"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame's 44th year

More than 250 people will gather at UCO tomorrow when  we will induct nine new members into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Of the many things I get to do, this is one of my favorite, because I get to work with and honor some of the best journalists in the state. Oklahoma is indeed richly blessed to have people of this stature serving our citizens. This is a privilege.

The Hall of Fame was founded in 1971 by former Journalism Chairman Dr. Ray Tassin. This year’s inductees make 398 total members. The Hall is supported with funding from UCO, The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, and the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation.
This year's honorees:

ED BLOCHOWIAK (1950- ) has been a photojournalist for the Shawnee News-Star since 1973. A native of Shawnee and graduate of Shawnee High School, he joined the paper after returning from a tour of duty in Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. He has covered everything from dance recitals to politics, fatal fires and the Murrah bombing. Known for his dramatic compositions, he is interested in shooting civic ceremonies. He approaches photography knowing that whatever happens each day can be exciting. His photos have won more than 90 awards from the Associated Press and Oklahoma Press Association and other organizations. He has been awarded Photo of  the Year once by AP and twice by OPA. 

THOMAS H. “TOM” BOONE (1936- ), worked as sports writer for the Bixby Bulletin for almost 40 years before retiring in 2012. A Missouri native, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and played baseball for the Marines. He began writing for the Bulletin in 1972 for $10 a story. He created the Bulletin’s “Player of the Year” award in 1979, and the award is now named for him. He was credentialed by four post-season bowl games, The World Series, major league baseball teams. He was elected to the first class of the Bixby Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006, and is a member of the Oklahoma Press Association Quarter Century Club.  He owns a sports reporting company. He earned two degrees from Cal State Fullerton, worked as a police office and as an insurance adjustor, and served on the Bixby City Council.

JAY CRONLEY (1943- ) has been an institution of Tulsa newspapers since the early 1970s. Writing three columns a week for the Tulsa World since 1992, he’s never missed a column. He’s known for his wry humor about everyday life. After attending OU, where he was all-conference second base, he worked in New York as a stockbroker before joining The Daily Oklahoman as a sports writer.  He worked at the Tulsa Tribune as sports writer and columnist in the 1970s. He also writes a column for ESPN about horse racing. He has written eight novels, five of which have been made into major movies, including Funny Farm with Chevy Chase, Quick Change with Bill Murray and Let It Ride with Richard Dryfuss. In addition to numerous state awards, he won a national non-fiction writing award from Playboy Magazine. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame in 2001.

CAROLYN ESTES (1943- ), marketing director at the Oologah Lake Leader, has built a state-wide and national reputation for her Newspapers in Education work, including a nationally syndicated column for weekly newspapers. She joined the Leader in 1982 as reporter and photographer and developed the NIE programs. She’s won numerous awards from the Oklahoma Press Association, including the President’s Award, and she serves on the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation board. She’s written three 8-chapter serial stories for newspapers. She’s most known for her almost endless volunteer work—for the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, Senior Citizens and other organizations. She’s past president of the chamber of commerce, was citizen of the year in 2001, received the town’s Community Spirit Award and Spirit of Will Rogers Award and the OEA Marshall Gregory Award. The Oologah town board honored her with a Carolyn Estes Day.

LARRY FERGUSON (1937- ) grew up helping his father Jo. O. Ferguson in his hometown Pawnee Chief, and graduated from OU in 1960 with a journalism degree. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to publish the Cleveland American with his wife Ninagay in 1962. In partnership with his brother D. Jo Ferguson at Pawnee, he began publishing the Hominy Progress in 1970. Elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1985, he served as Minority Leader in 1991-1998, before stepping down after 20 years because of term limits. His son Rusty runs the American. He returned to publish the Chief after his brother died in 2010, and is a member of the Oklahoma Press Association Half Century Club. He served on the Cleveland board of education, and the board of the Oklahoma State School Board Association from 1980-1985, also as president in 1985.

KELLY DYER FRY (1959- ), editor of The Oklahoman and vice-president of news for OPUBCO Communications Group, is a third generation Oklahoma journalist who joined OPUBCO in 1994 as features editor of The Oklahoman before joining its digital operation in 1996. She served as director of multimedia and led the team that launched NewsOK in 2001. She began her career at the family newspaper, the El Reno Tribune, and worked on The Daily O’Collegian before graduating from Oklahoma State University with a journalism degree in 1981. She serves on OSU’s Student Media Board and on the boards of the Health Alliance for the Uninsured and F.A.T.E. Fighting Addiction Through Education. She also served on the Teen Recovery Solutions board for six years helping grow Oklahoma’s only sober high school.

WILLIAM A. HAMILTON (1935- ) A Pauls Valley native, he began his journalism career as a paperboy for the Anadarko Daily News. A Master Parachutist, he served 20 years as an infantry officer, including two tours in Vietnam, earning the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, 20 Air Medals, four Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. He served as editor-in-chief of the Lincoln (NE) Capital Times. For 25 years, along with his syndicated newspaper column, he was a featured commentator for USA Today. He has also been a guest commentator on PBS NewsHour, and CNN. The author of award-winning articles on military and aviation subjects, he, and his wife, Penny, are the authors of four spy novels. He is a member of the Oklahoma Army ROTC Wall of Fame and the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.

TIM SCHNOEBELEN (1944- ), a third generation journalist, is publisher of the family-owned Mooreland Leader, where he began working at age 10 in the back shop. He wrote for the student newspaper at Northwestern State College (now NWOSU) and worked as a Linotype operator for the Oklahoma Daily at OU. He and his wife Karen returned to Mooreland in 1967 and took over ownership in 1972. He helped establish a central offset web printing plant at The Leader in 1986, printing as many as 18 weeklies. He’s served on numerous Oklahoma Press Association committees and received OPA’s highest award, the H. Milt Phillips award and the OU Regents' Award. The Leader has won numerous awards, including five OPA Sequoyah awards as top weekly in its class. A retired volunteer firefighter, he has been active in several civic groups and was a member of the Mooreland Hospital and economic development boards.

JAN STRATTON joined KSWO-TV in Lawton in 1980 as Public Affairs Director. She moved to the News Department in 1981 as a reporter and was promoted to 6 pm and 10 pm Anchor and News Director.  In 2006, she became Executive Producer of 7 News and co-producer, writer and anchor of 7 News at 5:00 pm.  In 2010, she launched 7 News at 4:00 pm as producer, writer and anchor. During her tenure, the News Department won dozens of awards for best newscast, best public issues reporting, best general reporting and best photography from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the AP and UPI.  She served on numerous boards and committees and performed with the Lawton Community Theatre, the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, winning an OCTA acting award. She helped give hundreds of new reporters and photographers their start. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2008, and retired in 2014.

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