Dan K. Thomasson, a longtime Washington journalist and former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers, has covered many of the country’s defining moments and continues to write a syndicated column that examines current events ranging from immigration policy to the gun control debate to Google Glass.
At IU, the Shelbyville native studied education, was editor of the Indiana Daily Student, chairman of Little 500 and president of the IU Student Foundation. He also worked as a stringer for AP while in Bloomington. He graduated in 1960.
Thomasson first joined The Indianapolis Star, where he stayed until he was drafted. At Fort Sill, Okla., he edited the post newspaper and moonlighted as night news director for the Lawton (Oklahoma) ABC news affiliate and as a reporter for the Lawton Constitution.
His career took him to the Rocky Mountain News, where he was political editor, and, in 1964, newspaper owner Scripps Howard sent Thomasson to Washington, where he covered Sen. Edward Kennedy’s accident that killed a young campaign worker in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, and broke the story of President John F. Kennedy’s affairs.
He covered Congress, presidential election campaigns and conventions as chief congressional correspondent for the chain. He was promoted to managing editor, then editor of Scripps Howard News Service and, by 1986, vice president for news. In 1996, he was named vice president of the organization.
Thomasson continued to report and write columns even as he rose through the ranks. He wrote about FBI actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and about the Atlanta and Oklahoma City bombings. Since his retirement in 1999, Thomasson writes a syndicated weekly column covering current topics.
When inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1997, Thomasson told the organization’s biographer that he is most proud of his 23 years with the Scripps Howard News Service. Under his leadership, the service expanded from an in-house operation to an international wire service with hundreds of clients.
Thomasson is a trustee at Franklin (Indiana) College and is a member of several journalism schools’ advisory boards, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Raymond Clapper Foundation, the Gridiron Club and the National Press Club. He was inducted into the Society of Professional Journalists’ Washington, D.C., chapter’s Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1997.