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The Virginia Communications Hall of Fame recognizes communication professionals with exceptional careers in journalism, public relations, advertising and other media fields. George Crutchfield, founding director of the School of Mass Communications from 1978-1989, launched the organization in 1986.
Last year’s honorees were inducted into the 26th anniversary of the Hall of Fame on April 11, 2013 at the John Marshall, bringing the total number of inductees to 145.
The 27th Virginia Communications Hall of Fame will be held on April 10, 2014. Inductees will be announced the week of December 9th.
The inductees of the 26th anniversary of the Hall of Fame were:
Dorothy Abernathy- bureau chief for Virginia and West Virginia with the Associated Press, has been involved in the AP’s coverage of many of the biggest stories of the past two decades, including the D.C. sniper shootings, 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shootings. Abernathy is an early member of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, as well as a long-time member of the VCOG board, who recently completed a two-year term as president. She spearheaded the second FOIA audit in the country and the first one organized by an AP bureau. Two years ago, Abernathy’s role became more focused on marketing and business development.
Steve Bassett- senior vice president and group creative director at The Martin Agency, has worked on accounts for North Carolina Tourism, Piedmont Airlines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Nissan, J.C. Penney, Tabasco, Walmart, Yellow Pages, Wrangler, Partnership for a Drug-Free America and GEICO. His work has been recognized in international award shows including The One Show, Communication Arts, D&AD and Cannes. Bassett served as an adjunct professor at the VCU Brandcenter, was named Richmond Ad Person of the Year and was featured on the cover of Creativity magazine. Prior to The Martin Agency, Bassett worked at McKinney & Silver, Chiat-Day and DDB.
Don Belt- of National Geographic has traveled to 70 countries during the past three decades working as a writer and editor of articles for National Geographic magazine. Along the way, he has covered the defining issues of our time such as environmental degradation, vanishing cultures, Islam and the West, the effects of global climate change and the geopolitical trends that are shaping our world. As senior editor of National Geographic from 1998 to 2010, he helped guide the magazine’s coverage of topics ranging from weapons of mass destruction and the use of terrorism to the legacy of colonialism in the modern Middle East.
Doug Harwood- editor, the Rockbridge Advocate, came to Virginia as a student at Washington and Lee University in 1970 and decided to stay. He began working in broadcasting as a student, and continues to produce a program called The Anti Headache Machine, now in its 41st year, for W&L’s radio station. It is arguably the longest-running show of its kind in the world. After graduation, he worked for a Waynesboro radio station, fell into the news director’s job, then started the local news department at WREL in Lexington. He left, tended bar for a few months, then became editor of the Buena Vista News. He stayed there for a dozen years. Then, flat broke, started the Rockbridge Advocate in 1992. He is the editor, publisher, and peddler-in-chief. He has a reputation for meticulous research and for not shying away from a story. And he still begins most interviews by saying, “I got a dumb question.”
Tom Silvestri- president and publisher, Richmond Times-Dispatch and vice president of the Richmond Group of World Media Enterprises, has enjoyed a 35-plus-year career in newspapers, digital media and teaching. That career came full circle with a return to the Richmond Times-Dispatch as president and publisher at a time of unprecedented challenges. Prior to rejoining the Times-Dispatch, Silvestri was president of Media General’s community newspapers, responsible for 20 daily newspapers and more than 25 weeklies in five Southeastern states. In 2012, he was named co-chair of the Capital Region Collaborative, which is building a vision for the Richmond Region, and president-elect of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
The Hall of Fame was made possible through the generous support of our sponsors:
Gold: Richmond Times-Dispatch
Silver: The Martin Agency
Bronze: Associated Press, Slay Communications, VCU Alumni Association
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Updated: October 24, 2013