A group of past and present media executives and practitioners announced Friday the creation of a Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame that will be housed in the new Center for Innovation in Media at MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.
The effort is led by a non-profit, independent foundation, which plans to recognize career excellence in “all facets of media, including newspapering, television, radio, electronic and public relations,” said Dan Whittle, a columnist for the Murfreesboro Post and the Cannon Courier in Woodbury.
Mass Communication Dean Roy Moore said the first class of inductees to the new hall will be announced in April 2013 as part of the college’s annual academic awards ceremonies.
“Tennessee has a rich heritage of producing so many outstanding, nationally and internationally known journalists,” Moore said. “We are extremely pleased to have the unique opportunity to host the foundation’s hall of fame in the Bragg Mass Communication Building.”
The foundation leading the effort includes MTSU journalism professor Larry Burris; Ron Fryar, publisher of the Murfreesboro Post and Cannon Courier; Hooper Penuel, a retired lieutenant colonel and former public information officer for the Tennessee Air National Guard; and Whittle. The foundation’s board includes business leaders and media executives from across the Middle Tennessee region.
Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg, son of the college building’s namesake, the late State Rep. John Bragg, applauded the creation of the hall and its location at MTSU.
“There could not be a more appropriate location than within the premises of MTSU’s internationally recognized College of Mass Communication,” said Bragg, whose family once owned several community newspapers in Tennessee. “Being in the geographic heart of Tennessee, we love the idea of it being headquartered in Murfreesboro.”
Penuel said the hall will be “all inclusive,” honoring excellence by individual, living or deceased, from all aspects of communication. Another separate effort, founded in 1966 by the Tennessee Press Association that is housed at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, honors only newspaper executives who have been dead for five years or more.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said the hall will serve as an inspiration to MTSU’s media students. “As a center for media innovation, it is very appropriate that we will showcase the legacies of those in Tennessee media who personify excellence in their fields,” McPhee said.
For more information about the Hall, visit the foundation’s website at tnjournalismhof.org or email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.