about the Press Club Hall of Fame's home at Nighttown restaurant
in Cleveland Heights. (Produced by Broadcast Media Ideas)
journalists inducted into Press Club Hall of Fame
By Kevin Kelley
Published Dec. 2, 2009
his 23-year career as a local radio and television reporter, Paul
Sciria found the perfect way to get close to newsmakers. He bummed
cigarettes off them.
was one of seven media veterans inducted into the Press Club of
Cleveland’s Journalism Hall of Fame at a dinner Oct. 28 at LaCentre
Conference and Banquet Facility in Westlake.
in Cleveland Heights is the home to plaques honoring Hall of Fame
was the best cigarette moocher,” Sciria said of his trick of bumming
cigarettes off newsmakers. “And I used that as a rouse to break
down the party I was (getting information from).”
began his broadcasting career writing newscasts for local sportscasting
legends Tom Manning and Bob Neal simultaneously.
then reported news for radio station WTAM 1100 AM, and later Channel
coverage of everything from politics to the courts to labor issues
garnered him a large number of good sources. The trick of getting
good sources, he said, was to never disclose a confidential source.
“I don’t care if they put you up against a wall, you hold fast to
it,” he said.
of his sources was union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who called Sciria “the
cockroach.” “That’s because I was always running somewhere,” Sciria
Sciria followed the lead of the city’s hardened newspaper reporters.
“That’s where I learned this game,” he said. “They beat me so often
on stories it was unbelievable. But I learned.”
time, the print media came to respect radio and television reporters,
the ‘50s, early ‘60s, they didn’t think twice about what radio and
television was doing,” Sciria said of the newspapers. “But when
I left in ‘74, they were listening to what we were doing in the
city room at The Plain Dealer and the various papers.”
WKYC didn’t renew Sciria’s contract in the mid-1970s, he had a job
offer in public relations by the next week. His clients included
boxing promoter Don King.
in 1992, Sciria established La Gazzetta Italiana, an Italian American
newspaper, which he has been editor of ever since.
photographer for The Plain Dealer for 31 years, Bill Wynne was a
finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for photos accompanying articles
that exposed the mistreatment of prisoners at the Lima State Mental
he took a photography class during his senior year at Cleveland’s
West Tech High School, Wynne really learned the art as a reconnaissance
photographer in the Army Air Corps in the South Pacific during World
War II. It was there he adopted a Yorkshire Terrier he named Smoky
who became a war hero. As Wynne recounts in his book, “Yorkie Doodle
Dandy,” the well-trained Smoky later performed in a few Hollywood
and photographers necessarily have different approaches to thinking,
are an odd bunch,” Wynne said. “They were very strange. They come
from everywhere. They used to say you could take a drunk from the
jail and make him a great photographer. We didn’t have a lot of
respect in those days.”
good photographer has to be himself, Wynne said. With every click
of the shutter, the photographer must incorporate “all the background
that he has grown up with — the people he has met, all the knocks
in life that he’s had,” Wynne said. “That’s the way he is interpreting
what he sees.”
said he was unique in that he tried whenever possible to take images
of people helping each other, even in the midst of covering a riot.
Sullivan, a former foreign correspondent and columnist for The Plain
Dealer, said journalism has been more than a profession to her.
has been a family,” she said.
a video summarizing her career, Sullivan confessed to being a procrastinator
who needs deadlines to get assignments done. The camera also revealed
her desk as perhaps the messiest of all at The Plain Dealer.
the director of the PD’s editorial board, Sullivan said her 30 years
in Cleveland, which she said is close to “the true roots of American
life,” has influenced how she thinks about journalism, which in
turn is so needed by the community.
the Internet has challenged the business model of the traditional
printed newspaper, the value of journalism will prevail, she said.
of the effort that goes into creating that great product — that
believable, fair, just, thorough reporting — that has not only a
value intrinsically, but it has a value that can be expressed even
when it’s delivered on the Internet,” she said.
really, strongly believe that we should be able to package that
in a way that we can continue to get value for what we produce,
because it really is valuable,” she said.
the managing editor in the news department at WKYC-TV3, Dick Russ
spent 20 years as co-anchor of the noon news on Channel 8.
addition to paying tribute to his fellow inductees, Russ saluted
the Press Club members who set the city’s journalistic standards.
has always been a leader everywhere — in print and in radio and
in television,” Russ said. “The patrimony of journalistic integrity
that’s been passed from generation to generation is astounding.”
said he tells young journalists to learn the profession the same
way he did — look to and listen to “the old guys.”
radio voice of the Cleveland Browns and sports anchor at WKYC, Jim
Donovan said the neatest thing about his success in this town is
that he’s not a native Clevelander.
was not really thinking that Cleveland was going to be on my radar
in my professional career,” the Boston native said. “Twenty-five,
26 years later, I have truly found my home in Cleveland, Ohio,”
Donovan said to a round of applause.
said his greatest joy is being a play-by-play broadcaster. As a
boy, Donovan brought a tape recorder to the Boston Garden and did
play-by-play of Bruins games while sitting next to his dad.
love what I do at Channel 3,” Donvan said. “But on Sunday afternoons
when I sit in the broadcast booth on the Cleveland Browns Radio
Network, that is where I really dreamed of always being.”
addition to saluting past Browns play-by-play announcers, Donovan
recognized his fellow broadcaster, Doug Dieken.
have watched a lot of field goals and not enough wins,” Donovan
said of the team’s dismal 2009 season.
Dealer columnist Regina Brett recounted how great a privilege it
is for journalists to frequently be invited into the hearts of people
while reporting stories.
said she loves everything about newspapers, and even misses getting
ink on her fingers from papers printed on now retired presses.
said that, for her, journalism has been like a family. “Yeah, it’s
a pretty dysfunctional family sometimes, as we all know,” Brett
said. “We all have those stories about people in the newsroom.”
A colleague introduced her to her husband, she noted.
how important newspapers were to her parents, Brett noted that she
has begun keeping a time capsule of important events for her grandson.
keep thinking, ‘What would I tuck in there if it weren’t for newspapers?’”
about the future of newspapers are not as horrible as many beleive,
Brett said. “I don’t think it’s some horrible problem,” she said.
“I think it’s a mystery that we’re all trying to solve and be part
Pulitzer winner Walt Bogdanich began his career as an investigative
reporter with the Cleveland Press in 1977. Three years later, he
moved to The Plain Dealer, where he reported that local union leader
Jackie Presser had been a secret FBI informant. Bowing to pressure,
the paper retracted the story. However, time revealed that Bogdanich’s
reporting was correct.
1984 to 1992, Bogdanich was an investigative reporter for the Wall
Street Journal. Later, he became a producer for ABC News and “60
Minutes.” Since 2001, he has been an investigative reporter and
editor for The New York Times, where he earned two more Pulitzers.
WJW Channel 8 sportscaster John Telich was recipient of the Chuck
Heaton Award, bestowed on a journalist who exemplifies the sensitivity,
humility and journalistic talent that the late Plain Dealer sportswriter
native of Northeast Ohio, Telich joined WJW in 1980. Heaton wrote
a column about the young sportscaster, who recalled watching the
Browns win the NFL Championship in 1964. He added how cool it would
be “to be here in my hometown to cover championship after championship.”