Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame inducts six

Representing excellence in newspaper, television and radio news, six veteran journalists were inducted into the second class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame before a capacity crowd in August at Murfreesboro’s Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center.

TJHOF Class Shot 2014 web

Journalists celebrate the induction of six new honorees for lifetime achievement during ceremonies for the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, located at MTSU. From left to right are Phil Cox, general manager of WDEF-TV in Chattanooga and chairman of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, who represented Chattanooga WDEF radio journalist Luther Masingill; Bob Johnson of WTVC-TV in Chattanooga; Otis Stanford, former Memphis Commercial Appeal managing editor; WSMV anchor Demetria Kalodimos, the event’s emcee; Sam Venable, columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel; Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Jones, whose family owns The Greeneville Sun; Joe Birch of WMC-TV in Memphis; and Hooper Penuel of Murfreesboro, the hall’s co-founder. (MTSU photo)

The inductions were held during the 60th annual conference of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, which sponsored the ceremony along with the Associated Press. The Hall of Fame is an independent partner with Mass Communication, which houses the hall in its Center for Innovation in Media. The 2014 honorees were:

  • Joe Birch, longtime co-anchor of WMC-TV Action News 5 in Memphis. A veteran lead anchor for 35 years, Birch is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who has been recognized for his community work. He exposed sex dens being operated in abandoned schools and became a hero of and for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a prolific fundraising advocate.
  • Bob Johnson, retired co-anchor of WTVC-TV News in Chattanooga. A veteran journalist of 45 years, Johnson reported from the scene of stories as diverse as the 1988 Moscow summit between the U.S. and Russia and the space shuttle’s first flight after the 1986 Challenger explosion.
  • Alex S. Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winner for The New York Times. Jones is the director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and also holds the school’s Laurence M. Lombard Chair in the Press and Public Policy. His family owns the Greeneville Sun in Greeneville, Tenn., which is part of the Jones Media Network.
  • Luther Masingill of WDEF Radio/TV, Chattanooga. Masingill is the world’s longest-serving radio announcer working at the same station. He is the only announcer to have reported on-air both the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the 2011 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City.
  • Otis Sanford, longtime former reporter, editor and columnist for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Sanford now holds the Helen and Jabie Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economics/Managerial Journalism in the Department of Journalism at the University of Memphis. He is a nationally recognized speaker on journalism ethics, education and the First Amendment.
  • Sam Venable, columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Venable has also written 12 books featuring his wit and unique look at life and contributed to many other books as well. He is the winner of more than three dozen national and regional writing awards.
Ken Paulson, Mass Comm dean, addresses the audience before the induction ceremonies for the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. Looking on is Demetria Kalodimos, anchor for WSMV-TV in Nashville, the event’s emcee.

Ken Paulson, Mass Comm dean, addresses the audience before the induction ceremonies for the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. Looking on is Demetria Kalodimos, anchor for WSMV-TV in Nashville, the event’s emcee.

In welcoming remarks, Mass Comm Dean Ken Paulson noted that John Seigenthaler, with whom he worked for years at the First Amendment Center, was thrilled to be inducted into the hall’s inaugural class last year because of what the hall represents for a noble profession. “It meant the world to him,” Paulson said of Seigenthaler, who died in July. “One of our biggest challenges in education is conveying to this new generation of journalists just how important this work is.”

Thank you to MTSU News and Media Relations.

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Categories: Events, News, Partnerships

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