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SIX ARE INDUCTED
INTO KENTUCKY JOURNALISM
HALL OF FAME

By Dan Adkins

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The Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of journalism.  They are Kentucky natives or journalists who spent substantial periods of their careers in Kentucky.

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Nationally syndicated columnist Clarence Page will be UK's Creason Lecturer.  For more information, click here.

March 10, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Six people will be inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame at noon Monday, April 10, at a luncheon at the Hilary J. Boone Faculty Center at the University of Kentucky.  The Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of journalism.

The six are:

     The late John Michael “Mike” Barry, editor of the Kentucky Irish American, a weekly newspaper published in Louisville from 1898 to 1968.   Barry was editor from 1950 until its closure.   He spent his life working in various positions at the Irish American and later as a sports columnist for The Louisville Times.   He also was a sports commentator for WAVE radio and television in Louisville.  Barry died in 1992.

        Oscar L. Combs, founder of The Cats’ Pause, a tabloid dedicated to coverage of UK sports.  A native of Jeff in Perry County, he started his career as a high-school sophomore writing high-school regional sports news for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.  After attending Cumberland College, he served as news editor of the Hazard Herald in 1965.  Four years later, he became editor of the Eastern Kentucky Voice, which he later purchased along with the Tri-City News.  Later he launched The Cats’ Pause, which was instantly successful, eventually winning subscribers nationwide and in some foreign countries.  He sold the newspaper to Landmark Community Newspapers in 1997.

        John Lewis “Jim” Hampton, former editor of The Miami Herald which won two Pulitzer Prizes under his leadership.  A graduate of UK, he was editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Kernel and was named outstanding journalism graduate of 1959. He worked for The Associated Press in Louisville and Lexington before joining The Courier-Journal, becoming chief of the Bluegrass Bureau.  He later served 10 years as a writer and editor for the National Observer.  He covered the 1968 presidential campaign, anti-war demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the killing of four students at Kent State University by National Guardsmen.  He holds a master’s degree in communications and journalism from Stanford University, and was named to UK’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1975.

        Timothy M. Kelly, publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader.  A native of Ashland, Kelly began his newspaper career at age 17 as a part-time sportswriter for the Ashland Daily Independent.  He later was a sports writer and copy editor in Huntington, W.Va., Miami and Louisville.  At age 25, he was named executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, followed by key positions at the Dallas Times Herald, The Denver Post, Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County (Calif.) Register.  While serving as managing editor in Denver and Orange County, his newspapers won Pulitzer Prizes.  He served as executive editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader from 1989 to 1991, as editor from 1991 to 1996 and became publisher in 1996.  During his tenure, the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

        Mary Jeffries, longtime award-winning newscaster at WHAS radio in Louisville.  After graduating from Western Kentucky University in 1981, Jeffries worked for two years at radio stations in Eminence and Elizabethtown.  She joined WHAS in 1983 as a reporter and later became assistant news director.  She has received two Peabody Awards, two national Associated Press awards, two Headliner Awards, two Scripps-Howard Awards, two national awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association and two Gabriel awards.

        The late Ted Poston, possibly the first African American to cross the color line into the newsroom of a metropolitan “white” newspaper.   Born in 1906 in Hopkinsville, Poston moved to New York in 1928 and worked for several black newspapers.  In 1936, he was hired by the New York Post, where he covered several national stories including the spreading civil rights movement in the South, the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., and the first trial of Byron de la Beckwith for the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.  The New York University School of Journalism cited his coverage of the 1948 “Scottsboro Boys” trial as one of the Top 100 best works of American journalism.  He retired in 1972 and died in 1974.

Inductees to the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame are natives of Kentucky or have spent a substantial part of their careers in the state.  The hall is sponsored by the UK School of Journalism Alumni Association.

TThe inductees also will attend a 7 p.m. dinner prior to the annual Creason Lecture, which will be given by nationally syndicated columnist Clarence Page. 


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