Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two leading open-government advocates among 2011 Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame inductees

Two leading advocates of open government are among six people in the 2011 class of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, announced this week: Tom Loftus, longtime chief of the Frankfort bureau of The Courier-Journal, and Robert Carter, retired publisher of the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville.

Bob Carter, left, was president of the Kentucky Press Association in 1976 when the legislature passed the Open Records Act, and was on KPA's leadership ladder in 1974 when it passed the Open Meetings Act. For his work on that and other projects, he was named KPA's outstanding member in 1975. "Carter began his career on the advertising side of the newspaper business, and he thrived there, but countless journalists have benefited from his role in getting the Kentucky General Assembly to adopt the open-meetings law and the open-records law," New Era Publisher Taylor Hayes wrote in his nomination letter.

One of the leading users of the act, to the benefit of his newspaper and the public, has been Tom Loftus, right. Chief of the Louisville newspaper's state-capital bureau since 1987, "He’s an ardent watchdog who has made use of those laws than perhaps any other journalist in the state, as signified by the James Madison Award from the [UK journalism] school’s Scripps Howard First Amendment Center in 2008," said the nomination by Al Cross, his former C-J colleague, now at UK's Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, and Bill Straub, his former colleague at The Kentucky Post, now Washington correspondent for the The Gleaner of Henderson and the Evansville Courier and Press.

Others elected to the Hall of Fame, overseen by the UK Journalism Alumni Association, are Bill Bartleman, recently retired reporter for The Paducah Sun; Jackie Hays Bickel, retired anchor for Louisville’s WAVE-TV; Ed Shadburne, former general manager of WLKY-TV and of WHAS-TV-AM-FM in Louisville; and the late Albert Dix, publisher of The State Journal of Frankfort. The six will be inducted at a luncheon April 5 in Lexington.

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