For outstanding service to journalism in Tennessee, JERRY THOMPSON is posthumously inducted into the 2018 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame.
Jerry began his career at the Nashville Tennessean in 1961 where at the age of 20, he was a copy clerk. Later he worked as a police reporter and investigative journalist, and always said he was first and foremost a reporter.
Although he was often seen as a balding, overweight good ol' boy, he used that façade to tackle some of the most divisive issues in America.
In 1979 he infiltrated two rival Ku Klux Klan groups, an effort that took him away from family, friends and colleagues for 16 months.
For that work he won a National Headliner Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The endeavor also resulted in a book, "My Life in the Klan."
In 1991 he wrote a series of stories exposing fraud and waste in the Medicare program. The series led directly to U.S. Senate committee hearings where it was disclosed Medicare was paying 15 to 25 times the manufacturer's costs for medical supplies.
His long-running column, Thompson's Station, was one of the most popular features in the newspaper. These articles were later compiled into a book, "Rooster Bingo and Other Mostly True Stories."
For a short time Jerry was the manager of soon-to-be country music star Ricky Van Shelton.
Jerry was also a television personality, and regularly appeared on Tennessee Crossroads, telling stories of odd, strange and interesting places, people and events throughout middle Tennessee.
During his lifetime Jerry Thompson became one of the most widely known and best-loved media personalities in Tennessee. He likewise distinguished himself by outstanding service to the profession of journalism, and brought great honor to himself, his community and the State of Tennessee.