Hall of fame welcomes six new members

This story was posted on May 2, 2013.

attendees
Photo by Ann Schertz
New hall of fame inductee Paul Tash, right, joins other attendees in looking over bios of the six new members prior to Saturday's ceremony.

— By Lena Morris, Indiana University School of Journalism junior and Web reporter

The Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame added six new members to its more than 200 during annual ceremonies April 27 at the Tudor Room in the Indiana Memorial Union.

The six reflect journalism's broad scope. Among them are a photojournalist, several newspaper executives whose reporting roots have defined their careers, and some who applied their journalism skills in advocacy work.

Board member and emcee Lee Giles, retired WISH-TV news director, put the hall of fame’s mission into perspective.

“We’ve talked a lot about the technology and the future of journalism, but today we also honor the past,” he said.

2013 inductees are:

  • The late Joe Aaron, a longtime reporter and columnist for the Evansville Courier;
  • Melissa Farlow, an award-winning photojournalist for National Geographic and several newspapers;
  • The late Jerry Lyst, The Indianapolis Star’s editorial page editor for nearly half of his 45 years with the newspaper;
  • The late Lowell Mellett, an Elwood native who was a newspaper executive in Washington before becoming a top aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt;
  • Jack Ronald, the longtime publisher of Portland’s Commercial Review who has made numerous trips to former Soviet republics to advocate an independent and free press; and
  • Paul Tash, a South Bend native who is CEO and chairman of the Tampa Bay Times, and chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Poynter Institute.

After a short video biography, each inductee or a family member spoke to the crowd, which included hall of fame members and inductees’ supporters.

The late Joe Aaron was an influential columnist and reporter during his 30 years at the Evansville Courier. Current editor Tim Ethridge called Aaron a “legend of Evansville” whose legacy continues to this day.

“Although Joe died of a heart attack in the newsroom in 1986, we still publish his columns to this day,” he said. When the newspaper considered dropping the weekly reprinted columns, public outrage quickly changed the plan.

Now a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Farlow thanked the late Will Counts, an influential photographer and former professor at the Indiana University School of Journalism, for his guidance during her time in Bloomington.

farlow
Photo by Ann Schertz
Melissa Farlow credited the late Will Counts with cultivating her love of photography.  Since then, “my life has not only been enriched by relationships with photographers, coworkers and editors, but also by the relationships with the subjects,” she said.

“When I got to Indiana University, it was really the first time I picked up a camera,” she said. “And it was Will Counts who was such an inspiration and meant so much to all of us. His enthusiasm and guidance was critical to many people who studied journalism here.”

Farlow has since covered subjects ranging from social issues to wildlife. She won a Pulitzer for helping document race riots in Louisville, Ky., in 1976. She spent time at a few newspapers before working for National Geographic. She’s traveled all over the world and throughout the U.S. shooting photos as diverse as wild mustangs, mountain tops flattened for coal mining and clear-cutting in Alaska.

“I know how fortunate I am to have fallen into this field and survived so long,” she said. “My life has not only been enriched by relationships with photographers, coworkers and editors, but also by the relationships with the subjects.”

The late Jerry Lyst’s legacy resides in his work as a reporter and editor for the Indianapolis Star for 45 years. After studying journalism at IU, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1956, where he served as a radio operator and later as editor of the Seventh Army Sentinel. He was honored by his widow, Sharon Lyst, and former Indianapolis Star editorial editor and current columnist Andrea Neal.

Neal, who was hired by Lyst as an editorial writer in the mid-‘90s, said colleagues viewed Lyst as a caring, considerate and “gentle” man beyond his impeccable work ethic.

“During his remarkable career in journalism, Jerry wrote about cops and communism, justice and jobs, supermarkets and free markets, and everything in between,” she said. “But when you talk to people who knew him, his high-powered career is rarely what comes to mind first.”

The late Lowell Mellett began his career in journalism at 16 as a high school correspondent for the Muncie Star, covering the Democratic National Convention in 1900. He then became the editor of Washington Daily News, where he was boss and friend of war correspondent Ernie Pyle.

During World War II, Mellett worked for President Roosevelt on several committees and boards. After the war, he returned to writing as a columnist for the Washington Star.

Jack Ronald started his journalistic career as publisher and editor at the Commercial Review in Portland, Ind., before expanding his horizons internationally. He became an advocate for independent journalism, lecturing and mentoring journalists in 11 countries across Central Asia. He was at one point deported from a former Soviet nation due to his work with independent newspapers.

“The concepts I was teaching there are so elementary to most of us that we take it for granted,” he said. “I found myself teaching the obvious in environments where those basic concepts were alien.”

Tash began his career after receiving a scholarship and internship at the St. Petersburg Times, where he later became a full-time reporter. Now the CEO of Times Publishing, he led the company through hard times and helped mold the newspaper, now the Tampa Bay Times, to become the largest newspaper in Florida.

tash
Photo by Ann Schertz
Paul Tash is publisher and CEO of Times Publishing, which owns the Tampa Bay Tribune. He said he is proud of his organization’s nine Pulitzers, five awarded during his years with the company, including the latest for a series of editorials urging the local council to reinstitute fluoride in drinking water.

“I think for most of us involved in this tremendous work today, we can remember the great obligation that goes to ensuring the opportunity for that type of work in the enterprises we’ve made for ourselves,” he said.

Tash is proud of his organization’s nine Pulitzers, five awarded during his years with the company, including the latest for a series of editorials urging the local council to reinstitute fluoride in drinking water.

“A generation of kids can be thankful, even if they don’t know to be thankful now, that their health will be better because of the kind of work that good journalism makes day in and day out,” Tash said.

Earlier in the day, the organization honored the Woman's Press Club of Indiana, which is celebrating 100 years this year.

Hall of fame executive director Larry Taylor closed the ceremony with an appeal for nominations.

“We would really like your help in identifying the class of 2014,” he told the audience. Nominations are due in October.

The Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame was established in 1966 by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to honor journalists with strong ties to Indiana who’ve had significant impact nationally or locally through their work. It now is a partner with the Indiana University School of Journalism, which houses the hall's archives, and works with the hall in producing its website and induction ceremony.

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