Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame Honors Seven

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(L-R) John Hood and Kent Syler
(L-R) John Black and Phil Barnett
Dan Whittle (right) talks with a friend
(L-R) Peter and Jim Demos
Dr. Larry Burriss
(L-R) Hooper Penuel and Whit Adamson
Ron Fryar
Whit Adamson
Ken Paulson

(MURFREESBORO) Popular local writer and broadcaster Dan Whittle along with six other journalists were inducted into the Sixth Annual TENNESSEE JOURNALISM HALL OF FAME Tuesday (8/7/2018) evening at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center.

Bart spoke with the local inductee to the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame . . .

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Whittle shared his story of learning about a 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, has made major financial support available to numerous worthy causes.

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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.

He went to Nashville and then to Murfreesboro where Whittle stayed and captured hearts with his human-interest stories in the Daily News Journal, Post as well as Cannon Courier. Now his humor and warm personality win friends on the TRUMAN SHOW over WGNS.

(L-R Photo ID) grandson and son of Jerry Thompson, Dan Whitle, Bob Mueller, Frank Gibson, Charlie Daniel, and Randy Smith. Les Leverett was unable to attend. (all photos by WGNS NewsRadio)

In addition to our hometown hero, the evening's honors included six other journalists:

Charlie Daniel, a Knoxville News Sentinel editorial cartoonist. Over 55-years, Daniel produced over 15,000 cartoons. He specialized in blending sharp, but gentle humor, with a worldview that peels away pretense.

Frank Gibson a 52-year award winning journalist and editor with the Nashville Tennessean. He has been a statewide advocate for journalists, First Amendment and government transparency.

Les Leverett a photo-journalist is known for capturing the memories of the Grand Ole Opry. His creations focused on the stars, their music and the times their songs portrayed.

Bob Mueller with WKRN TV-2 was honored. He has previously received 10 Emmy's for his television journalism talents. Bob has also earned the George Peabody National Award for his excellence in investigative reporting.

Randy Smith a 48-year Chattanooga sportscaster, who is also in the Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame, was honored. He had MTSU ties through WGNS and Monte Hale where he spent his early years. By the way, Smith was wearing a True Blue sportscoat.

Tennessean investigative reporter and columnist Jerry Thompson received the honor posthumously with his son and grandson sharing memories. He went undercover as a Ku Klux Klan member in the early 80's and received the National Headliner Award. He died in 2000. He was nicknamed "Tub", and was remember for his column Thompson Station.

The Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame was started here in Murfreesboro and blends the leadership of Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, and Tennessee Press Association.

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