Thursday, we honor ten more men and women in the 42nd annual ceremony at the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. It's my privilege to work as director of the hall, following founder Ray Tassin and colleague Denny Hall.
IMeanwhile, here are their brief bios.
JIM ELLIS (1953- ), sports editor of the Miami, OK, News-Record since 1977, also covered sports for the Sequoyah County Times in 1975-77. Born and raised in Miami, he is a 1971 graduate of Miami High School, a 1973 graduate of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and a 1977 graduate of Northeastern State University. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Eight-Man High School Football Hall of Fame in 2011, and is a member of the Oklahoma Press Association Quarter Century Club. He was a member of the organizing committee of the Oklahoma 8-Man Football Coaches Association All-Star game held in Miami, and still serves. A virtual one-man sports department, he covers more than six high schools plus Northeastern A&M and also assists with page design, photography and feature stories, as well as news coverage such as the Joplin tornado.
CHRISTY GAYLORD EVEREST (1951- ) became chairman and CEO of the Oklahoma Publishing Co. in 2003, the third generation of the Gaylord family to lead The Oklahoman, until its sale in 2012. A director of Opubco since 1975, she was named president in 2002, having served as corporate secretary and vice-president. Extremely active in the community, she is a past Chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents and past trustee and Chairman of Casady School. Inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004, she is a past recipient of the Governor's Arts Award, and the Casady School Distinguished Graduate Award. She’s served on numerous boards for art, education and health organizations. A trustee of the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, she’s a member of the Advisory Committee of the Inasmuch Foundation. She is a driver for Mobile Meals, a weekly tutor at North Highland elementary, and Chairman of the OU Cancer Center Leadership Council.
GERALD C. GREEN (1939- ), city editor and employee of the Clinton Daily News since 1982, is widely known for his accurate and fair reporting. He led the paper to numerous OPA and AP awards. His career began at the Austin American-Statesman as a sports deskman while attending the University of Texas, where he graduated in 1961. As a captain in the U.S. Air Force, he was a base and wing information officer; news officer for the American Forces Korea Network; and Minuteman missile crew commander. In 1968 he became editor of The Ord Quiz in Nebraska, and in 1977 copy editor for the Dallas Morning News. He started The Leader at Clinton in 1978, winning the OPA Sweepstakes Award for the state’s 37 largest weeklies. He is a member of the Clinton Kiwanis Club.
WILLIAM “BILL” C. MORGAN (1930-2012) began his 62-year career in journalism at Oklahoma A&M University at the Daily O’Collegian. After graduation, he returned to his hometown of Bartlesville to work at the Bartlesville Record. In the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Army Press Corps as regional editor for the Stars and Stripes in Tokyo. In 1954, Morgan joined the Henryetta Daily Freelance. In 1957, he bought the Wetumka Gazette, renaming it The Hughes County Times. Morgan also published The Calvin Chronicle and Oklahoma Peanut and eventually acquired The Weleetkan. He won numerous awards from OPA and other organizations for layouts, columns and editorials on wildlife, soil and water conservation. Morgan worked on the campaigns of Henry Bellmon and Dewey Bartlett, serving as a delegate to the 1968 Republican National convention. Always outspoken and opinionated, his "In Our Times" column was looked forward to by all readers whether they agreed with his viewpoint or not.
NEAL KENNEDY (1949- ) began his radio news reporting as a student at KCSC-FM in 1969 at then Central State University, graduating in 1971. He also worked at The Oklahoma Journal, at night in 1969-70, and at WKY radio until 1974. He worked for KRMC News in Oklahoma City in 1974-75 and at KVOO News in Tulsa in 1975-1999. He reported for KRMG News in Tulsa from 1999-2008. His news work earned the Edward R. Murrow Award, and numerous AP and UPI broadcasting awards. He is past president of the AP and UPI broadcasting associations, past president of Oklahoma Sigma Delta Chi, on the board of the Tulsa Press Club, and in the Tulsa Press Club gridiron cast from 1977-1997. He taught broadcasting at Tulsa Community College and Rogers State University, was a KVOO Explorer Post 1170 leader, and an announcer at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in 1977-2007. He was born in Hawaii Territory.
ANTHONY SHADID (1968 –2012) was foreign correspondent for The New York Times based in Beirut. He won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2004 and 2010 for coverage of the Iraq war. From 2003 to 2009 he was Islamic affairs correspondent for The Washington Post. He also worked as Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press in Cairo, news editor of the AP Los Angeles bureau, and for the Boston Globe. His 2005 book Night Draws Near, covered the war’s effects on Iraqi people, Ridenhour Book Prize. He won numerous awards, including Overseas Press Club and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Shadid was a 2011 recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the American University of Beirut. Born in Oklahoma City and a graduate of Heritage Hall High School, he was a 1990 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He died from an asthma attack covering the turmoil in Syria.
STAN STAMPER (1953- ) began his journalism career at age 11 as sports photographer for the family-owned Hugo Daily News, becoming printer’s devil the next year. He graduated from OU in seven semesters with a journalism degree, where he worked as a staff photographer at the Norman Transcript and also earned his private pilot’s license. He returned to Hugo as advertising manager in 1975. In 1980 he and his wife Judy bought the paper, becoming the youngest daily newspaper publisher in America. He also publishes the Choctaw County Times, and has written two aviation novels. The new Hugo airport was named after him in 1983, and he was named Oklahoma Aviator of the Year in 1997. He was chairman of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, and has served as officer and member of several local and state organizations. Named Hugo citizen of the year in 1994, he’s also won many awards for writing and photography.
JAMES D. WATTS, JR. (1961- ) has covered the arts for the Tulsa World since 1992, winning awards in arts criticism from the AP and the Society of Professional Journalists, the Governor’s Arts Award for media in 2001, and a 2008 Pulitzer nomination in criticism. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he was valedictorian of the H.H. Herbert School of Journalism in 1983. He began his career at the Broken Arrow Ledger in 1983 as reporter and wire editor. From 1984-1986 he was editor of the monthly Lost Treasure Magazine, and joined the Continental Heritage Press in 1986 as editor of three magazines. From 1987 to 1992 he was fine arts report and critic for the Tulsa Tribune. He won the Harwelden Award in 2006 for contributions to the arts in 2006, and was a participant in a national institute in classical music and opera in 2004 in New York City. .
FAITH L. WYLIE (1953- ) was bitten by the journalism bug in high school where she was yearbook editor, worked in the educational TV studio, and met John Wylie. She and John purchased the Oologah Lake Leader in 1984, where as co-publisher she handles all layout and design work, including the newspaper’s pioneering web site. The paper has won 14 OPA Sequoyah Awards and eight first place honors from the NNA. OPA presented both she and John the Beachy Musselman Award in 1993. She earned a BFA in graphic design from the University of Kansas; was production artist at Sun Publications in Johnson County; Kansas; graphic designer for BR Johnson Studio in 1976-1978; and was art director at Old American Insurance Company in 1979-1984. She has served as president of the Oologah Historical Society and was named Chamber Citizen of the Year in 1985.
JOHN M. WYLIE II (1953- ), co-publisher of the Oologah Lake Leader since 1984, is known for award-winning investigative journalism. His career began in 1972 as correspondent for the Des Moines Register and UPI and news director of KDIC-FM while a student at Grinnell College. He joined the Kansas City Star in 1974, becoming its first full-time energy and environment writer. He was part of the Star team that won a Pulitzer for coverage of the Hyatt disaster in 1982. At Oologah, his investigations for the Leader and national and international publications of McGraw-Hill have concentrated on energy regulation, attracting national attention. His reporting has earned more than 200 writing awards. The Leader has won 14 OPA Sequoyah Awards and eight first place honors from the NNA. OPA presented both he and his wife Faith the Beachy Musselman Award in 1993. Active in numerous journalism and community groups, he was named Oologah Citizen of the Year in 1991.
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