Five people were inducted October 16 into the Missouri Newspaper Hall of Fame. The program was held during the Missouri Press Association’s 143rd annual Convention in the Sheraton Kansas City Sports Complex Hotel.
This 19th induction class included the late Lucile Bluford, longtime publisher of The Kansas City Call; the late David R. Bradley Sr., publisher of the News-Press & Gazette Co., St. Joseph; Brian Brooks, an internationally known journalism professor with the Missouri School of Journalism; Frank L. Martin III, publisher of the West Plains Daily Quill; and the late W. Ray Vickery, a past MPA president and publisher of The Salem News.
The association presents Pinnacle Awards to Hall of Fame inductees. Plaques with their likenesses will be hung in the conference room at the association offices in Columbia and in the student lounge of Lee Hills Hall at the Missouri School of Journalism.
Ms. Bluford joined The Call in Kansas City soon after graduating in 1933 from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism. She had been a summer intern at The Call during her college years, and had earned the respect of the paper’s founder, Chester A. Franklin, and its editor, Roy Wilkins.
Her work as a police reporter, photographer and writer earned Ms. Bluford the position of managing editor after Wilkins’ departure in 1937. She was just 26 years old. She later became The Call’s editor.
Ms. Bluford wanted to attend the graduate school in journalism at the University of Missouri, but the university did not accept African-Americans. Bluford sued the university. After losing two court decisions, she withdrew her case and got on with her newspaper work.
It took several decades, but the university did acknowledge Ms. Bluford’s distinguished career. In 1984, she received the School of Journalism’s Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.
In 1989, the university bestowed upon her the honorary doctorate of humanities degree. The Board of Trustees’ citation read in part: "You fought valiantly to integrate the University of Missouri as you were to fight for integration for all areas of American life. We are embarrassed that you lost the battle at this university, but today we are proud to add you to our list of laureates ‹ at long last."
Ms. Bluford died in 2003 at the age of 91, having worked at The Call for 70 years.
David R. Bradley Sr.
David Bradley Sr. was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the St. Joseph News-Press & Gazette Co. and founder of St. Joseph Cablevision. He died in 1988 at the age of 70.
He founded St. Joseph Cablevision in 1965 and expanded the newspaper’s holdings to include television stations in Georgia, Mississippi, South Dakota and North Carolina.
He was active with the Associated Press and served three terms as a director, from 1970 to 1979. He represented the AP at the African-American Conference in Africa in 1978 and was part of a delegation of AP directors who made a goodwill visit to China in 1977.
Mr. Bradley was a member and officer of several national newspaper and journalism organizations. In 1982 he received the Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism.
Mr. Bradley was active in St. Joseph civic and business organizations and insisted that his newspapers take an active role in the community. He was president of the St. Joseph Industrial Development Corp., which established the industrial park at the east edge of the city.
His sons, David R. Bradley Jr. and Henry H. Bradley, now direct the business.
Brian S. Brooks
Brian Brooks joined the Missouri School of Journalism faculty in 1974 after working in Vietnam as an information officer, for which he earned a bronze star, and as a reporter, copy editor and night city editor at the Press-Scimitar in Memphis.
He served as news editor and then editor of the Columbia Missourian before becoming director of the Journalism Network in 1989. He and faculty member Phill Brooks brought a $15 million grant from IBM Corp. to the School of Journalism.
While on sabbatical from 1997 to 1999, Mr. Brooks was editor of The Stars and Stripes, the U.S. military newspaper in Europe. He directed that newspaper’s coverage of the Bosnia mission, the U.S. entry into Kosovo and the bombing of Belgrade. For this work he received the Department of Defense Civilian Distinguished Service Medal.
For more than 25 years Mr. Brooks has served as deputy director or director of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund editing internship program at Missouri. Students from schools nationwide are trained at the summer workshop for careers as newspaper copy editors.
Mr. Brooks is the author or co-author of four major journalism textbooks, including "Journalism in the Information Age."
He was chairman of the school’s editorial department from 1999 to 2003, when he became associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration. That same year he was named Outstanding Faculty member on campus by the MU Greek system.
Frank Martin III
Frank Martin III is the son of Frank Lee Martin Jr., who bought the West Plains Daily Quill in 1946. He is the grandson of Frank Lee Martin, the second dean of the Missouri School of Journalism. They were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 and 1992, respectively.
Mr. Martin went to work for his father as managing editor of The Quill in 1975 after graduation from the Missouri School of Journalism and four years working for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He became editor, publisher and president of The Quill in 1983.
Under Mr. Martin’s leadership, The Quill has earned many awards and recognition for excellence in journalism. Mr. Martin also has been recognized for his work outside the newspaper.
He was elected in 1979 to the board of trustees of West Plains Memorial Hospital. He was 31 and the youngest of the hospital’s five trustees. Two years later Mr. Martin was president of the board of trustees, a position he held for many years.
After a name change to Ozarks Medical Center and many other changes, the hospital flourished. In 1990, Modern Healthcare magazine named Mr. Martin its Trustee of the Year for hospitals with fewer than 250 beds.
Mr. Martin was appointed to the Missouri Press-Bar Commission in 1999. He has served as volunteer media coordinator for two judicial circuits for more than 10 years.
In 2003, then Missouri Chief Justice Stephen Limbaugh appointed him to serve on the Missouri Commission on Children’s Justice.
He is an outspoken champion of civil liberties and human rights, using his editorial pen to scold and lecture when necessary, knowing that his comments will invite scorn and threats from many of his readers.
In its October 2000 issue, George magazine published a lengthy article about Mr. Martin in its Citizen of the Year issue, calling him "The Bravest Newsman." It presented him with its George Award for a campaign against hate groups.
W. Ray Vickery
W. Ray Vickery follows his mother and father into the Newspaper Hall of Fame. Robert L. and Margaret Vickery were inducted in 1992, the second year of the Hall of Fame.
Ray Vickery earned a degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1961 while attending the university on basketball and Navy scholarships. He flew jets off aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. After active service he flew as a test pilot out of St. Louis.
In 1969, Mr. Vickery joined his parents at The Salem News. He later became the owner and publisher of the weekly. He retired in 1998 and sold the paper to his stepson, Donald Dodd.
Mr. Vickery served as president of Missouri Press Association in 1990. During his term he visited the offices of virtually all 300 member newspapers of the association.
His mother’s desire for a Dent County Museum became a reality in 1970. Members of the Vickery family served on the board of directors of the museum until 2006, when Ray Vickery resigned because of health reasons.
Among the many causes Mr. Vickery fought for was the improvement of Highway 72, the major highway serving Salem. He also vigorously supported local school projects and the children of the community.
Mr. Vickery loved the University of Missouri and Mizzou athletics. He died of cancer at age 67 on Dec. 1, 2006, less than a week after attending the Tiger football team’s defeat of its arch rival Kansas Jayhawks.