By Mike Sparks
Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame Inductees
One of highlights of 2018 was of The Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame inducting 7 into its prestigous class, including one posthumously, during induction ceremonies Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters annual conference at Murfreesboro’s Embassy Suites Hotel. This will mark the sixth class to be inducted into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, located at Middle Tennessee State University.
Pictured: WGNS Radio Bart Walker and Hall of Fame columnist Dan Whittle.
Previous class inductees may be found at www.tnjournalismhof.org. This year’s inductees include First Amendment advocate and retired veteran journalist Frank Gibson; Knoxville News Sentinel editorial cartoonist Charlie Daniel; Grand Ole Opry photographer and publicist Les Leverett; award-winning News 2 anchor Bob Mueller; veteran announcer and sportscaster Randy Smith; Tennessean investigative reporter Jerry Thompson (posthumous); and longtime Midstate journalist and columnist Dan Whittle.
Legendary columnist, philanthropist, humorist and author Dan Whittle shared his story. His story of learning from humble beginnings from the janitorial opening at his hometown newspaper, and going in and telling the editor, “I’m here for the job you have to offer.” The editor was thinking of another “opening”, and after answering a few questions, Whittle was hired to write a local sports column. The young Whittle was surprised that a janitor’s job included writing, but his career grew from there.
In addition to writing stories about unique people who touch the lives of others, this philanthropically themed journalist also created ways to financially support non-profits. Whittlemania, a program that was in association with Demos Restaurants. The program has made major financial support available to numerous worthy causes.