WKU alumni inducted in Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame

Emma Collins

Three WKU alumni will be inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame at a luncheon in Lexington today.

The three inductees include Tom Eblen, columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, and Chuck Stinnett and Donna Stinnett, past reporters for Henderson’s The Gleaner.

Other inductees include Mike Edgerly, Owensboro native and current executive editor of Minnesota Public Radio; Tom Lococo, journalism teacher at Louisville’s Trinity High School; Bill Straub, former reporter for the Kentucky Post; and Don White, past editor for the Anderson News.

Rounding out the group of nine are two journalists who will be inducted posthumously: Angelo Henderson, a University of Kentucky graduate who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999, and Jim Bolus, former reporter for the Courier-Journal.

Eblen, who was also the managing editor for the Lexington Herald-Leader for 10 years, said he was grateful to be honored for his work as a journalist.

“It is always nice to be honored by your peer, and I am proud to be joining the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame,” Eblen said.

In addition to working at the Lexington Herald-Leader, Eblen has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and as a reporter for the Associated Press. During his time at WKU, Eblen, who graduated in 1979, worked for the College Heights Herald.

“Western and the College Heights Herald gave me a great foundation for a journalism career that is now approaching 40 years,” Eblen said. “I still can’t imagine a more interesting or fun way to earn a living and make a difference.”

Husband and wife Chuck and Donna Stinnett met while attending WKU and also have extensive careers in journalism. In 1980, they both began working for The Gleaner in Henderson.

Chuck Stinnett, a 1979 WKU graduate who retired from The Gleaner in December 2015, is the former business editor for the newspaper and still writes a Sunday column for the paper.

“I was just a longtime community journalist who became committed to our community, and I tried to add to the personality of The Gleaner through my columns,” Chuck Stinnett said.

Both Chuck and Donna Stinnett worked for the Herald and the Talisman during their time at WKU.

Donna Stinnett, who graduated in 1977, was also the editor for the Talisman in that same year. She retired from her position at The Gleaner in February.

“All I have done, really, is spend a career working in a profession that I have loved since high school,” Donna Stinnett said.

Both of the Stinnetts said they do not think they rank among the journalists who have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“Naturally, it is nice to be recognized for the work you’ve spent a lifetime doing, but I don’t consider myself to be in the same class as most of those who already possess a seat in the Hall of Fame,” Donna Stinnett said.

Chuck and Donna Stinnett have also been awarded other honors. They received the Lewis Owens Award for Community Service from the Kentucky Press Association and the Lexington Herald-Leader. From the Scripps Howard Foundation, they received the William R. Burleigh Award for Community Service.

To be inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, candidates must either be Kentucky natives or have spent much of their journalism career in the state. Those who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame range from Pulitzer Prize winners to journalism teachers; however, all of them must have been active long enough in their field to make significant contributions.

The Hall of Fame was created in 1980 by the UK Journalism Alumni Association, and it is located on UK’s campus in the School of Journalism and Media.