As the Assignment Manager of the CNYcentral, it TMs natural to feel competitive pressure in trying to beat other news organizations in town---other TV operations, newspapers, web sites. I TMve won a few and lost a few over the years. But next week I will have the honor of handing out some special awards to five special people who al work or once worked at my competitors. You see the other hat I wear is that of president of the Syracuse Press Club.
Thursday night we will install five journalists to our Wall of Distinction.What is the Wall of Distinction? Well, if you ever get to the John H. Mulroy Civic Center for a concert or other performance in the theater there, you TMll see the Wall of Distinction just before the escalator. It TMs a monument to some people who TMve done the best work Syracuse has seen in print, radio and television.
Thursday night ,in an event that will feature keynote speaker Jeff Glor"CBS News weekend anchor and a former TV3 anchor---five new plaques will be added to the wall.The event at Drumlins is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased here.This year TMs class of inductees include several people behind the scenes in local media. Here's a little bit about each honoree I originally wrote for the SPC web site.
Robert Atkinson Executive Editor Post-Standard (retired)Like many in our community, Robert Atkinson began his career in journalism by attending Syracuse University. He left school to join the navy. After six years in the service where he began his career as a journalist, he returned to Syracuse to get a job with The Post-Standard. He began his forty-year career at the paper with a posting as bureau correspondent in Saranac Lake in 1954. He spent time as the Watertown Bureau reporter before making it as a reporter on he city desk. By 1965 he had moved up through the ranks to become Managing Editor, overseeing the paper's entire news operation. In 1981 Atkinson was named Executive Editor, overseeing the paper's news operation and its editorial voice.While Atkinson was at the helm of the paper it was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for a series of reports in 1992 on how poor medical care in New York's prisons made them the deadliest in the nation.Atkinson also showed editorial courage in a community in love with Syracuse basketball when a series of articles titled "Out of Bounds" revealed NCAA violations in basketball recruiting. The series resulted in sanctions against the basketball team.He retired in 1993.
Janis Barth Managing Editor Local News, The Post-StandardJanis Barth began her career in journalism in radio working as a reporter in the North Country. She later switched to print as a part-time North Country reporter for the Syracuse Newspapers in 1978. By 1990 Barth joined the main newsroom inSyracuse as a reporter on the city desk. She quickly was named an assistant city editor. In 1992 she was promoted to city editor for the Herald Journal/Herald American. Barth later rose to the positions of Assistant Managing Editor and Managing Editor, leading the paper's news staff and coverage.
Barth's story ideas, newsroom leadership and editing skills lead the staff of the paper as it reported some of its most compelling and award-winning stories. Among them the six month long investigation by Jon Craig and Hart Seely that toppled the management at the NYS Division for Youth. The report found physical and mental abuse of young people incarcerated by the state. Barth was the prime mover and final arbiter for every word and phrase of the series.Barth also personally led the paper's coverage at Woodstock '99. Staying with a team of reporters in a rented trailer at the site. As the concert weekend came to a close, a riot erupted and Barth was there personally directing her team caught between thousands of rioters and state police.
John Krauss-General Manager WRVO-FM (Retired)John Krauss is one of the rare people in broadcasting today who has spent more than forty years at one station, and the listeners of WRVO-FM are he better for it. Krauss joined WRVO when it signed on the air as a 10 watt educational radio station on the campus of SUNY Oswego. As the station grew in size and power, Krauss worked in all facets of station operations becoming its first news director and also served as morning host.As WRVO increased its coverage area by adding stations in Utica and Watertown, Krauss was promoted to Assistant General Manager. Ten years later he became the station's General Manager. Under his leadership the station continued its growth in size and news coverage. WRVO now broadcasts at 50,000 watts and in HD. The station continually ranks as one of the top eight stations in the Syracuse area. In recent years its strong local news department and its affiliation with NPR has filled the gap in radio news coverage as fewer commercial stations in the area make a commitment to local news coverage. That success can be seen in the growing number of SPC awards as well as statewide awards WRVO has won.Ron Lombard-General Manager YNNYour News Now, (originally News 10 Now) is an ambitious endeavor by Time Warner Cable to deliver 24 hour news across New York State. Ron Lombard was selected by Time Warner to handle the tremendous job of putting this operation together from scratch; hiring the staff, supervising the build out of studio and newsroom facilities, and training a young staff to make it all happen. The Syracuse operation he oversees covers news stories from Binghamton to Watertown and from Utica to Auburn providing viewers with local news any time of the day.Lombard is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. He began his career in central New York as a reporter and anchor at WSYR radio. He later moved to WIXT (Now WSYR-TV) Newschannel 9. Ron started as assignment editor before moving on to the position of assistant news director. He was news director from 1991-2001, helping lead the station to its place as the dominant ratings leader in the market.Hart Seely-The Post-Standard, AuthorHart Seely is a reporter, author, essayist, political commentator and so much more. Hart is one of the most versatile reporters and writers in central New York. He's written hard-hitting investigative pieces like his expose on abuses of teen inmates in New York, and his reports from Iraq while embedded with the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division.Seely is also an accomplished writer of features and humor columns. His work is not just seen in Syracuse. Seely's writing appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington, Slate.com and National Public Radio. Seely is also a published author of "Mrs. Goose Goes to Washington: Nursery Rhymes for the Political Barnyard," (Simon & Schuster, 2007). He is the co-editor of "O Holy Cow: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto" (Ecco Press, 1993), "2007-Eleven and Other American Comedies" (Random House, 2000), and editor of "Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld" (Simon & Schuster 2003).