Diana Hadley has dedicated her career to educating and advocating for new generations of journalists.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Purdue in 1971, Hadley took a job at Mooresville High School, where she taught English, speech and journalism for more than 30 years. Despite having no journalism experience, she was assigned to advise the school’s newspaper and teach a journalism course. Incidentally, that was perhaps the single most significant assignment of her life.
“It was the best thing I did, and it was a happy accident,” she said.
Through teaching and advising, she developed an admiration for journalism, which inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University. It took eight years to complete. Although it was challenging to continue to teach, advise publications and earn a master’s degree, dean Richard Gray and advisor Mary Benedict scheduled classes after 4 p.m. and during the summer, allowing Hadley to attend. The rich experience forged a loyalty to IU and the High School Journalism Institute she maintained for the rest of her career.
Hadley spent 10 years advising Mooresville’s television news outlet, 23 advising the school’s yearbook staff and all 33 advising its newspaper staff.
Hadley established the school’s television news outlet when the school received a gift of free broadcast equipment. She developed a broadcast class in which students produced the morning and afternoon announcements. She came to school at 6:30 a.m. every day to supervise her students.
In 1986, Hadley received the Indiana High School Press Association’s Ella Sengenberger Adviser of the Year award. In 1996, she was named Distinguished Adviser of the Year by the Dow Jones News Fund. In 2000, she was a finalist for the Indiana Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year award.
In 2004, after retiring from Mooresville, Hadley began a part-time job at Franklin College as assistant director of IHSPA and part-time instructor in Franklin’s journalism school. She eventually became director of IHSPA and served in that role for 13 years.
Though she didn’t directly advise a high school newspaper or yearbook staff, Hadley continued to dedicate herself to improving the field of high school journalism. She corresponded with high school journalism advisors seeking advice and trekked across Indiana to assist teachers and advisors as they struggled through administrative hassles, freedom of press issues and any other problem that might plague a high school newspaper.
Hadley also started a First Amendment Day at the Statehouse each March — giving up to 400 high school students the opportunity to observe the legislative process — and coordinated the evaluation of hundreds of newspapers and yearbooks to create an annual statewide awards program. She also taught at IU’s High School Journalism Institute for more than 30 summers.
Hadley retired from IHSPA in 2017.
Hadley has received honors and recognition from the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, the Indiana State Teachers Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Indiana Department of Education, the Independent Colleges of Indiana and the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana/National Federation of Press Women. In 2017, she received a Sagamore of the Wabash.