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West humbled by IJHF induction

West humbled by IJHF induction
West humbled by IJHF induction
Randy West receives his Hall of Fame award from Ray Moscowitz, president of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

Humbled and flattered, Randy West of Corydon accepted induction into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame on behalf of other small-town newspapers and their employees ‘who work tirelessly’ to keep newspapers going and ‘deliver and face people they write about.’
West was one of six people to be inducted into the IJHF April 17 in the Ernie Pyle Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington. The others were the late James Barbieri, who spent 56 years as editor and reporter at The News-Banner in Bluffton; Tom Cochrun, who worked in news radio before making the transition to television news and retired in 2007 as news director for WISH TV in Indianapolis; the late Wanda Ramey Queirolo, who was the first female news anchor in the western United States and later worked for National Educational Television; David Stamps, a newspaper man who is retiring this year as the executive director of the Hoosier State Press Association; and the late Frank Widner, who worked almost his entire life for newspapers, including The Indianapolis Times and later The Indianapolis Star.
West was introduced by Larry Ordner of Newburgh, one of his former students at CCHS who now works as an aide for U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar’s office.
‘For 35 years, Randy West chronicled life in Harrison County,’ Ordner said, adding that West ‘didn’t aspire to be a writer and photographer.’
Rather, West began a career as a teacher, and, in 1967, he moved to Corydon and took a position teaching English at Corydon Central High School. He also was asked to sponsor the CCHS school newspaper. It was through his school work that he became acquainted with the O’Bannon family, who owns this newspaper.
‘He literally learned the news business alongside his students,’ Ordner said.
West made the career change in 1970, becoming The Corydon Democrat’s editor, a position he held for 35 years.
‘Agree with him or not, people read what he had to say,’ Ordner said, adding that West is ‘living proof that outstanding journalism can be produced.’
During West’s tenure, The Corydon Democrat was honored 14 times by the HSPA with its Blue Ribbon award for weekly newspapers.
‘To be considered for the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame is humbling and I don’t feel deserving,’ West said, looking over the some 160 people in attendance, including his wife, Diane, their children and grandchildren, and many of West’s colleagues and friends. ‘Looking over the list, I don’t belong.’
Included on that list is the late Frank O’Bannon, who was inducted in 2007, and Robert P. O’Bannon, class of 1971.
So, West accepted on behalf of the countless others who put together newspapers, which he called ‘the rhythm of life.’
Referring to the Internet as an ‘ugly phenomenon’ that has plagued the industry, West vowed that ‘community newspapers will come back ‘ most (people) want a newspaper in their hands.’
Since the IJHF was established in 1966 by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, 223 people have been inducted prior to this year’s class. The purpose of the Hall of Fame, said Lawrence Taylor, IJHF executive director, is to ‘tell more people about journalism and the great journalists from Indiana.’
Names of prospective inductees are made and then a committee selects about a dozen for approval by the IJHF board of directors.
For more information about the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame and biographies of West and other inductees, visit online