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The Handbook of Texas

W.E. “Bill” Berger

Hondo Anvil Herald

Hall of Fame Class of 2011

Bill BergerBill Berger began his career during the Depression when he started a daily newspaper route in his hometown of Carthage, Illinois, at the age of 12. Except for the interruption of World War II, he’s been in the business ever since. And even in the Army, he kept his hand in journalism by publishing a camp newsletter.

In high school, he became a correspondent for Chicago and Peoria daily newspapers, earning the going rate of a few cents for each column inch that appeared in print.

Bill later attended Carthage College, located in his hometown. At that time, he worked as the college's publicity writer, submitting copy to the local newspaper, the Hancock County Journal.

Following his college years, Bill worked for several Midwestern publications, including being circulation manager of papers in lola, Kansas; Rolla, Missouri; and Yankton, South Dakota.

His experience during that time included the job of city district manager for the Topeka State Journal, a rather large daily.

Following 18 months in the circulation business, Bill became advertising manager, and later managing editor, of the Tuscola Review, a weekly newspaper in Central Illinois.

About that time he decided to purchase a newspaper, but along came World War II, and Bill was sent to Texas for his basic training.

"No man could have been subjected to a worse fate than basic training," Bill thought. But things looked much brighter shortly thereafter when he met a University of Texas coed by the name of Jerry Barnes. She became Mrs. Bill Berger several months later.

Bill was then sent to the South Pacific for a two-year tour of duty as an Army warrant officer.

He then returned to the U.S. and Gonzales, Texas, where Jerry was teaching home economics. Bill took a temporary job with the Gonzales Inquirer. A short time later, the Bergers purchased the Hondo Anvil Herald from retiring publisher Fletcher Davis. Their first issue of the Anvil Herald was dated June 7, 1946.

William E. “Bill” Berger has been a leader in the Texas newspaper industry ever since. He served as president of the South Texas Press Association in 1954-55 and was elected the 86th president of the Texas Press Association, serving in 1963-64. He served as a trustee of the Texas Newspaper Foundation from 2003 to 2009.

Over the years, additional newspaper purchases by the Bergers included the Zavala County Sentlnal, Carrlzo Springs Javelin, Seguin Enterprise, Waelder Home Paper, Schert-Cibolo Valley News, Randolph AFB Wingspread and the Sabinal Times. They also took this time to have three children.

The Bergers have since sold all of their properties except the Hondo and Sabinal newspapers. His son Jeff now serves as publisher in Hondo, while Bill owns and operates Associated Texas Newspapers, Inc., an Austin-based newspaper brokerage and consulting firm.

Berger was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2011 during ceremonies in San Marcos as one of four members of the Hall’s fifth class of honorees.