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KY Journalism Hall of Fame

Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame

The Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame recognizes Kentuckians who have made significant contributions to the profession of journalism. Nominees must be natives of Kentucky or journalists who have spent a significant portion of their careers in Kentucky.

The Hall of Fame has inducted Pulitzer Prize winners, reporters, editors, photographers, publishers, broadcasters, journalism teachers and others who have left their mark on journalism. Scan the honor roll of more than 200 names and you’ll find the first African-American woman to cover the White House, the developer of gonzo journalism, a voice of Triple Crown races and winners of nearly every national journalism award. 

Hall of Fame Inductees

Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame Inducts Nine New Members

Nine new members joined the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame Friday, April 28. They will be inducted at a luncheon ceremony sponsored by the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Media and the UK School of Journalism Alumni Association.

The new inductees being recognized for their contributions to journalism are: 

  • Tom Butler, retired vice president of news for WPSD-TV in Paducah, a mentor to several outstanding broadcast journalists and an advocate of strong journalism during his 35 years there.
  • Lewis Conn and William Matthews, whose 1968 creation of the Newspapers Inc. chain changed the way Kentucky community newspapers were owned and published. (Conn is deceased and will be inducted posthumously.)
  • Ron Daley of Hazard, former editor and publisher of the groundbreaking Troublesome Creek Times in Hindman, now strategic partner lead for the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative.
  • Dr. Mike Farrell, professor of journalism at the University of Kentucky, director of its Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, and former managing editor of The Kentucky Post.
  • Bill Francis, retired reporter and anchor for WDRB-TV, who covered Louisville for 42 years and was the first full-time business reporter for a Kentucky television station.
  • Mary D. Ferguson, who became the first female reporter for Hopkinsville’s Kentucky New Era in 1962, then a columnist and the Pennyrile area’s unofficial historian until her death in 2016 (posthumous induction).
  • Bettye Lee Mastin, a retired Lexington Herald-Leader reporter and author whose writing about historic architecture helped lead to the preservation of many historic structures in the Bluegrass.
  • Joe Palmer, a Lexington native and UK graduate whose Thoroughbred racing coverage for the New York Herald Tribune in the 1940s and ’50s was hailed by many contemporaries as the best (posthumous induction). 

Journalism Hall of Fame Luncheon

The 2018 inductees will be honored at a luncheon on Monday April 9, 2018

The site of the luncheon is: Griffin Gate Marriott 1800 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

Cost is $50 per person.

Reservations may be made online by following this link:

Reservations information will be updated soon.

Please contact the Project Manager, John Cruz at 859-257-3904 with any questions about reservations. Or



The hall was created by the University of Kentucky Journalism Alumni Association in 1980. It is housed in the School of Journalism and Media in the Grehan Journalism Building on the Lexington campus. Nominees are inducted annually.  

The Hall of Fame welcomes nominations, which may be submitted at any time. But for a nominee to be considered for induction in the spring, the nomination must be received via e-mail or postmarked by December 31, 2017.

The nomination form is available for download here:  NOMINATION FORM 

A nomination letter elaborating on that information should be included.

A nominee’s resume or curriculum vitae can be a useful document. The Hall of Fame recommends at least two seconding letters accompany the nominating material.

The complete nomination and seconding letters for the Hall of Fame are distributed to the selection committee.

The committee meets to review new submissions and discuss previous nominees who have not been selected.

The selection committee consists of the president of the UK Journalism Alumni Association; the director of the UK School of Journalism and Media or the director’s designee; the executive directors of the Kentucky Press Association and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association or their designees, and four Hall of Fame inductees chosen by the Journalism Alumni Association president.

Those selected by the committee are notified and invited to the Journalism Hall of Fame induction reception. Representatives of posthumous selectees will also be invited to the reception.


Guidelines for Nomination

  1. Nominees should be made from the period of modern Kentucky journalism history, dating from 1870. The hall includes a recognition of “Pioneers of Kentucky Journalism” before that era.
  2. Nominees should have made a significant connection to Kentucky and have been active in journalism long enough to establish that the contributions they have made to the profession are significant (the sole criterion for selection).
  3. Those who are Kentucky natives or were raised or educated in Kentucky but practiced journalism elsewhere are eligible for nomination and selection.
  4. Posthumous nominations are welcome.
  5. A portrait-style photograph of the nominee, or an easily accessible source for such a photograph, should accompany the nomination.


Nomination Letters

The Journalism Alumni Association recommends the nominating letters elaborate on the points listed below:

  1. What are the nominee's Kentucky connection(s)?
  2. Nominee’s current and past employment.
  3. Highlights of the nominee’s career, including awards received.
  4. Nominee’s significant contributions to journalism, in the form of coverage or commentary that illustrate journalism’s central role in democracy and civil society, contributions by the nominee to the stature of journalism and/or the education of journalists.
  5. Nominee’s contributions to society.