Five to be inducted April 30

This story was posted on Dec. 11, 2010.

The Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame will induct five new members who share many of the same traits as media innovators, freedom of information defenders and mentors to young journalists. The induction ceremony will be April 30, 2011, at Indiana University.

Meet the inductees:

  • The late Jack Backer was the Indiana Daily Student publisher who guided the student newspaper’s transition from a school-controlled classroom lab to a fully independent news organization paying its own way and dealing with decision-making issues as would any newspaper.

    As publisher of the Indiana Daily Student, Jack Backer guided the student newspaper’s transition from a school-controlled classroom lab to a fully independent news organization paying its own way and dealing with decision-making issues as would any newspaper.

    When he came to IU to lead the IDS in 1969, Backer already had taught journalism and had been general manager at the Niles (Mich.) Star, experience he used to create a business model for the newly-independent IDS. But his innovative ideas about design and his commitment to students “learning-while-doing” were achievements that contributed to his being named National College Newspaper Adviser of the Year in 1973. His work became a model for other collegiate newspapers around the country.

    In their letters nominating Backer, former colleagues and students remembered his motto, “Progress is crisis-oriented,” and his “gee whiz” notes when he marked up a week’s worth of IDS issues for critique sessions. They also recalled his ability to always seem as if he were having fun, even amid deadline pressures and “crises.”

    Former staffers remember Backer’s lessons well. When the national fad of streaking, or running through public venues naked, came to campus, some IDS staffers were inclined to post the small story on inside pages. Backer, the inveterate newsman, convinced the staff to run the story on page one. Next day, the story made the national wires and earned a big “gee whiz” on the critique sheet.

    Read the full bio.

  • J. Bruce Baumann is the retired editor of the Evansville Courier and Press who led the newspaper to two Hoosier State Press Association Blue Ribbon awards during his nine years of leadership. He worked as a photographer, newspaper designer, assistant managing editor and editor, and is a four-time Picture Editor of the Year and three-time Photographer of the Year recipient.

    Baumann’s first news job was as high schooler working in the sports department at the Evansville Courier, a newspaper he would later edit during the course of a 47-year career in journalism in which he worked as a photographer, newspaper designer, assistant managing editor and editor.

    He racked up over 500 awards for his work, including four-time Picture Editor of the Year and three-time Photographer of the Year from the National Press Photographers Association. NPPA also awarded him the Joseph A. Sprague Award, the President’s Award, the John Durniak Mentor Award, Jim Gordon Editor of the Year and the Clifton C. Edom awards.

    Nominating letters from staffers and colleagues, however, laud Baumann, 67, for his contributions to their own awards. When he returned to the Evansville Courier and Press in 1998, he led the newspaper to two Hoosier State Press Association Blue Ribbon awards during his nine years of leadership. One recalled Baumann’s unflagging mentoring and support. “He often said, ‘my job is to stand in the middle of the newsroom and flap my wings and make everyone believe we can fly,’” wrote one nominator. “And he does just that.”

    Retired three years from Evansville Courier and Press, Baumann still works in news as producer of the online Posey Magazine and he still is mentoring as a teacher of photojournalism at Southern Illinois University.

  • Under executive editor Bill Nangle, The Times of Northwest Indiana has won the Hoosier State Press Association’s Blue Ribbon status seven times since 1993. He spearheaded the State of Secrecy project to uncover abuses of the state’s freedom of public information process, which led to reforms.
    Bill Nangle

    The Times of Northwest Indiana executive editor Bill Nangle leads one of the state’s largest dailies in a hotly-competitive region, but his nominators point to his integrity and far-sightedness as keys to the newspaper’s achieving HSPA Blue Ribbon status seven times since 1993, more than any other newspaper.

    Nangle, 65, has been both a tough newspaper editor, not shying away from controversial stories and uncovering corruption, and a savvy businessman, creating bureaus, decentralizing the newsroom and heralding change. The Times of Northwest Indiana just transformed from newsroom to “media” company of newspaper, niche products, online and mobile applications.

    Nangle’s efforts aren’t confined to his own newspaper. He made strides in public access to information on behalf of all Hoosiers when, in 1998, he suggested the State of Secrecy project to test the effectiveness of Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act, which provided citizens access to copy and inspect public records. Citizens were finding that just the opposite was the case.

    Six newspapers in Indiana sent reporters acting as private citizens to gather public information in all 92 counties. State of Secrecy found that time and again, these reporter/citizens were turned away empty-handed. The result was the creation of the office of Public Access Counselor to hold public agencies accountable.

    Nangle’s 46 years of effort in journalism have been recognized with honors such as the Hoosier State Press Association’s Distinguished Service award.
    Read the full bio.

  • The late Clay Trusty of the Indianapolis News headed the Indiana Plan to nurture young college journalists through newspaper internships with a mission of keeping them in Indiana. His mentoring extended to young reporters new to the job at the News.
    clay trusty

    One could say that Clay Trusty was born to journalism, as his father owned Home News Publishing in Indianapolis and young Clay began delivering the Indianapolis News at the tender age of 10.

    But in his 42 years at the News, Trusty forged his own path during tumultuous times in history and in journalism. As copy editor, city editor and assistant managing editor at the News, he oversaw thousands of words of stories ranging from history-making to mundane, supervised and mentored hundreds of reporters and editors, and became a champion of attracting and keeping talented young journalists in newspaper.

    As television news and public relations began to attract journalism majors, Trusty and others spearheaded the Indiana Plan, or Indiana Newspaper Personnel Committee, to place college students at newspapers and to help them find full-time jobs at Hoosier dailies after graduation. Trusty administered the plan, keeping in touch with interns during and after their stints, and referring them to job openings as they came across his desk. He visited many campuses himself and took interns under his wing when they came to the News.

    For those new to the newsroom, Trusty’s presence was a comfort. One nominator, recalling the hectic environment of the newsroom’s “high-strung, caffeine-fueled, foul-mouthed reporters banging on typewriters,” lauded Trusty’s demeanor.

    “He never screamed or shouted or got red in the face,” he wrote. “He coolly worked through each surprise and kept moving the production process forward.”

    During his long career, Trusty was honored at outstanding reporter while a student at Butler University and received Distinguished Service awards from both Ball State University and Alpha Phi Gamma journalism fraternity. He was past-president of Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors.

    Read the full bio.

  • The late Charles Werner was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist at the Indianapolis Star for five decades who won the 1951 National Headliners Club award and eight Freedom Foundation awards.
    Courtesy Indianapolis Star

    At age 29, Daily Oklahoman cartoonist Charles Werner was the youngest person in his field to win a Pulitzer Prize when he won for his 1938 editorial cartoon depicting the end of Czechoslovakia as a result of the Munich Agreement which ceded Sudetenland to Hitler. This would not be the only honor bestowed on Werner during his decades of work, much of them at the Indianapolis Star, where he worked until retiring at age 85.

    The Wisconsin native’s training began as an artist, photographer and reporter for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri. He briefly attended art school, then moved to the Oklahoman, then to the Chicago Sun in 1941. He joined the Star in 1947, where his work won the 1951 National Headliners Club award.

    Werner also won eight Freedom Foundation awards. His cartoons have been displayed around the country, reprinted in textbooks and historical collections, and are featured in Encyclopedia Brittanica. He had been president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

    His work was a favorite of several presidents. In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson requested 14 originals from Mr. Werner to be placed in his papers for permanent preservation.

    His fellow artists called him a “cartoonist’s cartoonist” for his insight and his work’s editorial commentary. Editorial cartoonists must be journalists at heart, Werner believed.

    “A cartoon must be based on fact. It must be direct and critical, using satire and ridicule as a base,” he once said of his craft, which he added was “eminently suited to chronicling present day life in a boobyhatch.”

    Read the full bio.

“Once again, the IJHF board of directors has chosen five individuals whose conspicuous contributions and achievements in journalism have earned them coveted recognition in the Hall,” IJHF president Ray Moscowitz said.

“In Jack Backer, the hall is recognizing a man who was one of the premier journalism educators of the 20th century,” Moscowitz continued. “Bruce Baumann has been a major force in the vital area of visual journalism. Bill Nangle has been a crusading editor whose newspapers have improved the quality of life in northwest Indiana. Clay Trusty was an outstanding newsman whose vision opened newsroom doors to hundreds of young journalists. And Charlie Werner’s cartoons had an edge that defined his powerful work.”

The Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame was established in 1966 to recognize and honor journalists who have significantly contributed to the profession through their careers and communities.

Housed at Indiana University, the Hall of Fame conducts its annual ceremony at the Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington.


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