Auburn University to host Newspaper Hall of Honor Jan. 26

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Two journalists – both respected for their many years of service and dedication to communities as newspaper publishers – will be inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Barbara Blalock, who was the co-publisher of the Cullman Tribune, and Roswell Falkenberry, editor and publisher of the Selma Times-Journal, will be the 110th and 111th 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.

Blalock began her newspaper career as a creative ad specialist with the Cullman Times in 1980. Three years later, the publishers of the Cullman Tribune hired the University of North Alabama alumna with degrees in accounting and home economics to be the business manager and composition specialist.

When Cold Springs School burned in the 1980s, Blalock started a Tribune subscription campaign and donated funds to buy projectors, slide equipment and overhead projectors.

Barbara and her husband Delton Blalock purchased the Tribune on Jan, 1, 1990. One of the paper’s first community projects involved raising money for Heritage Park, which eventually rivaled any facility in Alabama.

For 10 years, Barbara wrote the column, “Buttons and Bowties.” After she was diagnosed with cancer, her articles became an inspiration to those facing serious illnesses.

During the decade Barbara was co-publisher, she covered meetings, ballgames and other events while taking the lead on financial matters, including payroll and put together at least half the pages for every issue. Somehow she managed to do these things while under cancer treatment.

A book she started,” God’s Green Acres,” (completed by Delton Blalock) has been of great impact and was made available by several doctors treating cancer or terminally ill patients. After her death, the Cullman City Council and Cullman County Commission declared a Barbara Blalock Day.

During a 40-year career in journalism, Falkenberry was thought of as a strong advocate for change giving every citizen the right to vote and access to public accommodations. He began his career in the advertising department of the Selma newspaper in 1936, and continued at the newspaper rising to editor and publisher at the time of his retirement in 1973.

In February 1966, the Alabama Press Association selected Falkenberry, the editor and publisher of The Selma Times-Journal, as the Outstanding Daily Journalist for 1965.

The Associated Press article announcing the award stated that Falkenberry “won acclaim for his role in trying to keep Selma on an even keel during the trying civil rights campaign, which resulted in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”

Falkenberry’s leadership of the Times-Journal during the civil rights demonstrations and events of the mid-1960s attracted accolades from his colleagues and others, but drew criticism from some of the more moderate, established citizens in town – many of whom were subscribers and advertisers of the Times-Journal and had wanted the newspaper to ignore the events many said were started by “outsiders.”

“[Roswell was] a strong advocate of community newspapers, his defining moment came in 1964–1965 during the voting rights movement. As a member of the local biracial committee, he was a strong advocate for change giving every citizen the right to vote and access to public accommodations,” wrote Jamie Wallace, who worked in the Times-Journal’s newsroom during Falkenberry’s leadership. “The paper’s editorial stand reflected that and its devotion to covering events in the face of very vocal opposition from some members of the community proved strong leadership from the very top of management.”

(Written by Kevin Loden.)

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