Tennessee Journalism Hall Of Fame

“Recognizing individuals who have demonstrated outstanding skill in their Journalism field”


Welcome to the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame (TJHOF) website. Look around, take your time and enjoy the visit. We started with a vision created in 2010 by several practicing Journalists, retired professionals in the field, officials from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, business officials, and others interested in promoting proper recognition of Tennessee Journalists, living or deceased, native or non-native who chose Tennessee as their home, for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the field of Journalism. The TJHOF has inducted 43 outstanding journalists into the hall of fame since inception.

Inductees into the TJHOF are individuals who have made significant and substantial contributions to the profession during a career that includes the practice of Journalism in print, broadcast and new media. Honorees may be living or deceased, native Tennesseans who spent much of their career out of state or non-natives who spent a substantial portion of their career in Tennessee. To be considered for induction, individuals must have distinguished themselves through news or business management, leadership in the industry, or in the ordinary practice of Journalism, and those whose contributions have otherwise been recognized by their peers. Inductees will come from various ranks to include, reporters, writers, editors, publishers, news directors and other managers and those who have excelled in advertising, public relations and education in those disciplines.

Thank you for your time. Come back often. You may just see your name as the most recent inductee into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame! 

The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2020 class is June 1, 2020.

Organizational Committee

Whit Adamson
Tommy Bragg
Larry Burriss
Rob Clutter
Doug Combs
Jim Demos
Peter Demos
Deborah Fisher
Jim Freeman
Ron Fryar
Frank Gibson
Jimmy Hart
Mona Herring
John Hood
Ed Kimbrel
Rick Mansfield
Roy L. Moore
Andrew Oppmann
H. Hooper Penuel Jr.
Mike Pirtle
Bart Walker

Journalism Hall of Fame Honor Seven in 2019 ★

MURFREESBORO-The Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame (TJHOF) will honor six outstanding Tennessee journalists during induction ceremonies Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 4:30 pm during the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters annual Conference at Murfreesboro’s Embassy Suites Hotel. This will mark the seventh class to be inducted into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame located at Middle Tennessee State University. Previous class inductees may be found at www.tnjournalismhof.org.

Inductees include a five time Emmy Award Winning Journalist, a 42-year veteran Associated Press writer who covered the Nashville music scene and the untimely death of internationally known mega music sensation Elvis Presley; a 50-year veteran radio and television broadcaster and former producer for the American Forces Network in Europe; a humor columnist who began is journalism career as a sports reporter before taking leave to serve in the United States Marines; a President and General Manager of a huge Broadcasting and Digital Company starting his career as a janitor at the tender age of nine; and a retired Anchor Emeritus with over three-quarters of a century experience in journalism.

This year’s induction ceremony will take place Aug. 6, 2019 in conjunction with the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Annual Conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, 1200 Conference Center Blvd. Murfreesboro, TN. 37129, 615-890-4464. Guests are invited to attend a special presentation by BMI recording music artist Joe Denim immediately following the induction ceremony. Mr. Denim writes songs with witty lyrics. Fans will recognize Joe for the double platinum selling, irreverent break up hit “Pray For You” and his latest, the ultimate redneck hit “Together We’re A Ten.”

Ken Paulson, a defender of the First Amendment and former Middle Tennessee State University Dean of Media and Entertainment and now the Director of the new Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University will emcee the induction ceremony. Guest speakers include Ron Fryar, Owner and Publisher of the Cannon Courier and two time Past-President of the Tennessee Press Association, Whit Adamson, President of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, and Dr. Larry Burriss, Professor of Journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and current President of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame.

The Tennessee Journalism Hall Fame is an independent partner with MTSU recognizing individuals who have distinguished themselves through news or business management, leadership in the industry, or in the ordinary practice of Journalism. Inductees can include reporters, writers, editors, publishers, news directors, and other managers as well as those who have excelled in advertising or public relations, and journalism advertising and PR education. Inductees may be living or deceased, native Tennesseans or non-natives who spent a substantial part of their career in Tennessee.

Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame Honorees for the Class of 2019 are:

  • VALERIE CALHOUN-Five-time Emmy Award Winner and Co-Host of Good Morning Memphis, WHBQ, Fox 13. A native of East Tennessee, the University of Tennessee graduate returned to Tennessee after spending time in South Carolina and Alabama before landing in West Tennessee where she has become an integral recognizable personality part of the community.
  • JOE EDWARDS- A 42-year veteran with The Associated Press, all in Nashville serving as both day and night supervisor. During his career with AP, while covering the music country music beat, Mr. Edwards interviewed numerous country stars including Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift. Joe Gained national and worldwide acclaim as a member of a team of Associated Press writers covering the death of Mega star Elvis Presley in 1977. As a result of Edwards articles about the song “Rocky Top,” the Tennessee General Assembly proclaimed it a state song. Today, the music of Rocky Top immediately identifies with Tennessee.
  • EARL FREUDENBERG-A veteran radio and Television broadcaster with over 50 years in the journalism profession with Chattanooga Radio and Television stations. Experienced in all departments of broadcasting including music, talk shows news-gathering, reporting, public affairs, human interest and charitable fundraising. Mr. Freudenberg served in the U.S. Army, from 1971-1974 as a broadcaster and radio producer with American Forces Europe in Frankfurt Germany.
  • FRANCIS “RED” O’DONNELLPosthumously- A Nashville Banner Columnist selected by the Country Music Association as the top journalist of the year. He wrote humor columns and covered music but began his career his journalism in 1932 as a sports reporter. He took leave from the Nashville Banner to serve in the United States Marines before returning to his home in Nashville. Mr. O’Donnell died in 1983. 
  • PAUL FREEMAN TINKLE-President and General Manager of Thunderbolt Broadcasting and Digital, Martin and Union City, Tennessee. Began his broadcasting career at the age of nine. At 15, Paul was hired as the station janitor where he now serves as President and owner. A past chairman of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, Past president of the Tennessee Press Broadcasters Association. Paul is a founding member of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.
  • BILL WILLIAMS- Retired Anchor Emeritus, and special reporter for WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tennessee. Bill has worked in the news industry since the 1950s. Mr. Williams continues to work with Mission of Hope an outreach program to aid people in rural Appalachia. He came to WBIR in 1977 where he remained on the anchor desk until he retired.

NOTE: The 2019 induction ceremony is dedicated to Journalist and Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame Co-Founder and author Dan Whittle who passed away April 25, 2019 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.