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 2018

Joe Baker - Reporter - Newport Daily News

     The road Joe Baker took in his journalism career had many turns and detours. The oldest of seven children and a 1967 graduate of Pilgrim High School in Warwick, Baker attended broadcasting school with the hopes of becoming a baseball play-by-play announcer, a career that unfortunately didn’t pan out. Baker then enlisted and served four years in the U.S. Navy, and then worked blue-collar jobs like roofing after his discharge.

     A few years later, Baker attended Rhode Island Junior College – now known as the Community College of Rhode Island – where a professor liked his writing and urged Baker to pursue it. In 1979, Baker transferred to the University of Rhode Island to study journalism and developed an interest in sports photography, which led to his earning his first sportswriting/news job at the Warwick Beacon.     Acquiring a taste for covering local government, Baker became hooked. In 1984, he shifted his venue to The Newport Daily News, where he began a 33-year career with the publication until he retired in 2016. Baker first covered the Statehouse for The Daily News by keeping tabs on local legislators. When David Offer became the paper’s editor, he formalized Baker’s beat, having Baker visit the Statehouse multiple times during the week to cover during the week to cover matters specfic

to Newport County.

     In his time on Smith Hill, Baker developed an intrinsic knowledge of how state government operates. Not surprisingly, state officials never acknowledged Joe's role. He was also adept at filing Freedom of Information Act requests. Telling Baker “no” was the best way to motivate him.

     When Baker grabbed on to a story, it was sometimes akin to a dog biting a pants leg and getting stubbornly dragged along: Pugnacious and a little loud, not to mention unbending.

     Baker wrote many profiles of local veterans, especially the diminishing local population of World War II veterans. He wrote exhaustively on the topic of special- education problems in Jamestown and teamed with another reporter on a series exploring the local impact of welfare reform in the 1990s. Those were among the stories that landed him writing awards.

     A fan of blues and roots music, Baker reviewed CDs for The Daily News for several years.

     Baker enlivened the newsroom.

     But he took his work seriously, if not himself.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2018

Peter Connell - Sports Writer and Editor - Observer Publications, Inc. and The Valley Breeze Observer

     A sports writer and editor for 21 years at Observer Publications, Inc. and The Valley Breeze Observer, Peter J. Connell came to newspaper work after a three-decade career that culminated as chief of public relations at the Rhode Island Department of Employment Security. He brought to community journalism his knowledge of the public, its attitudes, and its need to champion local heroes. It was a perfect fit, noted one of his first editors, and he proved to be a true professional.

     A coach whose teams he covered for many years said, “He understood that he was writing for a hometown newspaper. Pete was a sports guy who understood the nuances and intricacies of sport. So he didn’t just write the facts. He took the time to include the little extra things. ... He would write about how the kid made a diving catch, so the kid would read it and say, ‘Wow, he was there. He saw that I made a spectacular catch.’”

     Another of his editors put it this way, “Pete wasn’t just respected in the communities that he covered so vigilantly for two decades, he was revered. He should have been because it was his calm demeanor, sense of fairness, and love of high-school athletics that drove him. What came across in his articles and column was real. It was from his heart.”

     A member of the Association of Baseball Umpires of Rhode Island, he loved baseball most, but he was comfortable writing about every sport at every level, and he did so with equal skill and commitment. Beyond that, he contributed features to other sections of the papers, especially at The Observer, where he wrote with perception on such topics as Irish culture and tradition and Rhode Island aviation. He won recognition with awards for his sports stories and columns and was previously elected to two other halls of fame.

     Peter was a devoted lector for nearly 40 years at St. Philip Roman Catholic Church in Greenville, Rhode Island. Possessed of an authoritative yet pleasing voice, he also was the announcer for men’s hockey games at his alma mater, Providence College, and he was often in demand as a master of ceremonies at community and church events.

     His wife, Dorothy, and their three children and five grandchildren were the cornerstone of his life, and he unfailingly shared his triumphs and successes with them as he shared his work with thousands of appreciative readers.

     Peter J. Connell died on October 12, 2012, at the age of 72.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2018

Arline A. Fleming - Feature Writer - The Providence Journal

Katherine Gregg - State House Reporter - The Providence Journal

     When State House reporter Katherine Gregg’s byline shows up in the Providence Journal, you can bet that local politicians will take notice. Some may even run for cover. She has broken and/or covered some of the biggest political stories in the state during her nearly 40-year career first as a reporter in the East Providence and Newport bureaus, then as a city hall reporter in Providence and beginning in 1986 as a State House reporter. She has amassed national, regional and local awards for her work uncovering greed, hidden conflicts of interest, ethics violations, and wrongdoing in government.     In the early 1980s, during Mayor Vincent Cianci’s re-election campaign, Kathy went house to house in South Providence knocking on doors to verify fraudulent mail ballots. The abuses the Journal team uncovered led to action at the State House that required strict verification of mail ballots. In 1985, she reported that the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation was making mortgages intended for low-income, first-time home buyers available to families of politicians and the well-connected. Her stories led to the agency’s director going to prison. The series won the prestigious Sevellon Brown public service award for “meritorious public service.” In 1991, her “Set for Life” series revealed how Rhode Island lawmakers secured special pension deals for themselves

and their cronies. This series helped to force open previously secret records and sparked pension reform. She was part of the Journal team that exposed widespread corruption within Rhode Island’s courts, resulting in the resignation of the Supreme Court’s chief justice and the court system’s top administrator. These stories won the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

     In 2001, Gregg reported on Rhode Island’s legislative leaders abusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for meals at pricey restaurants, wedding and Christmas presents, country-club dues, limousine rides and airfare for winter trips to sunny climates. The series disclosed how the legislature kept those outlays from public view and allowed no independent audits. In 2003, she reported on secret business deals between then-Sen. John Celona and CVS and Blue Cross. These deals resulted in Celona’s resignation from the Senate and a prison sentence. In 2012, Kathy broke the Dan Doyle story, uncovering and chronicling the misuse of public funds at the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island.

     Gregg is the recipient of the Master Reporter Award, a lifetime achievement honor, from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and began her journalism career as a stringer for the Burlington Free Press in Vermont in 1973, eventually covering the Vermont legislature. She is an outstanding example of a first-class journalist who digs broadly and deeply to make sure the readers are informed of some of the most important stories in Rhode Island year after year. Her work has had a serious impact on those who serve in government.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2018

Leonard I. Levin - News Editor - The Providence Journal

Bob Thayer - Photographer - The Providence Journal

     Bob Thayer was a photographic storyteller and a newsman, but most especially an artist. There are people we all know who are diligent in their everyday jobs. Bob was obsessed with his. Not only did he not hesitate to do any photo assignment, but he harbored a not-so-secret wish to do them all.

     He loved doing what he did in a very special way that made his talent immediately visible to anyone who met him. His work always stood out, both to readers of the Providence Journal and to the many judges of photo contests who frequently made him an award winner. And when Bob was not working on stories for the paper he indulged in his hobby – taking pictures. He captured the beauty of Rhode Island in a way memorable to us all. Driving around the East Bay, his favorite part of Rhode Island, he found innumerable scenes from the beaches to Coggeshall Farm, places that he saw through his distinctive eye.

     Bob could handle the most routine assignment and make special photos from it. A very private man in his personal life, he had a talent for engaging with people in a way that made them comfortable in front of the camera, and it showed. And for particularly sensitive stories, he brought a unique and subtle eye to challenging subject matter.

     Thayer was a perfectionist when it came to his images. From the days of the darkroom to the digital era, he obsessed over his photographs, asking fellow photographers which one of his minuscule changes in an image was the best. Usually no one except Bob could see the difference.

     He had a love for celebrity and was drawn to situations that had lots of glamour and action. But most of all, Bob will be remembered for the quiet, esthetically pleasing photos he made for the pages of the Journal. The snow geese, the lights of the city at night. Photos that touch people and bring a sense of beauty to our chaotic world.

     Among the many awards Thayer won, perhaps his most special are the 1995 World Press Association first place in arts category for his photo of Oscar de la Renta behind the scenes at a New York fashion show. (The photo also took first place in the National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year contest.)

     In 1996 and 1999 Thayer was named the NPPA Region 1 Photographer of the Year.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2018

Class of 2017

Marcia Holmes Green - Editor - Valley Breeze

     The workspace of Marcia Holmes Green telegraphed that this editor was set in a different font of type: No stereotypical clutter here – her desktop stayed tidy and shipshape despite the crosscurrents of local journalism.

     For her, organization was key – a lifeline for the editor-in-chief of five lively newspapers who each week wrote several major stories, read reporters’ copy, ensured that the papers got filled, juggled meetings, managed copydesk staffing and photography, and mentored young writers.

     A mainstay in Northern Rhode Island, where the weekly Valley Breeze newspapers cover 10 communities, the Hyannis, Mass., native earned her journalism degree in 1973 at the University of Rhode Island, where she was an editor at the campus newspaper, The Good 5-Cent Cigar.

     After launching her professional career at the Beverly (Mass.) Times, she later settled in Rhode Island and in 1984 joined the Pawtucket Times– by then married and the mother of two boys. She advanced from reporter to city editor –a post she held from 1992 to 1995 before leaving to focus on her family.

     In 1996 she succumbed to recruitment by Tom Ward, an editor at the Fall River Herald-News who, from his previous days at the competing Woonsocket Call, was familiar with her achievements at the Times – especially her tenacious work on government corruption. Ward had a plan: to create a free weekly for Cumberland and Lincoln that would focus on positive news.

     The move was risky, but exciting, and for its first nine weeks founding editor Green produced the paper in publisher Ward’s living room. Their “desks” were doors, laid atop sawhorses. When those 10,000 early Valley Breezes hit the street, Green helped deliver them.

     Her product caught the public’s fancy; today, 62,500 Valley Breeze papers blanket the region each week.

     Stamped with Green’s talent, dedication, institutional memory, and interest in the history of her territory, the newspapers now offer comprehensive coverage far beyond their original mission, and proof of their quality are their distribution racks – empty soon after they are filled.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2017

Donna Lee - Food Editor - The Providence Journal

     From 1982 to 2001, Donna Lee was the voice of food to readers of The Providence Journal – friendly, knowledgeable and authoritative. She offered the technical skills she learned at Iowa State University – where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism combined with food and nutrition – and a lively interest in chefs, home cooks, and the dishes they made.

     But this native of Omaha, Nebraska, accomplished much more in a career that began in 1959 on the copy desk of the Freeport, Ill., Journal-Standard.For 20 years, ending in 1982, she was a feature writer, food writer and food editor at the Boston Herald, where Gwen Ifill was once her assistant. Among her memorable interviews there were bank robber Willie Sutton, authors Pearl S. Buck and Alex Haley, and celebrity pianist Liberace, “who told me his jacket was programmed so little lights could pulsate by remote control.”

     Moving to The Journal around the time she married her second husband, Rhode Islander Christopher DelSesto, she ran a food section valued for its wide range of topics, its expertise and a hometown feeling exemplified in the “Good Neighbors” feature, where home cooks asked for, and shared, treasured recipes. And not just home cooks. When Lee wrote to

renowned advice columnist Ann Landers, looking for her meatloaf recipe, Landers phoned her with the answer.

     Lee received an honorary doctor of letters in 1987 from Johnson & Wales University, which also offers the annual Donna Lee food writing scholarship. In 1988 she chaired the national Newspaper Food Editors Conference in Providence, the first time the event had been held in New England. And among other honors, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in October 2001 from the Chefs Association of Rhode Island.

     She’s equally proud of her “big, loving family” – two sons, six stepchildren and 16 grandchildren. And since retirement, she has served on the cooking crew for monthly fundraising lunches at the Providence Unitarian Church, as well as serving on the board of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

     “I don’t want anyone to go hungry,” she says. With Donna Lee involved, people seldom have.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2017

W. Zachary Malinowski - Reporter - The Providence Journal

     For more than 30 years, the distinctive byline of W. Zachary Malinowski signaled that readers of the Providence Journal were about to embark on a journey into the darker corners of the human condition. With clear-eyed rigor, he explored organized crime and public corruption, street gangs and gun violence, his colorful stories distinguished by his ability to talk to everyone: cops and robbers both, but also the victims. He coupled compassion with accountability.

     Malinowski, who was known as Bill, grew up in Norwich, Connecticut, where he excelled in sports. His mother was a hospital nurse, and his father, who endured horrors as a member of the Polish resistance during World War II, was a porter. From them he inherited a common touch that would serve him well in journalism.

     After graduating from Connecticut College, where he played basketball, Malinowski earned a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University and worked for a year at the Denver Post. In April 1985, he joined the Journal, where met and married a staff photographer, Mary Murphy.

     Malinowski quickly demonstrated the rare ability of getting people to talk – to tell their side of a story. He would listen to the official police account, and then seek out the accused to hear their version. In this way he taught other reporters the vital importance of making one more call; of knocking on one more door.

     Working alone and as part of an investigative team, he covered the municipal scandals of various local and state administrations, including those of former Pawtucket Mayor Brian J. Sarault, former Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr., and former Gov. Edward D. DiPrete. He helped to explain the complicated finances of Central Falls, the first city in the state’s history to declare federal bankruptcy.

     But Malinowski may have been best known for his coverage of crime, and was a frequent speaker at colleges and conferences. He explored gangs and gun violence in Providence, and became an expert in the state’s organized-crime culture. His many honors included being named “master reporter” by the New England Society of Newspaper Editors in 2014.

     In 2015, Malinowski – a dedicated runner and athlete – was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The courage and determination he demonstrated after receiving this devastating news may be his most lasting contribution.

     Bill Malinowski died in August 2016. He was 57.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2017

Class of 2016

James F. Baron - Political Reporter - The Pawtucket Times

     One of Jim Baron’s journalistic colleagues wrote of him after his death: “In an environment where reporters are often confronted with spin, Jim was refreshingly on point. Not blunt, but insistent on asking the question you were being steered away from. … Jim was unabashedly Jim. No matter who or what he was covering, he wasn’t trying to impress you or anyone else. But he did care about what he wrote, and the observations he made.” Another wrote: “They just don't make reporters like Jim Baron today. Those comments encapsulated the professional life of James F. Baron, who covered state politics for the Pawtucket Times for almost three decades and earned the respect of his journalistic associates and (grudgingly) of the politicians he covered.     

     A native Rhode Islander, James F. Baron graduated from Lincoln High School and received a degree in journalism from Syracuse University. He began working for the Pawtucket Times in 1981 as a correspondent covering Lincoln. In 1985 he joined the Times staff full time and covered Pawtucket municipal government. In the late ’80s he took over the State House beat. His passion for politics found an outlet in his reporting and in his weekly column, “Politics As Usual.” He also found time to be active in the

Pawtucket Newspaper Guild, of which he was a past president.

     Baron received many awards for his work, including several from the Rhode Island Press Association. As is the norm for reporters working for smaller papers, Baron was noted for his prodigious output. A former colleague at the Pawtucket Times said of him that he “could do the work of three or four people,” and added, “He had an ear and sympathy for the underdog. He had no patience for artifice or people that were full of themselves. He could deflate them in a few quick works, often with a great sense of humor.”

     Baron was married to Denise Perreault, a former reporter and editor at the Woonsocket Call. He died on January 5, 2015. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2016

Arline A. Fleming - Feature Writer - The Providence Journal

     In a career spanning more than 40 years, Arline A. Fleming has been the embodiment of community journalism, with the accent on “community.”

     Her carefully researched feature stories for newspapers throughout Rhode Island weave a tapestry of our state’s heritage with their chronicles of people, places, and village history.

     In newspapers large and small, Arline’s work so captures the flavor of the Ocean State that she has twice won first-place awards in the Rhode Island Press Association's “Spirit of Rhode Island” category.

     After graduating in 1974 from the University of Rhode Island, where she majored in journalism and English and wrote for the student newspaper, she interned at the daily Pawtucket Times. The following year she began her career at the weekly Narragansett Times, where she became the newspaper’s first Arts and Living Section editor.     

     After leaving in 1981 for the Rhode Island College News Bureau, she became in 1984 a staff feature writer for the Providence

Journal’s pilot, stand-alone daily local news section in South County. The successful experiment was soon expanded to all the Journal’s regional editions. Her work anchored the cover of the South County section for 24 years, winning awards in a wide range of categories from feature stories to series writing.

     Fleming’s meanderings took her to grange halls and grist mills, apple orchards and lighthouses, tiny local libraries and even a former chicken coop turned radio station.

     Her subjects have ranged from the bear that lumbered through neighborhoods in Narragansett to the local girl who became an Olympic swimmer.

     Her freelance writing has also appeared in the Independent newspapers, the Block Island Times, the Westerly Sun, and the Valley Breeze & Observer.

     Arline served her readers with unusual dedication: Let an elderly or infirm subscriber report that the newspaper failed to appear and she was swiftly in her car, a copy of the paper beside her, making the delivery herself.

     Ask Arline to list her four best stories and she’ll reply: Her husband, Terry; daughter Kate; and twin daughters Maggie and Bridget. 

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2016

Leonard I. Levin - News Editor - The Providence Journal

     Len Levin is probably best known in Rhode Island and the rest of New England journalism as a wizard of grammar and style. For close to 30 years, he served as the Providence Journal’s news editor, overseeing the copy desk and serving as the language guru for the news department. His crusade for good grammar, correct style, and accuracy earned him the soubriquet Chairman Mao or just The Chairman. For years, he compiled the monthly “Excellence Newsletter,” which complimented by name as often as it zinged the work of the reporters and copyeditors (without naming them). When he retired in 1996, staffers said they greatly missed his newsletter. He also co-authored (and then enforced) the several-hundred-page Journal stylebook. Any number of copyeditors who worked under Len’s tutelage went on to become copyeditors at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and other metropolitan daily newspapers.     

     He also left his mark on New England journalism through his service on various boards. He was the president of the New England chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. In retirement he

continued to serve on the NESNE board. For many years, he taught journalism courses part time at the University of Rhode Island, including copy editing and news writing. When he took a buyout from the Journal in 1999, he was asked by the Quincy Patriot Ledger to be one of its editors, but he demurred and instead joined the copydesk part time. After leaving the Patriot Ledger he took on another part-time job: editing the decisions of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.     

     A native of Pawtucket, R.I., Len graduated from Providence College, where he was the co-editor of the school’s weekly student newspaper, The Cowl. He received a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and went to work at the Pawtucket Times until the Providence Journal asked him to join its copyediting staff in 1963. During his years at the Journal, he and his wife, Linda Lotridge Levin, a journalism professor at URI, developed pro bono seminars and workshops in editing and writing for newspaper staffs around New England. He was a frequent presenter at panels and seminars for copyeditors, preaching the need for accuracy and good grammar. As a member of NESNE, he traveled to Russia twice to explain a free press to journalists there. Passionate about the history of baseball, he is a former secretary of the Society for American Baseball Research and for many years was the group’s archivist, the files piled high in rooms on the third floor of the Levin residence in Providence. He and Linda have two daughters, Sara and Rachel.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2016

Class of 2015

Peter B. Lord - Environmental Reporter - The Providence Journal

     When you mention the name of Peter Lord to anyone involved in environmental issues in New England, you will hear a stream of accolades for his work as a journalist. When Lord died in April 2012 of a brain tumor at the age of 60, he left behind a legacy of some of the best environmental writing in the region. Tim Murphy, one of his editors and a close friend, wrote in his nomination of Lord for the Yankee Quill Award, “For more than 30 years, Peter Lord’s work as a reporter at the Providence Journal met the highest standards of journalism and earned him the respect of journalists, public officials, academics, and, most important, his readers.”

     Two of Lord’s series for the Journal had a far-reaching impact. After “Poisoned,” his six-part series in 2001 on the consequences of lead paint in the thousands of aging buildings in Rhode Island, legislators strengthened the state’s regulations on the use of lead paint in dwellings. In 2005 he produced a seven-part multimedia series, “Saving Block Island,” about the efforts of residents to preserve nearly half of the island’s open space. For this series, he won the Associated Press Managing 

Editors Online Convergence Award.

     Lord received the prestigious Master Reporter Award from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors for his coverage of the environment and other issues. Other awards came from the Rhode Island Press Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Natural History Survey. Peter’s reporting took him to the Arctic Circle, Scotland, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Hawaii.

     Peter Lord’s career was more than just being a reporter. He taught journalism classes at the University of Connecticut; and for more than a decade at the University of Rhode Island, he was a beloved professor who in turn loved his students. He especially enjoyed helping his students find jobs in the field. As if reporting full-time and teaching part-time were not enough, Peter took classes at the University of Rhode Island himself, and received a master’s degree in marine affairs in 2007.

     Perhaps one of Lord’s most impressive accomplishments was his work as co-director of the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island since its founding in 1997. A national leader in providing science training for journalists, it is based at URI’s internationally known Graduate School of Oceanography. In 2012 the institute set up the annual Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment to honor his contributions to environmental journalism.  

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2015

Laurence J. Sasso Jr. - Owner - Your Smithfield Magazine

     The author Salman Rushdie wrote, “A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, point at frauds ... start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.”

     Had Rushdie substituted “journalist” for “poet,” his musing would have retained its pungency: A number of poets spent years in newspapering, including Walt Whitman, whose style was forged in the smithy of journalism.

     Laurence J. Sasso Jr. is the embodiment of the poet-newsman. For nearly three decades he guided hometown publications, knowing that if the world is indeed to be shaped, the task is best initiated in one’s own neck of the woods.

     A Smithfield native, Sasso brought context and insight to the Observer, the town’s weekly newspaper, as its editor from 1987 to 1998. He cast his influence even further as managing editor of Observer Publications – also including the North Providence North Star and the Johnston Sun Rise – from 1998 to 2006.

     When he left, Sasso created Your Smithfield Magazine, which, with its monthly features, columns, and photos, quickly

became required down- home reading. Over the years Sasso won awards for his own writing – including a designation of Best Columnist from the New England Press Association – and his newspapers were cited for excellence.

     Director of news and information services for Rhode Island College from 1971 to 1987, Sasso was also poetry editor of the Providence Journal’s Sunday Rhode Islander magazine from 1970 to 1977.

     Citing his poetry and his public readings at colleges and libraries, the Smithfield Town Council in 2003 designated him the official “town poet.” Sasso responded in character by reading a poem he had composed for the occasion.

     Reporter, editor, versifier, photographer, former adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Rhode Island, adviser to the Bryant University student newspaper, and stalwart in leadership roles with the Rhode Island Press Association, Sasso in 2009 was inducted into the Smithfield Heritage Hall of Fame in acknowledgement of his many contributions to journalism and community.  

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame April 2015

Class of 2014

William "Bill" Foster- Publisher- East Greenwich Pendulum

     William Foster ran the Rhode Island Pendulum in East Greenwich from 1964 to 1988. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, and a graduate of Northeastern University, he served as a B-17 bombardier in the Army Air Corps before beginning his career in advertising. He and his family moved to East Greenwich in 1959, and he bought the Pendulum in 1964. His wife, Jane, tended to the books, which allowed Foster a free hand when it came to reporting or writing the weekly editorials. Those editorials were nearly always intensely local, were tied tightly to the week’s news, and often were an unvarnished broadside for or against some local policy or politician.  

     They’d end with his initials—WAF—an acknowledgment that a newspaper could hold no opinion on its own. (Afi cionados knew the initials stood for William Allison Foster, while one of its less pluggedin readers thought it stood for “What A Friend.”) More importantly, it was a declaration by Foster that he wasn’t going to hide behind the anonymity of unsigned editorials. While they didn’t always win friends among those who found themselves zinged, they won respect from the paper’s readers.

     Beyond his editorials, Foster routinely wrote his “After 5” column, a homespun collection of his observations, and ruminations, about life as a newspaper publisher in a small coastal town in the second half of the twentieth century. Running a small-town paper was a lot of work, and all fi ve Foster kids pitched in, with two ending up as journalists. As Foster grew older and the business prospered, he employed recent college graduates as “editors,” which was job-title infl ation run wild. He gave them free rein, letting them court controversy with their reporting. But no story made it into the Pendulum’s pages without Foster’s giving it a close read. As editor and publisher, he brought his Yankee sensibility to the paper, along with confi dence that townspeople, as long as they had sufficient information on local issues of the day would rarely be wrong. Foster died in 2012.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2014

Thomas E. Heslin - Executive Editor - The Providence Journal

     A dynamic, inspirational newsroom leader with a laundry list of achievements, a champion of the public’s right to know, and – not least – a folk musician, Tom Heslin carved out a distinguished career in New England journalism that ended only when he retired in 2012 for health reasons. Under Heslin’s handson stewardship, the Providence Journal won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for its investigation of corruption in Rhode Island’s court system, and was a Pulitzer fi nalist in 2004 for its coverage of the disastrous fire at the Station nightclub. Among other honors, the paper has also received the George Polk Award, the Associated Press Managing Editors Freedom of Information Award, the AP Sevellon Brown Award for Public Service (twice), and the Morley L. Piper First Amendment Award from the New England Press Association. 

     He was a founder of the New England First Amendment Coalition and was a founder and president of ACCESS/ RI, an open-government advocate that has done wonders as a guardian of the Rhode Island public’s right to know.

     Heslin, a native of New Jersey, has spent his journalism career in New England. A graduate of Suffolk University (where he  

was cited as an Outstanding Journalism Student), he was a reporter at the Rutland (Vermont) Herald, reporter and then editor at the York County Coast Star in Maine, and bureau chief, news editor, and managing editor at Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, New Hampshire, before coming to the Journal in 1981. Beginning as a copy editor, he rose to the positions of state editor, managing editor for investigations, metropolitan managing editor, managing editor for new media, and finally executive editor. He has served on the board of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Freedom of Information Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

     Heslin plays the guitar in a family Irish folk group, the Hibernians. His wife, Pat, is a lead vocalist for the group, which may be found on occasional weekends in Boston area pubs.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2014

James W. Norman - Sports Information Director - URI

     James W. Norman served as sports information director for twenty-two years at the University of Rhode Island. He was a fountain of knowledge for any sports reporter who needed information on a URI athlete, and provided innumerable media guides, press releases and biographies to newspapers and radio and television outlets. Jim was one of the University’s most admired good-will ambassadors, who raised coverage of URI athletics to new heights while serving at various times as the president of Words Unlimited, the Providence Gridiron Club, and the URI-Rams Club. His contributions to the sports reporting community went far above the call of duty, providing a friendly welcoming atmosphere for all members of the sports community. His office was the hospitality center for anyone covering URI sports. 

     A 1957 graduate of the university, Norman returned to URI as a faculty member in 1961 before becoming sports information director in 1971. He also held the position of assistant athletic director. James W. Norman is perhaps best known as the Voice of the Rams. He broadcast football and basketball games for thirty-four years. It was here that he put URI athletics on the map and 

gained national recognition. During his career, Norman received more than sixty major awards for his outstanding contributions in the broadcast and sports information field. He was honored with the URI Alumni Association’s Ram Award for distinguished service; and the press box at Meade Stadium on the URI campus is named in his honor. Among his other honors, in 1984 Norman was inducted into the URI Athletic Hall of Fame; in 1989 he was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame; and in 2012 he was inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. His contributions to sports reporting were enormous and had a profound effect on the URI and Rhode Island sports communities.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2014

Class of 2013

Joseph Goodrich - Business Editor - The Providence Journal

     Joe Goodrich paved the way for modern business coverage at the Providence Journal. When he became the editor of the business pages, he recognized the importance of the economy as a subject for news coverage along with politics, crime and other topics. Under his guidance the paper flashed a spotlight on subjects beyond the executive suite that most newspapers tended to ignore, like workers’ compensation. He ended his predecessors’ practice of showing articles to those involved before they were printed, and in fact generally refrained from hobnobbing with people in the corporate suite. Besides being a supportive and mentoring boss to his staff, Goodrich pitched in and handled many of the reporting and writing assignments himself.

     A native of New London, Connecticut, Goodrich served in the Navy in World War II. After the war he graduated from Boston University’s journalism school magna cum laude. He worked at the Fall River Herald News before hiring on with the Journal, where he was a state staff bureau reporter, before going to work for what was then called the fi nancial section. Before becoming the editor of the section, Goodrich was the lead business writer. When he took the helm of the business section, he continued to 

cover several of the most demanding beats himself, and frequently could be seen still at his desk after the rest of the staff had gone home. 

     He was no muckraker, but was not averse to chiding Rhode Island’s business leaders when he thought they needed it. He relished the detail and fine points of financial reporting, and understood the importance of the economy as a subject equal to politics. But he always kept the consumer in mind. In 1958, Goodrich was one of the first winners of the prestigious Loeb Award, presented for reporting on business and finance that benefits the private investor and the general public. Goodrich retired from the Journal in 1987. He died in January 2013.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2013

Rick McGowan - Sports Writer - The Newport Daily News

     Richard McGowan traded a half-hearted career in the business world for an outstanding career covering sports in Newport County.

     Readers of the Newport Daily News shared the insight of a writer who won the state’s top sportswriting honor 14 times from 1976 to 2011, as well as a pile of state and regional writing awards. Readers had the pleasure of learning from a writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of sports across the county and the state.

     Rick loved the sports he covered, from the traditional to the offbeat. He covered 35 years of school sports, to the point where the players he once wrote about became his friendly bartenders.

     He was on hand for 35 years of tournaments at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, rivaling the legendary Bud Collins in duration and, to a milder degree, in wardrobe -- combinations of Master’s green jacket, Kennedy prep and a dash of Liberace.

     A natural people person, Rick cultivated friendships ranging from tennis star Pam Shriver to Uncle Sam lookalike and global eccentric Love-22. 

     Rick was a sportswriter in the purist sense. He loved sports and writing with equal ardor. During his semi-occasional dances into the newsroom, he would often plop a copy of The New Yorker or Sports Illustrated in front of a colleague and say, “Read this. This is elegant writing.”

     In addition to well-crafted magazine features, Rick enjoys crime novels. In his retirement, he happily gained more time to read both novels and magazines. His readers, sadly, lost the chance to read his stories and columns.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2013

Martha Smith - Feature Writer/Columnist - The Providence Journal

     For more than 45 years, Martha Smith creatively captured the lives and times of the people she interviewed with an attention to detail and a love of the English language second to none. This is her story.

     A native of Morgantown, West Virginia, Martha began her career as a 16-year-old intern at her hometown paper, Dominion News, then studied journalism at West Virginia University, graduating with honors.

     At a time when there were very few women in the newsroom, Martha established herself as a reporter, a feature writer and, ultimately, a columnist with the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia, and received the fi rst of many national honors when she won the Bell Award for a series telling the stories of people living with profound mental challenges.

     Martha was best known for her 30-year tenure at the Providence Journal. Starting in the South County bureau, she paid her dues covering North Kingstown news and writing features wherever she found them. Eventually she moved into the Journal’s features department and in addition to story assignments, she wrote a regular column for the news section.

     In 1984, Martha found her career and life changed forever when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. For the next 

16 years, she shared her fight with readers, striking a nerve with those waging their own medical battles. In addition to writing a pair of books, she produced a cover story called “The Cancer Quarrel,” shining a light on the bitter feud between hospitals vying to become the regional cancer center. The story was selected as a national “Sunday Best” winner. She was also named magazine journalist of the year for her cover profi le of Henry Beetle Hough, the iconic founder of the Vineyard Gazette.

     Martha’s love for dogs spilled onto the page, too, and her adopted fox terrier, Dinah, became a star in her own right through appearances in Martha’s column. When Dinah died, Martha received 500 sympathy notes from readers.

     Side effects of chemotherapy forced Martha to retire in 2000, but her love of language continued as she mentored countless aspiring writers. She liked nothing more than seeing her students succeed.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2013.

Class of 2012

Charles Henry Dow - The Providence Journal / The Wall Street Journal (Historical)

     Journalism historians consider Charles H. Dow the father of business reporting. Born on a farm in Sterling, Connecticut, in April 1851, Dow left home at the age of 21 to work as a reporter for the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, where he learned the craft of writing. In 1875 he moved to Providence, where he joined the staff of the Providence Star, and after two years he moved to the Providence Journal after convincing the editor, George Danielson, that he could produce news stories for the highly regarded daily newspaper.

     Once on the staff, Dow flourished. He not only proved to be a first-rate reporter, but he was a skilled researcher, and in the days when verbosity was the hallmark of journalists’ writing, Dow wrote tight, well-crafted prose. His first big story was a history of steam navigation between Providence and New York, which eventually was published in New York as a 29-page booklet. This was followed by pieces about the history of Newport and the history of public education in Providence.

     Dow’s big break came in the summer of 1879 when he and two reporters from New York and one from Boston traveled to 

Leadville, Colorado, a frontier silver-mining town, to chronicle life there. Dow wrote nine “Leadville Letters,” a colorful and detailed picture of his train ride, cowboys, cattle herds, and the silver-mining camp that made Leadville synonymous with instant wealth. 

     Soon after that, Dow took his interest in finances to New York City, where he wrote about business and reconnected with an acquaintance from Providence, a Brown University dropout named Edward D. Jones.

     In 1883 they began producing a daily two-page business newsletter that included what they called the Dow Jones Industrial Average, upon which the tides of Wall Street now rise and fall.

     Six years later, along with a third partner, they turned their newsletter into a daily subscription newspaper, naming it The Wall Street Journal with the promise that the paper would be published without bias and that would not be controlled by advertisers or bankers. Dow was the editor. He died in 1902 at the age of 51 and is buried in North Burial Ground, Providence.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2012

Manuel Correira - East Bay Newspapers

     In thousands of attics, scrapbooks and dusty old picture frames lie the life’s work of a journalist with simple passions: sports, family and his beloved hometown of Bristol, R.I. For more than 50 years, Manuel C. “Manny” Correira knelt courtside, squeezed into the bleachers or huddled in the press box to chronicle the sports heroes of the East Bay of Rhode Island.

     Correira began his career while a student at Colt Memorial High School in Bristol, when he worked part-time for the Bristol Phoenix. After graduating from Bryant College in 1967, Correira joined the Phoenix staff and East Bay Newspapers as a full-time sports editor and staff photographer.

     A true fan of the game — every game — Correira developed a style all his own. His articles were much more than a record of history; they were a celebration of sport, of people, of hometown heroes and the games they play. One could not read a Manny Correira article without feeling the joy of a fan. Correira loved his job, and it showed.

     Correira left East Bay Newspapers in 1982, worked in private business for several years, then joined the staff of the 

Providence Journal in 1985. A fixture in the Journal’s East Bay office for the next 15 years, Correira penned articles about sports, Bristol, the Fourth of July and the good people of his region. He returned to East Bay Newspapers for two more years, then finished his full-time career with another stint at the Journal, before retiring in 2006. Even after retirement he continued to contribute articles to the East Bay Newspapers, and wrote with joy about his beloved sports, his beloved Fourth of July and his beloved hometown.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2012

Ray Clayton - Photographer - The North Kingstown Standard Times

     With compassion and talent, Ray Clayton creatively captured in images the people and history of southern Rhode Island for 35 years as a premier news photographer.

     A native of Oberlin, Ohio, Clayton found opportunity limited there and joined the Navy, a decision that had a profound effect on the course of his life. One of the places that interested him in his travels was Rhode Island, where his ship was homeported, and upon discharge he answered an ad for a news photographer for Wilson Newspapers, later known as Southern Rhode Island newspapers. Clayton was at the end of a line of 20 prospects and the weary interviewing editor perked up when Clayton opened his refreshing portfolio of photos of people rather than landscapes and still lifes.

     Clayton was hired the next day and began a photographic career that netted him hundreds of awards, including Rhode Island News Photographer of the Year several times and New England News Photographer of the Year in 1998.

     Accompanying reporters and editors on assignments, Clayton had a knack of capturing the right photos for the assignment, 

always working unobtrusively in a manner that put his subjects at ease. Working in a small-circulation market, Clayton became well known as a news photographer and many of his subjects became friends over the years. Clayton’s passions reached far beyond photography. An accomplished musician (he was once signed with a recording studio), he enjoyed classical music—Mozart or earlier—and he had a compassion for humanity, being a Big Brother for many years and also a regular blood donor.

When photography was transformed into the computer age, Clayton dove into the intricacies of the digital age with relish and became so accomplished that he ended up coaching new hires to the photographic staff. As a steady, experienced presence in the newspapers, Clayton found himself often “breaking-in” reporters who were long on enthusiasm and short on experience.

Clayton’s love for news photography, his innate gifts of compassion for humanity and technical prowess constitute a significant legacy for photojournalism.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2012

Class of 2011

Carol J. Young - The Providence Journal

     Exacting but nurturing mentor; champion of education; inspiring writer, editor and leader on a forceful daily newspaper, Carol J. Young is a one-woman legacy whose example invigorates the countless journalists who developed under her guidance.

     Rising through the ranks of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Providence Journal in a career spanning 45 years, she brought her drive, enthusiasm and talent to every corner of the newsroom.

     From her start in a tiny bureau, as a 21-year-old Syracuse University graduate in 1965, to her retirement as deputy executive editor in 2010, she set the highest of standards, embraced them herself, and infused them into scores of uncertain, neophyte interns.

     Sowing her skills like seeds, Young walked the furrows of her craft from community journalism to influential statewide education reporting, later taking on the broader responsibilities of assistant city editor, city editor, state editor, and metropolitan managing editor.

     A stalwart defender of those in the journalistic trenches from which she sprang, she helped lead a Newspaper Guild strike in 1973. But ever mindful of looking forward – a hallmark of her persona and her career – she joined others in healing the wounds by creating the iconic Guild Follies, a satirical news revue that annually brings together, in laughter and camaraderie, Rhode Islanders of every stripe.

     Her upward career path – a testament to her professional accomplishments and the admiration in which she is held – led in 1996 to still another ground-breaking achievement.

     Already the first woman ever named to news management in the Journal’s long and distinguished history, Young was appointed to the newsroom’s second highest position – deputy executive editor.

     It became the perch from which, in her ancillary role as mentor, she spread wings that at once sheltered fledgling reporters and showed them a sky in which to soar.

     Carol Young is an embodiment of the effective journalist: tireless, insistent on craftsmanship; ever mindful of the newspaper’s imperative for vigilance, and brimming with the insight and compassion that inspires public confidence and public trust.   

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2011

Kimball W. Burgess - Observer Newspapers

     Like many people who grew up in an independent family publishing enterprise, Kimball W. Burgess, the retired publisher of Observer Publications Inc., got a time-honored and thorough grounding in all phases of the newspaper business as a young man. He sold advertising, took photos, wrote editorials, even delivered the paper.

     He has been quoted as saying, “I did every job that anyone could do at a newspaper, beginning when I was 13. It was a perfect training environment.”

     His parents, Dorothy and Bill Burgess, had set about building The Observer, a small weekly in northern Rhode Island that they purchased in 1959, into a robust, respected, true community publication serving six towns. Kimball was there every step of the way, becoming an integral part of the growing company as it expanded and broke new ground.

     In 1979 he assumed ownership and the post of publisher at the award-winning firm, which later established two other weekly papers, The North Providence North Star and the Johnston Sun Rise. Under his direction Observer Publications Inc. extended its 

reach, broadened its coverage, and deepened the respect of the readers and the communities it served. Its three publications were frequently recognized by the public and the newspaper industry for trend-setting innovations.

     At a time when most page layouts were still conservative, Observer Publications Inc. was a pioneer in the generous and imaginative use of photography. The papers during Kimball Burgess’ tenure were cited by national and regional press organizations for their singular full-page color front pages and their extensive use of picture spreads and bold layouts. The Burgess papers were among the first weeklies in the state to adopt emerging computer technology and the wide use of color. As a publisher Kimball Burgess fostered creativity among his employees and welcomed imaginative solutions to the challenges faced by journalists. Observer Publications staff writers and photographers won many awards on the local, regional, and national levels for work that he encouraged them to attempt.

     A former president of the Rhode Island Press Association, Kimball Burgess also served on the board of the New England Press Association, acting as a tireless advocate for the role and the importance of community newspapers.

     He was one of the six founding members of the Rhode Island Newspaper Group (RING), which was one of the first advertising and promotional cooperatives in the nation, if not the first. RING was a groundbreaking marketing concept in the industry which offered area advertisers a vehicle for reaching the readership of all member publications with a single buy, an inventive and competitive option that greatly multiplied the reach and value of the buyers’ purchases. Kimball Burgess was also a founding partner in the development of a modern printing facility in Rhode Island that served the greater New England area.

     Asked to sum up his thoughts about a working life spent in the publishing business, he once observed, “To be in weekly newspapering was to me the best job in the world.”

     It was one he did with great enthusiasm, effectiveness, and panache.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2011

Linda Lotridge Levin - The University of Rhode Island

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     Starting as a summertime reporter covering her beat on a bicycle for her hometown paper, Linda Levin carved out a pioneering career with journalism as its path and the First Amendment as her lodestar.

     Armed with a degree from Michigan State University, the native of Owosso, Michigan, joined the staff of the Providence Journal-Bulletin. Rejecting frequent suggestions that she might be happier toiling in the “women’s department,” she worked as a bureau reporter, city staff reporter and photo editor. She left the paper after her first child was born (the Journal, like most newspapers then, didn’t have parental leave) and became an award-winning free-lance writer. She wrote a nationally syndicated health and medicine column, as well as travel stories for magazines and newspapers, and, was the public relations director for the Rhode Island Historical Society, for whom she edited two books on Rhode Island history. Levin also wrote a history of a longstanding exchange program between New England and Russian newspaper editors. She herself made two trips to Russia as part of the exchange, and later traveled to the country again to lecture to university students in Novgorod.

     In 1983 she switched tracks, joining the Journalism Department faculty at the University of Rhode Island. She became chairwoman of the department in 2001. Under her stewardship the number of journalism majors has nearly doubled; scholarships have increased; and the collaboration between the department and the Rhode Island Press Association strengthened. Levin also led the department into the newly endowed Harrington School of Communication and Media at URI.

     Levin has written widely about First Amendment issues, in particular the area of access to public information. She has written the definitive handbook on Rhode Island laws and court decisions pertaining to the press. She also wrote “The Making of FDR: The Story of Stephen T. Early, America's First Modern Press Secretary.” She has been a fellow of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the American Press Institute and the Annenberg Washington Program. She is a former president and the longtime secretary of the Rhode Island Press Association, and is a founder and board member of ACCESS/Rhode Island, a coalition of organizations devoted to open government. In 1999 she was given the prestigious Yankee Quill Award by the New England Society of Newspaper Editors and the New England Society of Professional Journalists.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2011

Class of 2010

Frederick J. Wilson, III - The Narragansett Times

     The publishing career of Frederick J. Wilson III was marked by a devotion to editorial quality and a commitment to the communities he served. Publisher, entrepreneur, decorated veteran, “Rick” oversaw the editorial expansion of the weekly Wilson Newspapers in Wakefield, Rhode Island, over three decades, molding them into some of the best in New England. After the newspapers were sold to a chain, he started a pair of weeklies known as Independent Newspapers.

     In 1946, his father, Frederick J. Wilson Jr., purchased The Narragansett Times in Wakefield from the Gillies family. Rick grew up in the pressroom, writing for the newspaper when he was as young as 12. After receiving a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in 1964 and serving with the Marines, including a tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, Rick returned to the family business in 1971 as advertising manager. He expanded the classified department and was named assistant publisher. After his father’s death in 1978, Rick became publisher, for a time sharing the duty with his brother, Jaime Wilson.

     Rick’s tenure marked an unprecedented expansion and improvement of the local paper. He hired more reporters, emphasized 

quality photography and created sections for the arts and sports. In addition to The Standard-Times of North Kingstown, which the company had purchased in 1969, Wilson Publishing Co. bought the Rhode Island Pendulum in East Greenwich and launched the Chariho Times in Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton. At its height, The Narragansett Times circulated more than 14,000 papers a week, and The Narragansett Times and The Standard-Times became twice-weekly in 1988.

     After leaving The Narragansett Times in 1995, Rick found investors and opened his own newspaper in 1997, the South County Independent, a weekly modeled on The Narragansett Times in its heyday. Two years later he started a second paper for East Greenwich and North Kingstown.

     Enthusiastic, unflappable and devoted to his employees, Frederick J. Wilson III presided over a new age for weekly newspapers – an age of cold type and digital photography, award-winning reporting and expanded local coverage.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2010

M. Charles Bakst - The Providence Journal

     For much of his four-decade career at The Providence Journal and its late sister paper The Evening Bulletin, M. Charles Bakst was the public face of the newspapers. His stern demeanor was encapsulated in the mug shot that accompanied his column on politics – or perhaps on baseball or other of life’s pleasures. By his own admission (in his farewell column), “I slapped many a government official around.” But Bakst’s goal, he wrote, was always to give a voice to people who needed one, and to remind people whom they were accountable to. His passion to do the right thing for the underdog was as visible as the bright red suspenders he almost always wore.

     Merrill Charles Bakst was born on February 22, 1944, in Fall River, Massachusetts. After graduation from Phillips Academy at Andover, he studied at Brown University, finding time to serve a term as editor-in-chief of the campus daily and do three summer internships with the Providence Journal-Bulletin. Then, with a degree from the Columbia Journalism School in hand, he joined the paper full time in 1968. For most of his four decades at the paper, his focus was on political coverage, as, successively, a State 

House reporter and bureau chief, government affairs editor and political columnist, with side trips from time to time to appear on various radio and TV public affairs programs.

     In interviews with public figures – including the first President Bush and President Clinton – Bakst’s aggressive questioning always stood out. And in his columns he never hesitated to vigorously express strong views – whether about the state of the nation, the food at political fundraisers or the taste of the hot dogs at Fenway Park.

     Outside of journalism, he is somewhat of a sports fanatic, and a frequent spectator at ballparks, stadiums and arenas.

     Bakst and his wife, Elizabeth, whom he met at Brown, have two daughters and three granddaughters.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2010

Marcia Grann O'Brien - The Warwick Beacon / The Narragansett Times

     A prescient observer might have predicted the arc of Marcia O’Brien’s remarkable career when she was still a freshman in college. A Providence Journal feature story reported her first journalistic coup. O’Brien had landed an exclusive interview with Lord Clement Atlee, the former prime minister of England, for her student newspaper at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.      It would prove to be the first of many such outstanding accomplishments.

     Born in Warwick, Rhode Island, where she had her early education, Marcia O’Brien spent the first 24 years of her working life in Long Island, New York, where she was first a reporter, then managing editor and editor in chief of several different newspapers. She also founded and was co-owner and publisher of The Village Times in Setauket, New York, a publication that earned the Stuart C. Dorman annual award as the “best community newspaper in New York” in 1979.

     It was one of many honors O’Brien would receive in her career. Writing under the byline Marcia Schwen (her married name), she earned more than four dozen first-place awards from regional and national press associations. The recognition came in a 

wide variety of categories, from investigative reporting to best humorous columnist, from government reporting to science and health reporting. In her role as publisher she also garnered awards for best advertising campaign and advertising excellence.

     Along the way she wrote a book published in Sweden, did a stint as editor for all U.S. publications of Amnesty International, where she interviewed the future president of South Korea, Kim Dae Jung, and taught journalism at two colleges. She also contributed stories to Newsday, The St. Petersburg Times, and Texas Monthly.

     In the early 1990s she returned to her native state to become editor of The Warwick Beacon. She later became editor of The Narragansett Times and The Rhode Island Catholic, winning more awards, including a first place for general excellence at The Narragansett Times and several for editorial writing. Outside journalism, she has also been honored several times for her community service.

     Unflinching ethical standards and an unrelenting professionalism have distinguished Marcia O’Brien’s work. She has combined tenacious, aggressive pursuit of the facts with a style that blends grace with heart and clarity with respect for the telling detail. Fierce is not too strong a word to use in characterizing her determination to see a story written well and the truth told irrespective of the obstacles and roadblocks encountered.

     Retired to Snug Harbor, Rhode Island, she remains proud of the work she chose to do and the “countless young journalists” she mentored at the beginning of their careers, many of whom have become her lifelong friends.

Inducted into the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame May 2010