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By Dan Adkins

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The 2001 inductees into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame are Nick Clooney, the late Virginia Harris Combs, William R. Grant, Guy Hatfield and Monica Kaufman.

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April 12, 2001 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Five journalists have been inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Hilary J. Boone Faculty Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  The hall of fame, sponsored by the UK Journalism Alumni Association, inducts journalists who are natives of Kentucky or have spent substantial periods of their careers in Kentucky.

The inductees are:

              Maysville native Nick Clooney, now syndicated radio show host and a three-column-a-week writer for the Cincinnati Post and Kentucky Post in Covington.  He also served recently as a host and writer-researcher for the American Movie Classics cable-television channel.  Clooney began his broadcasting career on Maysville radio station WFTM while in high school.  He eventually became a weekend news anchor and production director at WKYT-TV in Lexington and program director for WLAP-AM in Lexington.  A newsman and broadcaster for nearly 50 years, Clooney has accumulated more than 300 awards, including an honorary doctorate from Northern Kentucky University and the Thomas More (College) Presidential Medal.  He is the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney and the father of film and television actor George Clooney.

     The late Virginia Harris Combs, a Lee County native and longtime columnist for the Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg.  Combs, who died in 2000 at age 99, started her career in journalism after nearly 30 years as a second-grade and high-school English teacher in the Whitesburg schools, where she started the high school newspaper.  She launched her weekly column, “Family and Friends,” focusing on small community happenings and offering her home remedies, political commentaries and doses of proper English grammar usage.  Her column continued for more than 40 years, even after she moved to Lexington late in her life.  A graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College, where she played basketball, Combs was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.  She authored two books and was active in local clubs and church organizations, winning recognition for outstanding service by Letcher County and Kentucky Wesleyan, among others.

        Winchester native William R. Grant, the first person to receive a master’s degree in mass communications at the University of Kentucky.  Grant currently is director of science, natural history and features for WNET, New York City’s public television station and a major source of Public Broadcasting System programs.  Grant has been producer of “The American President” and “Stephen Hawking’s Universe,” among other major public TV programs, and has been executive editor of “Nova” and managing editor of “Frontline.”  He has won major national awards, including five National Council for the Advancement of Education Writing awards, two Charles Stewart Mott education writing awards, the American Bar Association Silver Gavel, two Peabody awards and six Emmys.  A 1965 graduate of UK, he was editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Kernel.  He spent his early career as a writer for The Courier-Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Detroit Free Press and The Lexington Leader.  He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University from 1979 to 1980.

        Guy Hatfield, who distinguished himself as Kentucky’s youngest publisher in 1973.  He is the publisher of the Citizen Voice & Times in Irvine, the Clay City Times and the Flemingsburg Gazette.  He was the youngest president of the Kentucky Weekly Newspaper Association and is the only person to hold that office three times.  He was president of the Kentucky Press Association in 1998 and visited every paper in the state during that year.  His newspapers have won 542 awards over the years from the KPA, the WKPA and the National Newspaper Association for excellence in writing, editing and photography.  The Citizen Voice & Times has been named best Kentucky weekly in its class 16 times since 1975.  He has been recognized by the Boy Scouts of America for his volunteer service.

        University of Louisville graduate Monica Kaufman, who has served as news anchor for three evening newscasts for WSB-TV in Atlanta since 1975.  She began her news career in Louisville, working as a reporter for The Louisville Times, in public relations at Brown-Forman Distilleries, and at WHAS-TV as a reporter and news anchor.  Over the years, she has won 23 local and Southern Regional Emmy awards.  In 1992, she received the Woman’s Sports Foundation’s Women’s Sports Journalism Award for local television reporting for her investigative report on the Georgia High School Association’s exclusion of recognition of women.  She has received two commendations from the National American Women in Radio and Television in competition with network programs.  She received the Woman of Achievement Award from the Metropolitan Atlanta YWCA, and was the first African American and second woman to head Atlanta’s Metropolitan United Way.

Among the events planned today is the annual Joe Creason Lecture, named for The Courier-Journal columnist who died in 1974.  This year’s speaker will be Bonnie Angelo, a Time magazine reporter for 25 years who held major assignments in Washington, D.C., New York and London.   Over the years, Angelo has covered presidents and prime ministers, political campaigns and summit conferences, manned space flights and the inaugurations of six presidents.  She is a member of the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.  The Creason Lecture will be at 8 p.m. in the Singletary Center for the Arts.

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