From left: Jeremy Halbreich, AIM Media Texas LLC; Mary Henkel Judson, Port Aransas South Jetty;
Willis Webb, The Jasper Newsboy; and Sam Fore Jr., Floresville Chronicle Journal.
Texas Newspaper Foundation is proud to announce Sam Fore Jr., Jeremy Halbreich, Mary Henkel Judson and Willis Webb as the 2013 inductees in the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place on Jan. 18, 2013, during the Texas Press 2013 Midwinter Conference and Trade Show at The Westin Galleria Houston.
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 2013 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. 2.
Serving as members of the selection committee were: Phil Major, TPA president 2007-08, chairman; Jerry Tidwell, TPA president 1996-97; Alvin Holley, TPA president 2000-01; Bob Brincefield, TPA president 2010-11; and Chad Ferguson, TPA president 2011-12.
INDUCTEES’ BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
Sam Fore Jr.
Sam Fore Jr. was elected 41st president of Texas Press Association in 1919 at the age of 28. He is believed to be the youngest person to hold the office.
Fore owned and edited the Floresville Chronicle Journal, which he purchased in 1912, and also published the Robstown Record, which he bought from the Robstown Chamber of Commerce in 1926. His oldest daughter, Marion, and her husband, Carroll Keach, published the Record until their deaths in 1981 and 1983. Their son, Sam Fore Keach, and his wife, Vicki, continued to publish the Record, along with their son, Darrell Keach, until finally selling the paper in 2006 to American Consolidated Media Inc. and Jeremy Halbreich, a 2013 inductee in the TNF Hall of Fame. For 80 years and five generations, Sam Fore Jr. and his family published the award-winning South Texas newspaper.
After Gov. James Ferguson won re-election in 1916, he vetoed appropriations for the University of Texas in retaliation against its refusal to dismiss certain faculty members Ferguson found objectionable. Many Texas newspapers railed against this and other actions, and in 1917, he was impeached by the Texas Legislature.
In 1924, Ferguson’s wife, Miriam, was elected governor. She promptly vetoed appropriations for the University of Texas School of Journalism and the School of Music. Again, Texas newspaper editors were furious. The UT School of Journalism was established in 1914 by William D. Mayes, a TPA past president and former Texas lieutenant governor. When the journalism school was abolished, Mayes went back to his newspaper, the Brownwood Bulletin, and with the help of other editors and publishers, like Fore, made sure Miriam Ferguson was a one-term governor.
Fore was a leading force in the campaign to restore the UT School of Journalism and effectively supported the election of Gov. Dan Moody, a champion of funding the journalism school. This was only one of many causes Fore led.
In 1918, five years after he attended his first Texas Press Association convention, he was elected vice president of TPA. He became president a year later. In the 1920s, he helped form South Texas Press Association. He was actively involved in both groups for the rest of his life.
Fore died at home in Floresville on Dec. 24, 1966.
Jeremy Halbreich has been a leading newspaper executive and industry visionary for more than 40 years.
Halbreich began his career with The Dallas Morning News following graduation from Harvard University. He was the first non-family member to complete the executive management training program at the Morning News and rose through the ranks to become president and general manager of the paper.
During his tenure as president of The Dallas Morning News, Halbreich was highly involved in negotiating on behalf of Texas newspaper publishers with the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (now Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) and establishing the voluntary newsprint recycling guidelines and survey form.
He helped TPA and Texas Daily Newspaper Association staff hold forums across the state to inform publishers and printers that if Texas newspapers did not show a high rate of voluntary compliance with the new recycling guidelines, the Texas Legislature would make the guidelines mandatory and enforced. As a result of his leadership and initiative, Texas newspapers have consistently met state recycling goals and managed to keep newsprint recycling guidelines voluntary.
In 1998, after 24 years with the company, Halbreich left the Morning News to form his own newspaper company, America Consolidated Media LP.
ACM initially concentrated on community newspapers in small markets like Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts, but in 2000 an opportunity presented itself in Texas. ACM purchased five daily newspapers from Boone/Narragansett: Alice, Brownwood, Miami (Okla.), Stephenville and Waxahachie, along with assorted weekly newspapers and shoppers. Two months later the company acquired a twice-weekly paper in Marble Falls, as well as weeklies in Burnet and Kingsland from Granite Publications.
Halbreich and ACM were instrumental in facilitating the continuation of local focus and leadership for many small daily and weekly newspaper markets. ACM stepped in to help communities, such as Hearne, Franklin, Calvert, Ballinger, Winters, Midlothian, Red Oak and Freer, along with several others. Over the next few years, ACM grew to include 105 newspapers across ten states.
After selling ACM to Macquarie Media Group in 2007 and remaining with ACM for a one-year transition, Halbreich became chairman of the board and CEO of publicly-traded, Sun-Times Media in Chicago. He led the company, including the Chicago Sun-Times, seven suburban daily newspapers and 32 suburban weekly newspapers, through bankruptcy and operational restructuring, negotiated new agreements with 16 separate unions, supported the high reporting standards that led to the Chicago Sun-Times winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for local reporting, and sold the company to a blue-ribbon group of local Chicago investors in late 2011.
In 2012, Halbreich formed AIM Media Texas LLC to purchase the print and online publishing assets in Texas from Freedom Communications. While Halbreich’s home remains in Dallas, the new operating company’s headquarters are in McAllen. The publications and affiliated websites include daily newspapers in McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville and Odessa.
Halbreich is one of the most respected newspaper executives in Texas. His professionalism, integrity and consideration for employees, communities and the products he publishes are above reproach. The Dallas Morning News under his tenure was a standard of excellence in major market journalism. The same standard of journalistic integrity followed his venture into smaller market community newspapers.
Halbreich is a past president of TDNA and serves on the board of directors of the Victoria Publishing Company and Texas Community Media.
Mary Henkel Judson
Texas Press Association’s 113th president, Mary Henkel Judson, is a trailblazer in the Texas newspaper industry. More than 100 years after the foundation of Texas Press Association, Judson became the first woman to lead the organization.
This January, she will become the second woman inducted in the TNF Hall of Fame, following TPA’s 118th president, Sarah L. Greene.
Judson is a lifetime achiever in journalism. She grew up in the business. Her parents, “Cap” and “Kitty” Henkel, published the Refugio County Press.
Her first paying job was as a columnist for the Refugio County Press. As a fifth-grade student in 1963, she wrote “Junior Beat” about the comings and goings of elementary and middle school students. She went on to write a similar column as a student at Refugio High School.
Judson attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and worked at the San Marcos Record when it became a daily.
She later transferred to the University of Texas, where she majored in journalism and worked as a summer intern at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. There she met her future husband, Murray Judson, a staff photographer.
After another semester at UT, Judson went to work at the San Patricio County News in Sinton as assistant news editor. She left the newspaper in April 1976 when she married.
Judson and her husband moved to Refugio where they assumed editor and publisher positions from her parents, who were retiring.
In January 1981, the Judsons purchased the Port Aransas South Jetty and the following September they bought the Refugio County Press.
The couple moved to Port Aransas in May 1983. In spring 1989, the Judsons and George Phenix purchased the Goliad Advance-Guard.
Judson served as president of South Texas Press Association (1980-81) and Texas Gulf Coast Press Association (1994-95). Mary and Murray are serving as co-presidents of TGCPA for 2012-13.
During his 60-plus-year career, Willis Webb, 75, has been a syndicated columnist, a managing editor, advertising director, newspaper consultant and an award-winning editor/publisher. He served as the 126th president of Texas Press Association in 2003-04.
Webb began his career in the newspaper industry at age 10 by working as a carrier throwing the Waco Tribune-Herald on a bicycle route in his hometown of Teague from 1947-53 and was distributor/carrier of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Teague from 1953-55.
In 1956 and 1957, he studied journalism at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, served as sports publicity director for Sam Houston State Bearkat Athletics and worked as a stringer for the Huntsville Item and correspondent for The Houston Post, Associated Press, United Press and International News Service.
He returned home for one year as news editor of the Teague Chronicle, then finished his journalism degree in night school at the University of Houston, working days as a copy editor for The Cougar, the student newspaper, and authored a syndicated column, "The Texian Editor's Frontier News Flashes," gleaned from Texas newspaper files from the 1860s and 1870s. More than 150 newspapers carried the column.
In 1959 he became an ad sales rep for the Galena Park Reporter and six months later was named general manager. In 1960 he became associate editor of Texas Industry magazine, published by the Texas Manufacturers Association.
Webb worked as editor and then editor/publisher of the Fort Bend Mirror at Rosenberg for six years and spent the next three years as editor/publisher of the Cleveland Advocate. Next stop was Conroe, where he was associate publisher, then editor, then publisher of the Conroe Courier and later the Conroe Daily Courier.
He was editor/publisher of the Lockhart Post-Register from 1982-84 and the Fredericksburg Radio Post from 1984-85. During the next four years he worked for Hartman Newspapers Inc. in several capacities. Webb was editor/publisher of the Fort Bend Business & Legal Review at Stafford and then joined the Houston Digest as an ad sales rep.
In May 1991, he became editor/publisher of The Jasper Newsboy, a Hearst newspaper, and in 1997, Webb became the first weekly publisher to receive the Hearst Corporation's Eagle Award for outstanding individual accomplishment in journalism.
Basing his career on the belief that a weekly paper offers not only the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a community, but also chance to participate in all aspects of the newspaper industry, Webb has received numerous awards and honors for community service, news writing, editorials, columns, headline writing, photography, advertising design and layout and page design.
In 2005, he, along with his wife Julie, who was contributing editor for The Jasper Newsboy, traveled to Long Beach California, where they received the national Youth Service America Harris Wofford Award for “outstanding service to the youth of Jasper, Texas.” And in 2010, he received the Lifetime Achievement in Print Media Award for alumni of the Sam Houston State University’s Communication Department.
Webb retired from The Newsboy in 2007, but he didn’t retire from newspapers. Currently, he writes a weekly column, carried by 24 Texas newspapers. And, although he and Julie moved to Louisiana last summer to live closer to their son Weston, Webb remains a Texan at heart.