AU will host APA Hall of Honor on Sept. 22

AUBURN – Two journalists – both respected for their many years of service and dedication to managing community newspapers – will be inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor on Sept. 22.

Evelyn Doster, who was the owner and editor of The Prattville Progress, and Shelton Prince, Jr., publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, the Selma Times Journal and the Brownwood (Texas) Bulletin, will be the 100th and 101st journalists inducted posthumously by the Alabama Press Association since the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor was established in 1959.

The ceremony will be at 3 p.m. in the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor Room in the Ralph Brown Draughon Library at Auburn University.

Doster, who was born in 1900 and died in 2001, had a career that spanned 69 years in an evolution of working, owning and working for The Prattville Progress. She retired at the age of 96 and was, at that time, the oldest practicing female journalist.

A graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., she was a schoolteacher from 1922 until she went to work at The Prattville Progress in 1931, when she and her husband, Harry M. Doster, purchased it. She served as the editor and publisher from 1940-45 while Harry served in the Army. Upon his death in 1952, she continued as owner and editor for 14 more years. In 1966, she sold the newspaper but stayed on as its social editor for the next 28 years. She retired at age 96 over the objection of the publisher and editor.

“Mrs. Doster was a courageous woman who was unafraid to voice her opinion on what she believed was best for the community,” said Lamar Smitherman, a former publisher of The Prattville Progress.

Prince, who was born in 1944 and died in 1997, was widely respected by his peers for his knowledge of community journalism and his understanding that newspapers have to take a proactive role in the economic and social growth of the communities they serve. He was a key civic leader in the Alabama towns of Jasper and Selma as well as Brownwood, Texas – all communities where he published daily newspapers.

Beginning his newspaper career delivering newspapers in Cedartown, Ga., he soon became a journeyman web offset pressman and printing company manager. Prince wanted early in his career to be a newspaper publisher, and the late Carmage Walls took an interest in him, working him in various newspaper departments under some of Walls’ better publishers. Most people in the communities in which Prince served knew him as an accomplished editor and editorial writer, but he never lost his interest in the printing process. He was among the few publishers who truly understood press operation and management. “Those who worked with him respected his dedication to quality and accuracy, whether in writing or printing, and for his ability to generate revenue that fueled his efforts,” said Michael Kelley, publisher of The Clanton Advertiser. As his career ended, he was president of the Southwest Management Group of Boone Newspapers.

“Prince was a benchmark of what self-education, backed by an inquiring and good mind, can accomplish when meshed with determination to improve oneself. He published quality newspapers during a career of more than 30 years. He earned the respect of his readers and advertisers alike. He improved the newspapers he ran, and through them, the communities he served,” Kelley added.

Contact: Kevin Loden, (334) 844-9991 (lodenke@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)