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Lewis Conn and William Matthews

Lewis Conn and William Matthews

2017

(Inducted jointly with William Matthews). Visionaries and change agents, they transformed how Kentucky weekly newspapers were published, and provided good journalism to many communities. Conn was publisher of the Jefferson Reporter and Matthews publisher of the Shelby Sentinel in 1966, when they persuaded a diverse group of eight other weeklies to create one of the South’s first central printing plants, with Matthews as president and Conn as vice president. In 1968 they formed Newspapers Inc., which grew to 23 papers and four presses. In 1973 they sold it to Landmark Communications, which owns more Kentucky papers than any other publisher and is known for good journalism. They co-founded the Kentucky Weekly Newspaper Association; it spurred reforms in, and merged with, the Kentucky Press Association, of which Matthews was president in 1977. He built another group of weeklies in Northern Kentucky that he sold in 1977 and remained with until 1982. He publishes an award-winning magazine, Back Home in Kentucky, and has written, edited or published five books. Conn published the Kentucky Business Ledger, known for editorial integrity, in 1975-81. When he died in 1989, he was executive director of the Association of Area Business Publications in Annapolis, Md. A University of Louisville graduate, he founded the Reporter in 1953 after serving in the Army and working as a labor leader. Matthews, a University of Michigan graduate, bought the Sentinel in 1962 after serving in the Central Intelligence Agency. He published an autobiography, Editor, Actor, Ballplayer, Spy, in 2014. Died in 1989. Mr. Matthews passed in May 2017.