Dan Whittle and others inducted into Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame

Dan Whittle
Pictured: Dan Whittle,Sen. Dawn White, Smyrna Historian Marty Luffman, Ivan Sheffield, WGNS host Truman Jones.
By Mike Sparks

  Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame Inductees

Dan Whittle

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. 


Dan Whittle Fisher House
Dan Whittle speaking at Murfreesboro Rotary Club about The Fisher House
Dan Whittle has been  involved with supporting the local Fisher House at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center on Compton Road. Whittle stressed, “This is all private money, no government funds are being used.” He explained, “A Fisher House is a home away from home that offers free lodging for families of patients receiving medical care at military medical centers.”
Since its inception in 1990, Fisher Houses have served more than 335,000 military families, saving families $407 million since 1990 and has offered over 8 million days of free lodging. There are now 79 facilities in the US and 7 new VA medical facilities in other countries.
In addition to his mass media career, Dan Whittle has also authored several books: Canalou: People, Culture, Bootheel Town, Music City–Talent Behind The Stars, and others. In his book, “Canalou” Dan tells about the life and hardships of the people of the Bootheel Region of Missouri and the adventures of young Danny Whittle as he grew up in one of our country’s last frontiers, “Canalou”.
Goverbor Bill Haslam and Mike Sparks
Photographs courtesy of Frank Caperton of Frankworks
(Note: I want to thank the Tennessee Broadcasters Association for their invitation this year to attend the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. While in my TV 2 News journalism class, I overheard a young MTSU student, Devin Grimes, who couldn’t find a news story to cover. I laughed when I heard him tell Professor Dan Eschenfelder, “Professor Dan, I don’t know what to cover, there’s nothing going on” lol. I invited him to tag along with me and cover the event. Devin had a great educational experience being able to speak to Governor Haslam and meet a few journalists. The broadcasters association was very graciuos and willing to assist. Devin’s TV 2 news project was of Governor Bill Haslam speaking at the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame.)


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