The Mirror's Sarah L. Greene named to Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame
Jan 28, 2010 | 3545 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photos<br>
SARAH L. GREENE makes some brief remarks before being inducted into the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame last week in Galveston. About to present her with the award is Larry Jackson, TNF president and publisher of the Fayette County Record. A few moments later, next photo, Mrs. Greene is pictured with her children, Russ and Sally.
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Sarah L. Greene, publisher emerita of The Gilmer Mirror, became the first woman inducted into the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame Friday night in Galveston.

The Foundation also announced George Bannerman Dealey, Rigby Owen Sr. and Lyndell N. Williams as 2010 inductees into the TNF Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony took place at the Texas Press 2010 Midwinter Conference at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center.

Larry Jackson, president of the Texas Newspaper Foundation’s board of directors, introduced Mrs. Greene. Jackson is also publisher of the Fayette County Record in La Grange.

In response, Mrs. Greene expressed her appreciation to the Texas Press Association, which, she said, had been an invaluable aid to her in the community newspaper business.

She said that when she had gone to work for the Dallas Morning News in 1949 as a new college graduate, she had joined a group of bright World War II veterans who were inspired to meet the high standards of their legendary city editor, the late Jack B. Krueger.

She said she could never have imagined six decades ago that she would one day share an honor with George Bannerman Dealey, the Dallas Morning News founder who died in 1946.

Accompanying Mrs. Greene to the Moody Gardens were her daughter, Sally, and son, Russ, as well as Mirror staffers Suzanne Patterson and Heather Ratcliffe.

“It was a special pleasure to see my mother so honored by her colleagues in the newspaper profession,” said Sally.

“This is only the latest in a long line of awards Sarah Greene has received during her distinguished career,” said Russ Greene. “I have been blessed in my life to have an absolutely awesome mother.”

In 2006, the Austin-based Texas Newspaper Foundation created its own hall of fame to induct up to four exemplary men and women of the newspaper business each year.

The first four, Roy Eaton, Alfred H. Belo, James Roberts and Staley McBrayer, were inducted in January, 2007.

Like Eaton, Belo, Roberts and McBrayer, the 2010 class of inductees’ clearly outstanding achievements and contributions to the newspaper industry and to their communities were recognized by a selection committee that met Nov. 5 and picked four individuals from a field of 33 nominees.

Serving as members of the selection committee were Roy G. Robinson, publisher, Graham Newsapers Inc., chair; Bill Berger, publisher emeritus, Hondo Anvil Herald; Alvin Holley, publisher, Polk County Newspapers Inc., Livingston; Phil Major, publisher of the Wise County Messenger, Decatur; and Jerry Tidwell, publisher, Hood County News, Granbury.

A biographical sketch of each honoree was printed in a Texas Press Association program given to those in attendance at the banquet.

Here is Mrs. Greene’s TPA bio:

SARAH L. GREENE

Sarah L. Greene, publisher of The Gilmer Mirror from 1974 to 2006 and president of the Texas Press Association, 1995-96, is a third-generation newspaperwoman, following her parents, the late Georgia and Russell H. Laschinger, and grandfather, George Tucker, as publisher of The Gilmer Mirror. George Tucker purchased the newspaper in 1915. The fourth generation is Sarah Greene’s son William R. “Russ” Greene, publisher of The Gilmer Mirror since 2006.

Long before high school, Sarah Greene got experience in such jobs as collecting for subscriptions door-to-door, distributing funeral notices to stores and running election results.

During World War II, when the absence of advertising lead to cutting back The Gilmer Mirror from a daily to weekly publication, the staff dwindled down to a basic two — her parents, Russell and Georgia Laschinger. These were Greene’s high school years and she remembers telling her mother that she would never go into the newspaper business for she never meant to work that hard.

Greene went to Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., for two years. It was not until her junior year at the University of Texas that she capitulated into the journalism news sequence. She worked for the Daily Texan, making many late night trips to the campus press as news editor to put the paper to bed and reporting experiences that proved invaluable when she hit the job market. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1949.

In June following graduation, she joined The Dallas Morning News and worked for three years as a city staff reporter. She left for Fort Worth after her marriage in 1952 to Ray H. Greene, then a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter. In 1953 they accepted an invitation to move to Gilmer and join the family business.

While the Greene children, Sally and Russ, were small she worked mostly as a reporter, feature writer and proof reader, gradually taking on more duties as they grew up.

She became co-publisher after the death of her father in 1974. Daughter Sally is vice president of the family corporation. She lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., with her husband, Paul Jones, and son, Tucker.

Greene twice received the Anson Jones Award of the Texas Medical Association for outstanding reporting of medical news.

She received Texas Press Association’s Golden 50 Award in 1999 for her five decades of service in the newspaper industry in Texas. The Gilmer native is the second woman elected to serve as TPA president.

She was president of North and East Texas Press Association in 1989-90. In 1996 the Association for Women Journalists, at a banquet in Dallas, honored her and 89 other “trailblazers” with a “Woman of Courage” award for showing “leadership, tenacity and integrity in working to improve conditions for women both in and out of the profession.”

The Mirror is the oldest business institution in Upshur County, so Mrs. Greene has naturally had an interest in local history and folklore.

She has presented papers for the Texas Folklore Society, of which she served as president in 1985, the Texas State Historical Association and the East Texas Historical Association.

Mrs. Greene attended her first Texas Press Association convention at Galveston in 1949. Dinner at the Balinese Room, reached by walking through a casino, is her most lasting memory.

But before another decade had passed, she had learned how essential the association would be in keeping her abreast of the always-changing newspaper industry.

Regular attendance at the North and East Texas Press Association conventions lead to her being a director and, in 1986, president. She served on the board and the ladder of offices before becoming TPA president in 1986. She was the TPA representative to the National Newspaper Association for three years, ending with the 1997 Fort Worth convention when Roy Eaton, then owner and publisher of the Wise County Messenger in Decatur, was NNA president.

The biographical profiles of the other three 2010 recipients are online at www.gilmermirror.com and also at www.tnf.net.

Fred V. Barbee Jr., Ben R. Ezzell, Jesse H. Jones and Jerry Tidwell were the 2009 inductees into the TNF Hall of Fame.

Amon G. Carter Sr., Walter Buckel, Alvin Holley and Harold Hudson were inducted in 2008.

Texas Newspaper Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Its purpose is to sponsor educational short-courses for working newspaper journalists in Texas.

BIOGRAPHIES OF OTHER 2010 TNF Hall of Fame Inductees:

GEORGE BANNERMAN DEALEY

George Bannerman Dealey, born in England in 1859, immigrated to Galveston at age 11 with his parents, four brothers and four sisters. He began to work at the Galveston Daily News as an office boy in 1874, replacing his brother Thomas W. Dealey, who had been promoted by Alfred H. Belo, publisher.

By 1885, Thomas was an officer of the reincorporated A.H. Belo & Co., and Belo sent G.B. Dealey to Dallas to oversee the start-up of the Dallas Morning News. The Dallas and Galveston newspapers had their own local staffs and writers but shared a network of correspondents around the state. The company used leased telegraph lines to send copy the 315 miles from Galveston to Dallas, thus establishing the first "newspaper chain."

G.B. Dealey was promoted from business manager to general manager, then to vice president, and after Belo's death, to president before acquiring the company from Belo's heirs in 1926. G.B. Dealey was the chief executive of The Dallas Morning News from its first edition on Oct. 1, 1885, until his death in 1946, at which time his mantle was passed to his son. Today, his great-grandson James M. Moroney III is publisher and his great-grandson Robert W. Decherd is chairman, CEO and president of Belo Corp.

Early in the 1920s, G.B. Dealey's leadership enabled him to expose lawlessness and atrocities of the Ku Klux Klan in Texas, leading to the defeat of the organization's political candidates from local elections to the governor of Texas. The toll exacted on the company by that principled fight lead to the sale of The Galveston Daily News. However, The Dallas Morning News' position as a leading Texas newspaper was firmly established and G.B. Dealey's heirs have never wavered from their commitment to his ideals.

During his long and productive career, G.B. Dealey established the highest standards for fair reporting on controversial issues, acceptance of paid advertising, treatment of workers and generous community service for newspapers.

RIGBY OWEN SR.

Rigby Owen Sr., president of the Texas Press Association, 1971-72, was born June 17, 1912, in Rosebud, Texas. Owen graduated from high school in 1931 in Norman, Okla. At 19 he enrolled as an engineering student at the University of Oklahoma. During his first semester, his father had an automobile accident that resulted in a permanent back injury that would keep him from working the rest of his life. Owen quit college after one semester and went to work to help support his parents. They were living in Norman at the time. In 1932 he moved to Cushing, Okla., to assist his older brother in distributing The Oklahoma City Times and the Daily Oklahoman.

During that year, Owen's brother was transferred to El Reno, Okla., to work as a distributor for the two Oklahoma City papers. Owen remained in Cushing and met his future wife, Jo Briley. They married Feb. 14, 1933. Later that year, Owen was hired as circulation manager of The Cushing Daily Citizen. During his two years there he converted all the routes so the carriers would do the collecting and pay for their papers. This was called the "Little Merchant Plan." In making this change Owen was able to double the paid circulation for the newspaper. While working for the Citizen he wrote a column titled "Red Visits the Rural Routes," so named because of his red hair. The Owens' first child, Sandra, was born in Cushing.

In August 1935 the district manager for the Oklahoma City papers, C.A. Lane, was named circulation manager of the Little Rock Democrat. Owen was offered a job as city circulation manager by his longtime friend. He took the job thinking this was quite a move for him and stayed there about one year before deciding to move on because he seemed to enjoy working on smaller newspapers.

In September 1936 he moved to Shawnee, Okla., and worked for the local newspaper in advertising and circulation. After about six months he moved to Ada, Okla., where he was hired as circulation manager for the Ada News. During his six years on this job he wound up making more than men who had been on the job a lot longer. Two sons, Steve and Rigby Jr. were born in Ada.

In 1937 Owen was appointed an Honorary Colonel on the staff of the Oklahoma Boys State for his enduring work with young newspaper carriers under the "Little Merchant Plan." In January 1941 Owen was elected president of the Ada Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Early in 1942 Owen resigned from the Ada News when he had an opportunity to buy one-fourth interest in the Opelousas Daily World in Opelousas, La. The World was a year and a half old and was started by John Thistlethwaite for about $12,000. There were several other stockholders owning 50 percent of the stock. When Owen arrived in Opelousas, Thistlethwaite sold him 25 percent of his stock, mostly on credit. The next day Thistlethwaite left for the Army.

During the next few years the minor stockholders wanted to sell out. Thistlethwaite did not want to participate. Owen was able to purchase an additional 50 percent of the outstanding stock, again, mostly on borrowed money.

When WWII ended Thistlethwaite came back to be the editor of the World and Owen was publisher. Thistlethwaite was offered a chance to be a 50-50 partner with Owen but was not interested. Owen considered Thistlethwaite an equal partner and good friend during his nine years in Opelousas.

The Daily World was the only offset daily newspaper in the state at the time and later was declared the first successful offset daily in the United States. During his nine-year tenure in Opelousas, Owen co-owned nearby newspapers, including The Eunice New Era, The Lafayette Pictorial and The Lafayette Progress. The paper in Eunice was later renamed The Eunice News.

Owen was elected to the Louisiana Press Association board of governors in April 1944 and elected president of the LPA at their annual meeting in New Orleans in 1947.

In 1951 Owen sold controlling interest in the World to Thistlethwaite. In December of 1951 Owen bought The El Campo News and sold in March 1953.While in El Campo, Owen co-owned newspapers in Port Lavaca and Weslaco.

On Sept. 1, 1953, Owen bought the Conroe Courier and moved there with his family. He was elected vice president of the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association in 1954. Patsy Woodall, publisher of the Huntsville Item was elected President. In May 1955 Owen became president of the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association. In July 1971 he was elected president of Texas Press Association. At that time, he was only the second publisher in the United States to have served as president of two different state press associations. On Sept. 1, 1971, Owen sold the Conroe Courier to Universal Publishing Inc., Wesley Attaway chairman of the board. Owen served on the board for several years.

Other newspapers Owen owned prior to the sale of the Conroe Courier included The Tomball Tribune, The Cleveland Advocate and The Huntsville Pictorial. He also acquired an FM radio permit to begin operating radio station KNRO in Conroe. In 1976 he bought radio station KMCO in Conroe, now KIKR.

LYNDELL N. WILLIAMS

Texas Press Association hired Lyndell N. Williams as executive vice president, effective April 1, 1974. He served in that capacity until June 30, 1998. His leadership propelled Texas Press Association to rank highly among the nation's state press associations.

Williams came to Texas Press Association after serving 13 years as assistant manager of the Oklahoma Press Association, learning the ropes from his friend and mentor, OPA chief executive Ben Blackstock.

When Williams started with Texas Press, the association was $35,000 in debt. Under his management, the debt was soon retired and cash reserves multiplied until Texas Press Association's fiscal strength made it one of the healthiest state press associations.

Williams was a high-energy idea man and scrupulous manager who did much to improve the association's array of member services. He initiated the annual trade show, advertising short courses, news-writing clinics and accounting seminars. His idea of providing computer training for the staff of member newspapers continued to expand after his retirement. Among his more notable legislative accomplishments were the repeal and prevention of taxes on advertising and circulation in the 1980s.

A 1950 graduate of Oklahoma University, Williams put his bachelor's degree in business administration with minors in marketing and economics right to work at the Holdenville (Okla.) Daily News, where he was named news editor and later assistant publisher.

In 1961, he resigned to join Oklahoma Press Association. Prior to college, Williams served in World War II in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, 87th Infantry Division. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge and other ground operations in the European Theater. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in action. He died Jan. 2, 2008, in Oklahoma City.

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