’s award in 1962 and establishment by General Telephone Company, in 1956, of an annual award in his name to an outstanding California person.