The Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame

     The Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame was established in 1985 by the Rhode Island Press Association to honor journalists who have been influential in their profession. The first members were inducted in the fall of 1986.

     The members of the Hall of Fame are chosen by a committee of the press association and approved by the board. Copies of the plaques awarded to inductees are displayed in the lobby of the Chafee building on the University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston.

     The latest inductees to the Hall of Fame were Joe Baker, reporter for the Newport Daily News; the late Peter Connell, Sports Writer and Editor for Observer Publications, Inc. and The Valley Breeze Observer; Katherine Gregg, State House Reporter for the Providence Journal; and the late Bob Thayer, a photographer for the Providence Journal.  

     The four were honored at the press association's annual banquet on April 27, 2018. 

     To learn about the members of the Hall of Fame, please navigate the pages below. If you would like to nominate an individual to the Hall of Fame, please click here

   1986-1989          1990-1999          2000-2009          2010-Present     

Class of 2009

Faith McNulty - The New Yorker

     Tenacious big-city reporter, reflective chronicler of small-town living, defender of wildlife, teller of tales downy-soft and chisel-hard, Faith McNulty, a longtime South County resident, embodied the romance and resolve of American journalism.

    Making her mark in an era when there were few women in the craft, she began as a copy girl at the New York Daily News, where she fell in love with future husband John McNulty – and never looked back over a career as a writer for Life magazine, the Office of War Information in London during World War II, and the New Yorker and Audubon magazines.

     A New Yorker by birth, she was equally adept at reporting stories as disturbing as domestic violence and as calming as the rescue of a field mouse. Her 1980 nonfiction best-seller, “The Burning Bed,” reported how a wife set fire to her abusive husband as he slept, and was later acquitted of the killing on grounds of self-defense. The book focused national attention on domestic abuse, and became a television movie.

     Likewise, her books on endangered whales, whooping cranes and black-footed ferrets produced widespread concern over disappearing wildlife.

     For decades, her “Talk of the Town” pieces for the New Yorker provided glimpses of the quiet life in pastoral South County, which she adopted as her permanent home after summering there in her early years.

     Her keen intellect sharpened her reporting, and her gentle nature coursed liked a scream through her stories and her books for children. The two qualities coalesced in her work, which, no matter what the topic under her soft yet perceptive eye, always touched the heart. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2009.

Leonard J. Panaggio - The Newport Daily News

     Len Panaggio is a journalist who spent a significant portion of his life in public service. But he is also known to journalists for writing about the history of Newport in a twice-weekly column for the Newport Daily News for more than 30 years.

     He began his journalism career in 1940, publishing the Portsmouth Gazette and Middletown News. While serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, he was assigned to edit the base newspaper in Casablanca in addition to working as the squadron clerk. After the war, Panaggio started a weekly paper, the Newport Topic, in 1946 that he later sold. From 1948 to 1952, he worked for Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts as publicity directors, then was director of the Rhode Island Tourist Promotion Division from 1952 to 1983. Together with his wife, Monique, who was the publicity director for the Newport County Preservation Society, he spent three decades promoting tourism in Rhode Island and in Newport in particular. During this time, Panaggio was very active in the Rhode Island Press Association, serving on the board and eventually becoming president in 1973. It is no small achievement that through his efforts, Rhode Island became a tourist destination rather than a gateway to Cape Cod.

     An avid historian who has chronicled Newport history, he has spent most of his life promoting the city to the rest of the

country. When the fleet was wthdrawn from Newport in 1973, Panaggio helped plant the tourism seeds that saved the region's economy.

     He also created Rhode Island Heritage Month in May, promoting Newport's mansions and other historic houses throughout the state, as well as accentuating numerous events that have made Rhode Island a year-round destination.

Len Panaggio's lifelong devotion to journalism and history has enabled thousands of Rhode Islanders to have a better understanding of their state and Newport in particular.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2009.

Joel P. Rawson - The Providence Journal

     From his desk in the Providence Journal newsroom, Joel Rawson put a significant stamp on American journalism. He pioneered what has come to be known as narrative journalism or storytelling, a departure from the decades-old practice of writing stories in the venerated inverted-pyramid style. There is still room for that in newspaper columns, but stories emphasizing real-life situations, drama and a narrative arc have been adopted by newspapers all over the United States.

     The Journal under Rawson's guidance was known for excellent writing but certainly did not abandon its role as a watchdog on behalf of the region's citizens. In 1994, when he was the paper's deputy executive editor, the paper won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for its exposure of corruption in Rhode Island's court system. In 2004, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer for public service, based on its coverage of the Station nightclub fire.

     Sometimes known as a tough editor to work for, Rawson nevertheless showed unswerving loyalty to his newsroom and its denizens, most of whom responded in kind.

     A native of upstate New York and an alumnus of the University of Maine with graduate work at Syracuse University, Rawson served during the Vietnam War as an Army reconnaissance pilot. He joined the Providence Journal as a copy editor in 1971 and rose rapidly through the ranks. He left the Journal in the late 1980s to become managing editor of the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader, but returned to Providence after three years, at first as deputy executive editor, then as executive editor. Rawson retired in April of 2008 as senior vice president and executive editor.

     In retirement, Rawson wrote, continued to be sought out to speak on journalism, and managed to find time to fly his two airplanes.Inducted into the Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame, May 2009.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2009.

Class of 2008

Ken Weber - The Providence Journal

     The mysteries and joys of nature and wildlife large and small were Ken Weber's beat. Though he toiled in the relative anonymity of a newspaper copy desk, he found an admiring public with his weekly essays on the wonders and delights to be found as close to us as our back yards.

     A native of Ottoville, Ohio, Weber came to the Providence Journal in 1971 as a copy editor for the sports section after working in news and sports and as a columnist for newspapers in Ohio and Indiana. Soon he began writing nature essays for the Journal's Sunday Magazine. The Magazine ceased publication in 1995, but his column continued, appearing every Saturday on the paper's Commentary page. When Weber retired from the Journal as a section editor in 1996, he continued to write the column.

     The columns had a wide readership, drawing praise for what was described after Weber's death as their “deep knowledge, acute observation and charm.” He wrote in a gentle voice, with appropriate touches of whimsy as needed.     

     He wrote several nature-related books. One, “Weekend Walks in Rhode Island: 40 Trails for Hiking. Birding & Nature Viewing,”

was in its fourth edition in 2007. Another popular volume was “Paddling Southern New England: 30 Canoe Trips in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.”

     Weber was a member of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and was a charter member of the Smithfield Land Trust, in his hometown. He played senior softball and coached in the Little Legaue and CYO. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2008.

Luis Martins - East Bay Newspapers

     A true Renaissance man, Luis Martins came to journalism after a career as a master carpenter, composer, band director and poet. He was best known in the East Bay area Rhode Island as the editor of Communidade Luisiada, which came to be known as the Portuguese Page, in the East Bay Newspapers, a chain of local paper stretching for East Providence to Newport to Westport, Massachusetts.

     For more than 30 years, Martins and a collaborator, Henrique Medeiros, wrote and edited – in Portuguese – news for the page, which provided readers of Azorean heritage with news of their native islands.

Born in the town of Pico da Pedra, in Sao Miguel, Agores, Martins emigrated to America in 1951. In the "old country," he took up the family trade of woodworking and became a master carpenter, a craft he worked at until he retired. He also let a band in his hometown, composing some of its music. A passionate poet, he was noted for verses about life in the Azores.     

     For more than three decades, starting in 1972, Martins produced 1,600 issues of the Portuguese Page. Not only did he and his collaborator write and edit news for the page, they pasted it up. He also served as a local correspondent for the Portuguese Daily

News of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and the Luso-Americano of Newark, New Jersey. Frequently the Portuguese page was the first to report an item of news important to his community.     

     Martins was chosen Man of the Year by the Portuguese Beneficial Association Don Luiz Filipe, and in 1982 the Portuguese government inducted him into the prestigious Order of Prince Henry the Navigator. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2008.

Rudi Hempe - The North Kingstown Standard Times

     Reporter and photographer, bureau chief and editor, teacher and mentor, defender of the public's right to know — Rudi Hempe personifies the Compleat Journalist.

     In a career spanning more than four decades, he strengthened the content of Rhode Island newspapers large and small, reporting and commenting on myriad issues sprung from the breeze shores of South County to the gaseous halls of the General Assembly.

     Hempe forged the tools of his trade at the University of Rhode Island, where he earned a degree in journalism, and used them doggedly and skillfully to inform and guide.

     From his early days in newspapering, when he joined the Providence Journal part-time as a URI student in 1961, through a distinguished career including 7 years at the Journal and then 36 more with the weekly and biweekly newspaper chain covering southern Rhode Island, Hempe mastered every level of his craft from general assignment reporting to editorial writing.     

     He wore a wide assortment of journalistic hats with equal aplomb. After serving as regional bureau manager for the Journal

during a tenure interrupted by military service in Vietnam, he later became managing editor of the local papers, juggling newsroom responsibilities with budgeting, hiring, and special projects.

     His stamp on a newspaper was a seal of quality and character. In 1972, the Standard-Times of North Kingstown, which he edited from 1970-1976, was voted best weekly in New England by the regional press association. The paper's many awards for general excellence reflected his personal standards.

     Hempe was also a founder of AccessRI, which works to ensure public access to government meetings and records.

     His achievements did not go unrecognized by his peers; in 2001 he joined the ranks of those inducted into the New England Journalism Hall of Fame.

     In 2005, after his retirement to part-time writing for his alma mater, he received the prestigious and seldom-given Goddard Award for his significant contributions to activities and programs of the Rhode Island Press Association, which he served in multiple capacities including board member and president.

     Finding time also to serve URI as an adjunct professor of journalism, Hempe was a recognized mentor who took scores of aspiring journalists under his sturdy wing. A master gardener by avocation, he delighted in planting seeds of journalistic excellence in the young minds that would assure the future of his craft.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2008.

Class of 2007

Fred Friendly - WEAN / CBS

     The New York Times obituary of Fred Friendly described him as a “towering figure in the evolution of news coverage on television,” who with Edward R. Morrow “virtually invented the news documentary on television, pioneering such techniques as the use of original film clips, live, unrehearsed interviews and the use of field producers who supervised reporting on location.”

     Friendly's achievements in TV Journalism were all the more remarkable because he frequently clashed with network executives over subject matter and air time. When he was the president of CBS News, he resigned abruptly because the network ran an “I Love Lucy” rerun instead of an important Senate committee hearing on the war in Vietnam. He proceeded to carve out new careers as a pioneer of educational television, a teacher and an author.

     Born in New York City and named Ferdinand Friendly Wachenheimer, he moved with his parents to Providence in the 1920s. After high school and business college, he took a job at Providence radio station WEAN. He began using the name Fred Friendly and adopted the name legally in 1938. He served in the Army in World War II and spent some time as a reporter for an Army newspaper in the China-Burma-India Theater.

     After the war, Friendly joined NBC radio, then went in 1950 to CBS, where he met Murrow. The two collaborated on a series of historical record albums called I Can Hear It Now. In 1950, they produced a documentary radio series called Hear It Now, and in 1951 the show moved to TV as See It Now. During the program's seven-year run, notable episodes included a critical look at Senator Joseph McCathy and an expose on the plight of migrant workers.

     Friendly worked as the Ford Foundation after quitting CBS, running media seminars and creating many of the ground rules for public access television. Later he was a professor of broadcast journalism at the Columbia School of Journalism, and wrote several well-received books on First Amendment issues. He won many journalism awards during his lifetime.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007.

George Trafford - The Providence Journal / The North Kingstown Standard Times

     Copyboys who rise through the ranks to become reporters is stuff of stereotypical movie scripts but that's exactly how long-time columnist George E. Trafford began his career – only he did it with a 16-year sidetrack in the composing room.

     Born in Providence, Trafford attended LaSalle Academy. He was graduated on a Friday night and the next morning he began work as a Providence Journal copyboy. After one year, he transferred to the paper's treasurer's office as a mail clerk and five years later decided to apply for a composing room job operating Linotype machines and other devices used in the hot-lead era of newspaper production.

     As computers started making inroads in the composing room, the Journal started reducing staff and offered compositors financial packages including trade school tuition and retraining opportunities. Trafford was interested in one of the six reporting slots that were open and he was accepted for on-the-job training in the newsroom. He also decided to get an associate's degree in public administration from what is now Roger Williams University.

     Retrained as a reporter, he spent the next 20 years in the Journal's West Bay Bureau covering local government. Trafford

was always open to wacky assignments – anything for a feature. One time he was a mall Santa Claus, another time he had to play tic-tac-toe with a chicken (the chicken won) and still another when he went on his regular rounds wearing a hairpiece on his normally bald head and no one noticed. But he was best known for his weekly column, “West Bay Faces,” which profiled ordinary residents in that section of the state.

     He retired in 1977 and moved to Las Vega but couldn't find suitable part-time work there. Returning to Rhode Island, where his family lived, his timing was perfect - three month later he landed a reporting slot at the weekly North Kingstown Standard-Times, where he specializes in covering school events and continues his love for profiling ordinary people with a weekly column called “Our Folks.”

     One of his most notable stories was the coverage he gave to a North Kingstown teacher who was awarded the coveted title of National Teacher of the Year by President George W. Bush in 2004. Over his desk is another coveted award – First Place for Best General News story in 2004 awarded by the New England Press Association.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007.

Mae Keighley Adams - The Providence Journal

     Under the byline of Mae Keighley, she was a pioneer food writer in Rhode Island, New England and indeed the United States. At a time when food writers occupied a mostly national stage, and when restaurant reviewing was in its infancy, Mae Keighley, in a 15-year career as the food writer for the Providence Journal-Bulletin, had a deep influence on Rhode Islanders' mealtime habits.

     A native of Cranston, Mae Keighley did not intend to pursue a career in culinary journalism. She intended to be a dietitian, and studied the subject at the University of Rhode Island. But after getting a degree from URI, and while doing an internship at a hospital in Baltimore, she decided that she would rather write about food than plan menus. She began as a freelancer, writing articles on food for the Narragansett Times for $1.50 apiece. In 1951, the Providence Journal-Bulletin began using her articles and eventually the newspaper hired as as its first – and one of America's very few – full-time food editors.     

     Keighley labored under handicaps not generally endured by today's food writers. At the time, newspapers did not run food sections, and she had to share space on what was in those days called the women's section. But her reporting and writing were innovative. Keighley frequently got out of the kitchen, writing about Navy chefs, ethnic cooks, institutional kitchens and many

other topics. She wrote about recipes used by popular restaurants in Rhode Island. She wrote a cookbook that the Journal-Bulletin published in 1962, sold for 25 cents, and had to reprint three times     

     She left the Journal-Bulletin after her first husband died in a car crash and family needs required her to stay home. She subsequently married Gordon Adams, a deep-sea fisherman. Mae Keighley Adams has been a longtime resident of South County. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007.

Marion Perkins - The Cranston Herald

     For 17 years, Marion M. Perkins held the distinction of being the first woman sports editor in Rhode Island, covering a wide variety of sports for the Cranston Herald and leaving a lasting impression on her sports writing contemporaries, who were all male.

     Perkins, a native of Warwick, took a job in the office of the Cranston Herald in 1949 and when shortly thereafter the sports editor became ill, she was asked to fill in for him until a replacement was found.

     There was no need for a replacement as she dove into the sports writing field, demonstrating that there was plenty of news at the high school level, including her favorite beat covering the championship Cranston East High School Swim Team. While maintaining local sports coverage, she also delved into the collegiate and professional arenas, including the Providence Reds, football and boxing.

     She went beyond game scores, exploring the personal sides of athletes, their work ethics and how they achieved. As her son Earle once wrote, “Her age of writing included the glory days of athletes and sports and she was able to share her understanding

of them with the readers.”

     In an era when sports writing was a male bastion, she was able to obtain Red Sox press credentials by abbreviating her name “M.M. Perkins.” When she showed up at the Red Sox press box, she was denied access by a policeman who barred entrance to all women, even one with credentials. A distinguished looking man passed by and asked what was going on. When told of the male-only press box rule, the man invited Perkins to his private box anytime she wanted to cover the team. The man was owner Tom Yawkey.

     Perkins was the only female member of Words Unlimited, the Rhode Island sportswriters' organization, and was admitted to the R.I. Aquatics Hall of Fame.

     When she died, Frank Lemming, the Providence Journal's famous sports cartoonist, drew a memorial to her, credited her for being a “thoroughly capable” sportswriter who was “unassuming and gracious and extremely popular with her fellow sportswriters.”

     Her trademark column, “Sports Slants by Perk,” helped open the door for future female sportswriters. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007.

Class of 2006

Jack White - The Providence Journal / WPRI TV

     Begin with what he was not: a pretty face on the TV screen. Segue to what he was: one of the best investigative reporters of his generation, winner of a Pulitzer Prize during his newspaper career at the Providence Journal, and of Emmy Awards while the chief investigative reporter for WPRI-TV, Channel 12. Jack White's unexpected and untimely death at the age of 63 undoubtably prevented his winning many more honors. As a former colleague told the Journal, “He was one hell of a reporter.”

     First a print journalist,specializing in investigative reporting, White made the transition to broadcast journalism as if nothing had changed, just the medium. Raised in Pawtucket, he attended Boston University, then went to work for the Newport Daily News in 1969. In 1970, the Journal hired him as a reporter in its Newport bureau. Before long, he was an investigative reporter, and in 1973 he learned - he never disclosed his sources - that President Richard Nixon had grossly underpaid his income taxes. His story earned him the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, and made him famous in a way when Nixon said, in a nationally televised news conference, “I am not a crook.”

     In 1978, White left the Journal for a higher-paying job at WBZ-TV. In 1981 he returned to print journalism, joining the Cape 

Cod Times as a reporter and columnist. He joined WPRI in 1985. He did many reports on organized crime and crooked politicians. White won an Emmy in 1992 for his coverage of fugitive banker Joseph Mollicone, and a second Emmy in 2005 for stories on Providence city officials who lived outside Providence in violation of city residency requirements.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2006.

John Howell - Beacon Communications

     John I. Howell the publisher buys newspapers, hires editors and reporters, and watches the bottom line. John Howell the editor refuses to sit at his desk when there’s a story to cover. He is seen frequently around the city of Warwick, camera slung over his shoulder, notepad in hand, wherever the big news is, and his byline is as familiar to his readers as those of his reporters.

     A graduate of American University with a bachelor of arts in political science, Howell began his journalism career as a reporter for the Daily Item in Port Chester, New York, and traveled to Vietnam, where he provided coverage for the Gannett Newspapers From there he moved to the Hartford Times, where he was the bureau chief for the Manchester, Connecticut, area. In 1969, he came to Rhode Island to edit the East Providence Post and later that year created Beacon Communications and sold stock to purchase the Warwick Beacon.. The company went on to start or purchase five other community newspapers.

      While he is a member of a number of organizations in Rhode Island, one closest to his heart is the Academic Decathlon, which he founded in 1983 and has led as president since then. He also is president of the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership and is a 

past president of the CCRI Foundation and the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the boards of the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, the Kent Hospital board of incorporators and the Rhode Island Press Association. He is a founder and board member of the Warwick Music Festival and a former member of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. His work as a reporter and photographer has garnered for him awards from the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association and the Suburban Newspapers of America.

     Busy as he is, when the weather warms up, John can be found sailing the waters of Narragansett Bay.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2006

Class of 2005

Albert K. Sherman Jr. - The Newport Daily News

     The Newport Daily News, the only remaining family-owned daily newspaper in Rhode Island, was founded in 1846. Its sister paper, the weekly Newport Mercury, was established in 1758by Benjamin Franklin's brother. That distinguished lineage places an enormous burden on the person in charge, and in its current publisher, Albert “Buck” Sherman Jr. that task is being handled in a manner worth of the finest attributes of community journalism. The Daily News covers its communities thoroughly and takes vigorous editorial stands.

     Buck Sherman is the son of one of two brothers who were co-publishers of the Daily News. He started in the newspaper business from the ground up, delivering the Daily News at the age of 12. At 14 he started working in the mailroom. He interrupted this practical education to attend Boston University where he received a degree in psychology. Back at the Daily News, he began in 1966 as a bookkeeper (the only job available at the time), became business manager in 1968, then general manager an assistant publisher, taking over as publisher when hi father retired in 1984.

     He has been active in local civic groups and is a former president of the New England Newspaper Association.

     Among the Daily News' editorial stands he recalls with pride, he singles out its successful effort to gain support of the Newport Bridge construction and its opposition to casino gambling in Newport. It would be hard to find a newspaper publisher who has served his community as well as Buck Sherman has.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2000.

John C. Minkins - The Providence News

     John Minkins was one of the true pioneers of Rhode Island journalism yet seems to fly under the radar of recent generations of journalists in the state. He spent a half-century as a newspaperman, almost all of it in Rhode Island, working for both Republican and Democratic newspapers, and traveled easily and most competently a part of the otherwise all-white newspaper establishment.

     Born in 1869 in Norfolk, VA, he graduated in 1888 from the Norfolk Mission College, intending to be a teacher. He changed careers after being hired by the Norfolk Evening Telegram to report on the city's African-American community.

     He came to Providence in 1891 and was hired by the Providence News. In 1892 he went to the Evening & Sunday Telegram, where he made a name for himself with his coverage of the Lizzie Borden trial. In 1990 he was hired by the Pawtucket Times as a copy editor and editorial writer. At the same time, he was a correspondent for the Hearst Newspapers and contributed news to other New York dallies and the Boston Globe. In 1904, he returned to the Evening Telegram as news editor and Sunday editor, and in 1906 he returned to the Providence News, where he soon became editor-in-chief – the first black editor, he boasted, of a

white-owned newspaper. He was editor until 1910, when he moved to the Providence Evening Tribune and also purchased the weekly Rhode Island Examiner.

     Minkins' 50-year newspaper career ended when he retired in 1938, but he continued to write and lecture on local, national and world issues and received many honors and appointments from government and private organizations. He and his wife, Rosa Jessup Minkins, sent four of their five daughters to Pembroke College. He died in 1959 at the age of 90.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2005.

William "Bill" Parrillo - The Providence Journal

     To be a good sports reporter, you have to be a good reporter. To be a good sports writer, you have to be a good writer. Those simple precepts guided Bill Parrillo throughout a career in which he won praise and awards from his peers, recognition for his dedication to the craft of journalism. Nowhere was this dedication more evident than in October of 1989, when he was in San Francisco covering the World Series and an earthquake struck. In an instant, Parrillo dropped the sports writer's role and became a hard-news reporter. His stories and columns from the scene of the destructive earthquake are memorable. He reached out to a wider audience again in 2000, when he wrote about his kidney and liver transplant.

     In writing about sports, Parrillo was not content to write about balls and strikes, touchdowns and field goals. He sought out the interesting characters, the unusual situations and – always – the hometown angle. His coverage of the Olympics could always be expected to provide angles overlooked by the rest of the reporters.

     A native and lifelong resident of Johnston, RI, Parillo was one of the first graduates of the journalism program at the University of Rhode Island, receiving his degree in 1963. He spent his entire career at the Providence Journal-Bulletin, until his 

untimely death at the age of 60. He was the New England Patriots beat writer in the 1970s, then began writing his column. Although he covered virtually every major sporting event in the United States, Bill Parrillo always considered himself a newsman.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2005.

Class of 2004

A.J. Liebling - The Providence Journal / The New Yorker

     Abbott Joseph Liebling gained renown as a trencherman, war correspondent, observer of life and critic of the press on stages as diverse as New York, Providence and Normandy. It was Rhode Island that played a major role in nurturing him and preparing him for the larger world. Libeling spent 4 ½ years in the late 1920s at the Providence Journal-Bulletin, interrupted by a stay in Paris. Providence was Libeling's second port of call – legend has it that he was fired from his first job, as a sports department factotum for the New York Times, for identifying the referee in all the Times' basketball box scores as “Ignote” - Italian for unknown.

     Born in New York City, the son of a middle-class parents, Liebling was admitted to Dartmouth College, but was expelled in his sophomore year for failing to attend chapel services. He promptly enrolled at the Columbia School of Journalism. After his stint at the Times, at just 21 years old, he became a reporter and feature writer at the Journal, in which position, he later said, “I oozed prose over every aspect of Rhode Island life.” Returning to New York in 1930, he hooked on with the World Telegram, where he

spent five years writing about all sorts of odd and offbeat characters, then joined the staff of the New Yorker, where he did thesame.

     In 1946, back from covering World War II, Liebling took over the New Yorker's “Wayward Press” column and immediately endeared himself to rank-and-file journalists everywhere by focusing attention on the perceived faults and inconsistencies of newspaper proprietors and the steady disappearance of competition. If for nothing else, he will be remembered for writing, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.”

     After a life of journalism described by his biographer as “cheerful and defiant,” Liebling died in 1963 at the age of 59.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2004.

Class of 2003

Gerald Goldstein - The Providence Journal

     When the Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame was created, the founders must have had a journalist like Gerald S. Goldstein in mind as the ideal candidate.

     Goldstein's career spanned the era of great technical transition in newspaper production but there was one constant he always observed – getting the story and all the details and crafting them into prose that was always reader-friendly. As one of his peers once said, “if there's a story out there, he's going to get it and write it so everyone will read it.”

     Born in Saranac Lake, N.Y., he spent virtually his entire life in Rhode Island. He was in the first class of journalism students to be graduated from the University of Rhode Island where he made his mark on the student newspaper, championing women's rights long before it became vogue.

     Upon graduation he became a reporter, then editor of the Narragansett Times, a Wakefield weekly that he retooled with his uncanny news sense into a paper that annually won scores of awards in New England competition.

     In 1976, he left the Times joined the Providence Journal which put him back on his old South County beat as bureau manager

in Wakefield, becoming mentor to scores of young journalists.

     In 1983, the newspaper went through a remake to make it more “personal” to readers and one of Goldstein's duties was to write a weekly column.

     With rare exception, his columns were not in the first person. Rather he sought out local characters, many of them obscure, who had interesting lives or experiences. He relished the challenge of coming up annually with the best Christmas story and he has the uncanny knack of finding column subjects that literally walked in through his office door.

     It wasn't long before Goldstein the journalist because known as Goldstein the columnist. His columns were thoughtful, well crafted and often poignant. They won statewide first place awards every year and while they drew his biggest audience, several of his feature stories attracted New England awards.

     In 2001, Goldstein decided to take advantage of an early retirement opportunity. After a short stint as consulting editor for a Jewish publication, he retired to a small farm to care for miniature horses and other animals. Many of his peers, however, expect and hope that Gerry Goldstein, a pure wordsmith, will appear in print again.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2003.

Gloria Smith Russell - The Westerly Sun

     With the election of Gloria Russell to the Rhode Island Press Association's Journalism Hall of Fame, a spotlight is shone on one of the premier workers in journalism's “trenches” - a humble but honorable term. And Gloria Russell indeed does the term honor. Over 40 years, her career has seen her gain tenure at four newspapers and two radio stations, dabble briefly in politics and gain a measure of renown by becoming the first woman reporter at the Westerly Sun. And she was so dilettante – hard news, features, series, the entire gamut of the reporter's work.

     A native of Stonington, Conn., Russell began in journalism as an on-air reporter at radio station WERI in Westerly. In 1966, she joined the Westerly Sun as a reporter. She boasts – with justified pride – that she got to fires by grabbing a ride on the fire truck.

From the Sun, she went in the '70s to the Gronton (Conn.) News and then to the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin. In 1976 she became a correspondent for the Providence Journal, writing Sunday and feature articles and covering the news in the Journal's Westerly Bureau.

     After an unsuccessful run for the Westerly Town Council, she took some time off for health reasons, returned to radio as news director of WERI, then left journalism to help her husband run a store. But the newspaper bug bit her again and in 2000 she answered an ad by the Sun seeking news correspondents. She was hired, and at a time when many people, journalists included, are relaxing in retirement, Gloria Russell is producing a full quota of stories and, indeed, was the lead reporter on a major continuing story involving financial mismanagement in town government. In her spare time, she appears as a guest host and as a guest on a local radio station.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2003.

William A. Crouse - The Woonsocket Call

     Bill Crouse, whose four decades in journalism included 31 years at the Woonsocket Call, had a passion for news. “Newspaper work is a great and exciting business,” he said in a speech two years before his retirement. Indeed, his passion led him to earn a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a series of 33 articles in 1947 entitled “Pattern for Progress,” in which he outlined the needs for charter revision in Woonsocket. Besides the Pulitzer nomination, the series won a first price from the New England Associated Press News Executives Association. The very next year, he shared another NEAPNEA first prize, a series on the migration of the textile industry from Woonsocket to the South.

     William A. Crouse, who served as reporter, city editor and managing editor at the Call, was born in Salem, Mass., and grew up in Danvers. He studied journalism at Boston University, then worked at newspapers in Salem, Danvers and Beverly, Mass., where he became city editor in 1938. After stints in public relations in Florida and New Jersey, and a job with Annenberg Publications, he enlisted in the Navy in World War II and served as a yeoman first class.

     Crouse joined the Woonsocket Call as a reporter in 1947 and covered municipal affairs and politics, before being appointed the city editor and later the managing editor. He held the top newsroom position for 16 years from 1962 until his retirement in 1978.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2003.

Class of 2002

Brian Dickinson - The Providence Journal

     Brian Dickinson won the awe-filled admiration of journalistic colleagues and readers everywhere. For almost a decade, he contributed enlightened – frequently brilliant – commentary to the readers of the Providence Journal and the world at large, even though for most of that time Lou Gehrig's disease had left him totally paralyzed, except for the ability to move his eyes. This ability, computer devices, the constant devotion of his family and his towering intellect and understanding enabled him, as the Journal put it, “to put out a body of commentary whose eloquence, emotional precision and even humor drew international attention.”

     A Harvard graduate with a master's degree in political science from Brown University, he worked as a reporter at the Journal before becoming an editorial writer, editorial page editor and editorial columnist. After amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) was diagnoses in 1992, he was forced to use a cane, then two canes, then a walker and finally a wheelchair. Still, he refused to become a complete prisoner of his illness. Computer devices enabled him to write a regular column for the Journal. In his final years, even though he had lost all but the voluntary use of his eyes, he continued to write, using a system in which a

small camera tracked his eye movements and converted them into text. Though it took him hours to write a column by this method, the resulting prose was as cogent, informed, insightful and witty as always. The loving assistance and determination of his wife, Barbara, and their children were no small factor in maintaining his output.

     Brian Dickinson's last column, published on October 3, 2001, was a typical brilliant commentary on the September 11 terrorist attacks. Then he figuratively laid down his pen, and passed away almost exactly seven months later.

Inducted November 2002.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2000.

Elliott K. Stein - The Newport Daily News

     In a busy lifetime, Elliott Stein combined the careers of journalist, teacher, freelance writer, college administrator and public relations man. He also found time to be a war hero, a historian of World War II and an active member of his community.

     Born in Hartford, Conn., he received bachelor's and master's degrees from Trinity College in Hartford and did further studies at the Drexel Institute of Technology.

     Before plunging into journalism, Stein served his country as an Army rifleman in World War II. Wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, he received a number of medals and co-wrote a history of his Army company. After the war, he plunged into journalism, first working as a reporter in Southington, Conn., and then as an editor at the Hartford Courant. In the mid-1960s, he came to Newport to teach at the former Vernon Court Junior College and to serve as history department chairman and dean of general studies. After Vernon Court closed, Stein became affiliated with the Newport Daily News, first as a freelancer and then as a staff member. He became managing editor in 1979 and shepherded its staff through some award-winning journalism. One of his reporters described him as “mercurial, passionate, driven, hot-headed, puzzling, erudite, frenzied, outrageous, resourceful, caring

and stubborn.” and said that was only scratching the surface.

     Retiring from the Daily News in 1988, Stein immediately plunged into community work. He served as president of the Newport Lions Club and spearheaded the Rhode Island Lions Children's Cancer Fund. The list of organizations he served would fill this entire plaque. Even just a few months before his death, he participated in a National Security Seminar at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Elliott was a fighter to the end.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2002.

Emma Shaw Colcleugh - The Providence Journal (Historical)

     Beyond doubt, journalism was a male-dominated profession during Emma Shaw Colcleugh's 43-year tenure as a reporter for the Providence Journal. Perhaps she didn't notice, or if she did, she didn't let it prevent her from carving out a career as one of America's best travel writers, even though she didn't begin her career in journalism until she was 29 years old. And, even more remarkably, she combined her travel writing with the humdrum task of writing and editing a weekly column covering the news of Providence's women's clubs. The history of the Journal calls her “one of the most remarkable women ever to work for the Journal.”

     She was born Emma Shaw in Thompson, Connecticut. At the age of 18, in 1864, she became a teacher in Providence. This allowed her to travel in the summertime, and in 1875, planning a trip to Canada, she asked the Journal editors if they would publish articles she wrote about her travels. The newspaper agreed, and her freelance writing eventually led to a regular job.     Every summer while Colcleugh worked for the Journal, with the women's organizations presumably in a lull, she took a trip to some faraway land – the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, African countries, Cuba. From Cuba, she and fellow Journal women's reporter

Sarah Hopkins wrote inclusive articles about the poor conditions after the Spanish-American War. Her articles were syndicated in dozens of newspapers across the nation.

     In 1888, on a trip to Canada, she met a widower, Frederick W. Colcleugh. They were married in 1893 and divorced in 1897. She kept his name after the divorce. In 1927, at the age of 81, she finally retired from the Journal and moved back to Connecticut, where she died at the age of 94. She was a woman long neglected by the histories of Rhode Island journalism. This award, it is hoped, will restore her to her proper luster.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2002.

John P. Ford - The Observer

     There probably hasn't been an athlete in northern Rhode Island of any accomplishment large or small since the 1950s that John Ford has not covered.

     A sports writer for Observer Publications since 1959 and later a sports editor, Ford is one of the few remaining sports cartoonists in Rhode Island. His weekly column Sports Sidelines gave birth to his self-applied nickname “The Sideliner.” It is a name which has become well-known and respected by generations of athletic competitors in the communities he covers.

     Possessed of an impressive memory for names, faces and athletic achievements, Ford is as close to being a human encyclopedia of his region's sports history as is possible.

     His genius is his ability to bring this vast knowledge to bear when he writes about present day area athletes, placing them in the context of former competitors in the same sport. Regularly sons and daughters and even grandchildren of his former subjects write and call to praise his mention of their predecessors in his current reporting. His cartoons are treasured and can be found on the walls and in the trophy cases of all the schools he covers, and no doubt in countless scrapbooks.

     His own collection of sports articles, photos and memorabilia is extensive and serves as an important resource for his writing and for his newspapers and the community. It includes many columns he has written about major professional athletes, several of whom he began covering while they were still playing at local high schools.

     Humble and unassuming, Ford prides himself on his fairness to his region's teams and competitors, but confesses intense partisanship when it comes to Notre Dame sports. Since he rarely covers “The Fighting Irish,” he feels comfortable expressing his passion for the university's teams, especially in football. In 1988 Notre Dame made him an honorary alumni.

     A member of several halls of fame, including Words Unlimited and the Rhode Island Gridiron Club, Ford is most content when sitting at the keyboard of “old ironsides,” the typewriter he still uses, favoring it over the computer. His job, he has said, is the best antidote to aging he could imagine. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2002.

Class of 2001

Ellen Hall - The Observer

     For 26 years Ellen F. Hall reported, wrote, and edited the news of northern Rhode Island for The Observer.

     During her more than a quarter century in journalism Ellen served in many roles, rising to the post of editor in 1977.

     Under her editorship The Observer won numerous awards. In 1984 it was one of the only two papers in the United States to be honored by the American Association for State and Local history for his coverage of state and local history.

     Ellen was the recipient of many honors and awards ranging from the Rhode Island Press Association's 1985 first place for Best Editorial to citizens of the year from the Woonasquatucket Valley Rotary Club to the Golden Bone Award from Volunteer Services to Animals.

     Gruff and occasionally blunt, as are many busy editors, Ellen was known for her compassion and sense of fair play. Someone once said of her that she was a “mixture of sandpaper and stardust.”

     A graduate of both Tulane University and the Rhode Island School of Design, early in her life she worked as an airline flight attendant and as a lingerie designer.

     Both before embarking on her reporting career and after her retirement in 1987 she was deeply involved in the affairs of the community and her church.

     Among her many commitments she was a founding member of the Rhode Island Press Women and the North Providence Antiquities Society and a charter member of the North Providence League of Women Voters.

     The diverse nature of her interests and involvements was reflected in her work. The contacts she developed throughout the state proved to be a rich source of stories and information and even provided fodder for the crisply written, well-crafted editorials that were the signature of her career and for which she was justly and frequently recognized.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame October 2001.

John Lake - The Providence Journal

     For 35 years, John B. Lake, Jr., set the standards for community journalism with his coverage of the people and events in his beloved Pawtuxet Valley where he was bureau manager for the Providence Journal-Bulletin.

     “I never knew a reporter more in touch with everyday people than John,” a reporter who worked with Lake said once.

     That observation pretty much summed up what John Lake was all about.

     A native of Providence, Lake was a graduate of the Rhode Island College of Education (RICE) and also attended the Brown University graduate school and Johnson & Wales Business School.

     Early on he worked as a public relations director for a New Jersey hotel, a teacher of English, social studies and typing in Providence and as an office manager at the Quonset/Davisville Navy complex during World War II.

     His journalism career started as a campus correspondent while at RICE and he joined the Journal State Staff in 1945, rising to bureau manager in North Providence a year later. In 1949 he became bureau manager in West Warwick, a post he held until his retirement.

     He dressed in stylish jackers and ties and did his best work out of the office. His features on ordinary people in the Pawtuxet Valley area had high readership. Every column was a window into the valley's history, and he opened those windows with an unpretentious style. He often complained when his stories ended up Page One that “Nobody in the Valley will see it there.”

     On his retirement in 1984, accolades were plenty. Said one editor, “John knew his territory, sources, readers. He placed a person stamp of initiative and integrity on his work that would be the envy of any reporter anywhere.”

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame October 2001.

Mike D'Ambra - The Pawtucket Times

     Three things above all defined Mike D'Ambra during his 46-year career at the Times in Pawtucket: his unflagging enthusiasm for his work, his unmatched productivity and his ability to spot news stories where few of his colleagues saw them. He was still turning out copy for the Times at the age of 72 – frequently five or six new stories a day. And they were not minor stories; he covered the business community, wrote features, did major political pieces. Attending the weekly meetings of the Pawtucket Rotary and Lions Clubs, he would come back with enough story ideas to fill the paper.

     He was born and raised in Providence, worked as a reporter at the Providence Journal Bulletin, and went to the Times in 1943. He remained there until he retired in 1990, still, as a colleague said, with the enthusiasm of a rookie reporter.

     He covered stories large and small – of the Pope's visit to the U.S., America's Cup racing, the Claus von Bulow trial, a feature on a visiting Australian rancher or a story on a new head nurse. He was a fixture at meetings of the Pawtucket Rotary Club, the Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce, where he would read the news of the day to the assembled multitude and chat with

them, and pick up enough news tips to keep him busy until the next week's meeting. And if all this weren't enough, he frequently filled in for the city editor on that person's day off.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame October 2001.

Class of 2000

Carol McCabe (1932-?)

     Her assignments at the Providence Journal-Bulletin ran the gamut from doing features in what used to be called the “women's department,” to reporting in the Washington Bureau to covering the America's Cup to editing the book review section. But to her colleagues, Carol McCabe will always be identified as a prominent figure in the Journal's conscious transformation of itself in the 1970s and '80s into a “writer's newspaper.” 

     McCabe's byline on a story guaranteed a smooth flow of graceful yet trenchant language. In print one time, she ascribed the success of her stories to “luck and intuition.” 

     The judges for countless newspaper contests must have seen something else, however, because her work has been honored by groups as diverse as the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the New England Women's Press Association. 

     She has received the Ernie Pyle Award and the World Hunger Award. Her travel writing has won the Lowell Thomas Award, the Canadian Northern Lights Award and honors from the government of Senegal. 

     A Vermonter, she graduated in 1953 from Sweet Briar College in Virginia with a degree in government. Her first newspaper job was as a women's editor of the old Washington Daily News, where she wrote about food, fashions and beauty an covered the first lady. In 1961 she went to Vietnam as a publicist for the hospital ship Hope and a correspondent for Scipps Howard. When she returned to the U.S., she became a press and legislative aide to two successive members of Congress. Her first job in Rhode Island followed, at the URI public relations office. She joined the Journal staff in 1971, and had assignments as varied as assistant editor of the Sunday magazine, Washington bureau reporter and national writer, in which she distinguished herself for her articles on diverse environmental issues written from a very human standpoint. 

     After five years as editor of the Sunday book review section, McCabe took early retirement in 1996 and devoted herself full time to freelance writing. Her travel articles appear in national magazines and in newspapers nationwide, and are included in several anthologies. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2000.

Selig Greenberg (1904-1988)

     Known to his colleagues and friends as “Sam,” Selig Greenberg was a pioneering medical writer, whose hard-nosed, knowledgeable reporting won him many journalism awards and helped fashion the state's medical care system. 

     His reporting and writing on Rhode Island's medical care needs led Brown University to establish its medical school. His critical reportage frequently drew the ire of physicians but still, at his death, a leading doctor in the state called him “an excellent newspaperman” and an official in the state government lauded him as an “articulate and eloquent spokesman for the consumer of medical care.” Of him, one of his editors said, “I never met a more dedicated reporter with a better command of his subject area.” 

     Born in Russia, Greenberg came to the United States with his family in 1922 as a teenager. Five years later, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown and immediately went to work for the Providence Journal-Bulletin. He retired in 1972 after a 50-year career with the paper. He received the national Lasker Award for excellence in medical writing in 1951 and again in 1955. He 

also won the Master Reporter Award of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. 

     He wrote two books—“The Troubled Calling,” a study of the medical profession, and “The Quality of Mercy,” a study of medical care in the United States. After retiring from the Journal-Bulletin, he served for several years as a member of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council, which advised the Rhode Island Health Department on the development of the health care system. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2000.

James M. Murphy (1913-1997)

     Jim Murphy (no one ever called him James-at least not in his presence) was more than an editor; he was a teacher. 

     Generations of journalists who passed through the Pawtucket Times on their way to larger papers or better jobs will swear that working for Murphy was more than a job-it was an education. Many of them will tell you that they learned more from Murphy about the nuances of grammar and punctuation and usage, the importance of accuracy, and the overriding need to meet deadlines than they ever did in a classroom. 

     They also learned from Murphy to keep the interests of their readers uppermost. It didn't matter whether the story was a two-inch filler or a page one expose, the reader came first. That perhaps was his greatest gift to the staff. 

     A native of Whitinsville, Mass., he attended Holy Cross College (while an undergraduate he worked for his hometown weekly). After graduation he spent several years on the staff of the Worcester Evening Post, then went to work for the Pawtucket Times. After overseas Army service in World War II, he returned to the Times. In 1950 he was named city editor. He was promoted to 

managing editor in 1970 and to executive editor in 1977, shortly before he retired. 

     An ardent baseball fan, he wrote occasional sports pieces for the Times, and had feature articles on baseball published in several magazines. He wrote full-length biographies of two Rhode Islanders who were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gabby Hartnett and Napoleon Lajoie.  

     His wife, Jeanne (Rice) Murphy, was a reporter and feature writer at the Pawtucket Times, and was inducted into the Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame in 1995. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2000.

Donald P. Lewis (1933-?)

     When Don Lewis retired from the Westerly Sun in 1996, a commemorative issue of the newspaper noted that over the years, he and the Sun “seemed to be one and the same.” 

     That is about as good a summation of a career in community journalism as anyone can expect. “Through the good economic ties and the bad, he kept the newsroom humming,” the paper said ... “Don  ran the gamut in the news business”—he spanned both the era of hot type and the age of computers-and worked easily with both. 

     Born in Stonington, Conn., he graduated from Stonington High School and from the University of Connecticut in 1955. After working as a reporter at the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin from 1957-1961, he joined the Sun as a reporter in the latter year. He was city editor from 1968-1993, and was editor from 1993 to 1996. From 1988 to 1996, he took on the additional duties of editorial page editor and writer. When, in 1995, the Sun ended its unique status as the only Sunday afternoon paper in the United States, he oversaw the design and packaging of the first Sunday morning edition. He retired in 1996. 

     URI students of a certain age will remember him as a lecturer in the Department of Journalism from 1979 to 1984. His editorial writing won several awards, including a first prize from the Rhode Island Press Association in 1989. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame November 2000.