Omaha Press Club | Hall of Fame
Omaha Press Club
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Hall of Fame Welcomes Six New Members

The Omaha Press Club Journalists of Excellence Hall of Fame welcomed six new members on Sept. 17.

 Since 2008, the Omaha Press club has been honoring the most notable area journalists from both the past and present.

The newest inductees include:

John Chapman – WOWT

Jim Denney (posthumous) – Omaha World-Herald

Paul Hammel – Nebraska Examiner, Omaha World-Herald  

Bill Kelly –  Nebraska Public Media

Anne Walsh – Union Pacific Railroad, Internal Communications

Dave Wingert – Boomer Radio

John Chapman

John graduated from Morningside College with a degree in mass communications.  Chapman attended on a football scholarship, participated on the track team, and played a year of basketball.

John started his career in television at KMEG television in Sioux City, Iowa.  There he anchored news breaks and did some reporting.  Chapman then moved up to signal hill and worked at KTIV television in Sioux City.  Working at KTIV, Chapman like young reporters worked mostly as a one-man band and filled in anchor work at the news and sports desk.  Believe it or not, he even delivered the weather and served as the weekend assignment editor.

John was hired by legendary WOWT news director Steve Murphy in 1986.  Chapman has covered everything from parades to politics.   John spent the early part of his career at WOWT splitting his time between news reporting and anchoring the weekend sports desk.  John has won numerous awards for telling news and sport stories.

John is married to his high school sweetheart, Nancy for 41 years, and counting.  They have three children and five grandchildren.

John hopes his career will last as long as Mike McKnight’s.

Jim Denney

Jim Denney was a fixture around the Omaha Press Club and was a past president.  He was a performer and, for several years, producer for its annual gridiron satirical show, the Omaha Press Club Show.  The show proceeds provided scholarships to area journalism students. He was also a founding director of the Omaha Press Club Foundation.

Denney combined reporting and photography bringing stories about people from his native Nebraska and its neighboring state, Iowa, to readers of the Omaha World-Herald, especially its Sunday Magazine of the Midlands.

Denney was born in Fairbury Nebraska, and was known for his larger-than-life personality and his booming voice made him well-known throughout the region.  His writing and photography made him a beloved figure.

“It’s a labor of love,” Denney said in 1977, when an exhibit of his photos of the state opened at the National Visitors Center in Washington, D.C., to mark Nebraska’s 110th birthday.  His journalistic work awakened his interest in history, leading him to serve on the board of the Nebraska Historical Society and other history-focused groups.

Jim co-authored one of the first books about Nebraska football, “Go Big Red,” telling the story of legendary coach Bob Devaney.  He retired from the World-Herald in 1990 after 37 years with the newspaper.  Denney died in 2011 at age 86.  In his memory, his family sponsored a series of college scholarships for journalism students.

Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel, senior reporter at the Nebraska Examiner, began his career as a writer for his student newspaper in Ralston and as a sports reporter for the city newspaper, the Ralston Recorder.  His first scoop was revealing that Rolling Stone magazine had been removed from his school library by Ralston High School administrators because it ran ads for bongs.

Hammel started his career reporting for the late great Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha.  He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska.  In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter and worked for more than 30 years for the voice of the Midlands.

During Hammel’s career, he’s written stories about every corner of the State of Nebraska for decades.  He covered the State Capitol and some of the state’s most sensational murders, and uncovered misconduct by some of the state’s highest officials.

Hammel has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Association and Suburban Newspapers of America.  A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice-president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers, and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.

Bill Kelly

Back in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Bill Kelly knew he wanted to be a television journalist in the 4th grade.  He didn’t specify a preference for a reporting gig in Nebraska.

Now he’s a Senior Producer with Nebraska Public Media News (formerly NET) and believes he made the right choice.

After reporting stints in Indiana and Kansas, he had the good fortune of landing at WOWT in the era of news legend Steve Murphy. Between writing on city hall and elections, Murphy let Kelly produce his first documentary reviewing the legacy of the state’s most famous killers, Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate.  Since joining Nebraska Public Media in 1990, Kelly has produced more than 20 documentaries on everything from a crooked crime scene investigator to the 2019 Nebraska floods. Bill addressed the Press Club noon forum with his documentary, “And the Floods Came.”  It was a gut-wrenching — yet hopeful — documentary about the 2019 floods and all the lives, businesses, livestock, crops, and more that laid in its wake. He’s especially proud of the weekly news program, Statewide, and projects that invited civic engagement and the lively, respectful discussion of public policy issues.  Recently, regular reporting on the state’s NPR stations supplemented Kelly’s long-form TV work.  He like covering the courts and serves on Nebraska’s Bench/Media Committee, working to maintain and expand broadcast coverage of the state’s Judicial Branch.  He also wrote some pretty funny stuff for the Omaha Press Club show back in the day.

Anne Walsh

During her 31-year career at Union Pacific, Walsh led internal communications efforts connecting 30,000 employees in 23 states, building engagement by helping them understand their role in serving 10,000 customers. Reaching the diverse, unionized workforce required managing numerous electronic, video, and print communications, as well as extensive executive outreach events. These efforts were closely aligned with the company’s social media, brand management and media relations strategies.  Walsh retired in 2016.

Walsh has served as board president of the Omaha Press Club, A Time to Heal Cancer Foundation and the Association of Railway Communicators, as well as a board member of HELP Medical Equipment.  She was an advisory board member for the University of Nebraska Omaha’s (her alma mater) student newspaper, The Gateway.  Walsh is a contributor to Legacy Preservation, a leading publisher of family and business histories.  She currently serves on the communications committee for the Press Club, writing articles and covering club events.

Dave Wingert

Dave Wingert, known to his radio listeners as “Wingy,” remembers how he discovered his passion for radio. Born in New York City, for the first five years, he lived in the attic of his grandmother’s house in Bensonhurst. He moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania, where he grew into a teenager who went to college at Ohio University.  After peering in the window of the radio studio at WOUB, Wingert began volunteering at the station.  Eventually he auditioned to be the morning radio host and got the job. After he graduated in 1970, he was paid to “play” on-air for a dozen or so radio stations in Seattle, Kansas City, Des Moines and most stations in the Omaha area.  In Seattle, Wingert worked there for 20 years and hosted the midday shift for KLSY and then the Jones Radio Network invited him to create a nationally syndicated radio show called Dave til Dawn.  His show ran for six years and was heard on almost 100 stations across the country.  After the show ended, he realized it was time to go back to Nebraska.  Wingert was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association as a “Legendary Radio Personality.”

Wingy swears he’s never had as much soul-satisfying fun than he’s had hosting mornings on Boomer Radio the past six years.

Wingert celebrates his other passion, theater, on-stage in various cities. He most recently performed the role of Max in “Sound of Music” (along with a 19-piece orchestra) at the Rose Theater.

2022 Honorees

John Chapman – WOWT
Jim Denney (posthumous) – Omaha World-Herald
Paul Hammel – Nebraska Examiner, Omaha World-Herald
Bill Kelly –  Nebraska Public Media
Anne Walsh – Union Pacific Railroad Internal Communications
Dave Wingert – Boomer Radio

2021 Honorees

Malcolm Adams – KETV, The Omaha Star, CBS & CNN Tokyo Bureau, Totown Communications
Chris Christen – Omaha World-Herald, UNMC
Henry Cordes – Omaha World-Herald
Trina Creighton – KMTV, UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communication
Susan Eustice (posthumous) – Salvation Army Public Relations
Doug Parrott – KETV

2019 Honorees

Joan (Joni) Baillon, KMTV
Ben Gray, KETV
Walt Kavanagh (posthumous), KOWH, KFAB
Mike McKnight, WOWT
Carrie Murphy, KMTV, City of Omaha
Kent Warneke, Omaha World-Herald

2018 Honorees

Harold Dow, KETV, CBS
Jim Fogarty, Legacy Preservation Books, KETV, Omaha World-Herald
Cate Folsom, Omaha World-Herald
Ron Hull, NET, UNL-Lincoln
Jeff Jordan, KMTV, Union Pacific, Omaha World-Herald
Bob Runnels, KMTV

2017 Honorees

Judy Horan, WOWT, Freelance Writer
C. David Kotok, Omaha World-Herald
Patricia J. Matson, ABC, Inc.; Ford and Nixon White Houses
Sibyl Myers, Omaha World-Herald
Bud Pagel, University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Journalism
Dave Webber, KFAB, KMTV, WOWT

2016 Honorees

Jim Flowers, KETV, WOWT, KMTV
Frank Partsch, Omaha World-Herald
John Prescott, KMTV, KHAS-TV, WOWT, Union Pacific, STRATCOM
Jim Roberts, KMTV (1928-1967)
Marguerita Washington, Ph.D., The Omaha Star (1936-2016)
Dr. Eileen Wirth, Creighton University, Omaha World-Herald
Watch the 2016 ceremony on YouTube

2015 Honorees

Rev. Don Doll, S.J., Creighton University
Bob Hoig, Midlands Business Journal
Steve Jordon, Omaha World-Herald
John (Jack) McBride, NETV
Arnold Peterson, WOW Radio and TV
Chuck Roberts, KMTV, CNN Headline News
Gary Sadlemyer, KFAB

2014 Honorees

Robert Dorr, Omaha World-Herald
Carl Keith, Omaha World-Herald
Joe McCartney, WOW Radio-TV, University of Nebraska Omaha, Union Pacific
Rob McCartney, KETV
Mary McGrath, Omaha World-Herald

2013 Honorees

David A. Haberman, Creighton University
Michael Kelly, Omaha World-Herald
Joe Patrick, KFAB, WOW, KMTV, KETV
Ann Pedersen, WOWT, WCCO-TV
Carol Schrader, KETV, KFAB, NET

2012 Honorees

Rudy Smith, Omaha World-Herald
Rose Ann Shannon, KETV/KMTV
Phil Johnson, Omaha World-Herald
Barc Wade, AAA Home & Away Magazine
Hugh P. Cowdin, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Omaha
Robert McMorris, Omaha World-Herald

2011 Honorees

Ninette Beaver, KMTV
John Gottschalk, Omaha World-Herald
Gary Kerr, WOWT
Rev. Leland E. “Lee” Lubbers, S.J., SCOLA, Creighton University
Lee Terry Sr., KETV, WOW-TV

2010 Honorees

Dave Hamer, KETV, KMTV, WOWT
John Hlavacek, United Press, NBC, KMTV
Deanna Sands, Omaha World-Herald
Dottie Hayes Sater, WOW-TV and WOW Radio

2009 Honorees

Harold W. Andersen, Omaha World-Herald
John Clark (1948-2007), KMTV
Mark O. Gautier Jr. (1930-1998), KMTV
James M. McGaffin Jr. (1921-1985), WOW-TV and Radio
Jack Payne, WOW-TV/Radio, KFAB
Howard Silber, Omaha World-Herald

2008 Honorees

Omaha Sun Newspapers: Warren Buffett, Stanford Lipsey, Paul N. Williams
Mildred Brown, The Omaha Star
Lyell Bremser, “Voice of the Huskers” KFAB and KOIL
Earle “Buddy” Bunker, Omaha World-Herald
Ray Clark, WOW-TV
Henry Doorly, Omaha World-Herald
Sen. Gilbert M. Hitchcock, Omaha Daily World, Omaha World-Herald
Floyd Kalber, KMTV, NBC-TV Today Show
Ed May Sr. KMTV, May Broadcasting Co.
Steve Murphy, WOW-TV
Harvey Newbranch, Omaha World-Herald
John Savage, Omaha World-Herald
Rev. Roswell Williams, S.J., Creighton University