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Schurz inducted into MDDC Hall of Fame

March 13, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

James "Jim" M. Schurz accepted his induction into the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Newspaper Hall of Fame on Friday with humor and humility.

"When you voted on me, I'd like to know what the hell you were drinking," the former editor and publisher of The Herald-Mail newspapers said as he accepted his plaque.

The induction ceremony was held in front of more than 200 people at the MDDC Press Association's annual editorial awards luncheon in a ballroom at the Sheraton Columbia Hotel.

The association's Hall of Fame Committee unanimously approved Schurz's nomination based on his "devotion to the role of a good newspaper and his support of a good staff," Committee Chairman Jim Flood Sr. has said.

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"I want to thank the newsroom of The Herald-Mail, past and present, for my being here today," said Schurz, 70, of Williamsport.

"You are extraordinary people and you make an idiot look smart, and for that I thank you," he said.

The Herald-Mail was named Newspaper of the Year for its division on Friday for the third year in a row.

"It's fitting that Jim Schurz be inducted into the Hall of Fame the same day our newspaper has such success in the MDDC contest," said John League, editor and publisher of The Herald-Mail. "Jim represents the good journalism that The Herald-Mail is known for within the region and within the newspaper industry. What a day."

League, who is president-elect of the MDDC Press Association, nominated Schurz for the honor, MDDC President Jeff Mezzatesta said.

Schurz worked at the San Francisco Examiner for 11 years before joining The Herald-Mail in 1968.

He served as assistant managing editor, managing editor and associate editor, working his way up the ladder to editor in 1972 and publisher in 1973.

He fought for open court hearings in West Virginia and stood by the newsroom when advertisers boycotted the newspaper to protest stories they didn't like.

He is a past president of the MDDC Press Association.

Schurz is now senior vice president and director of Schurz Communications Inc. in South Bend, Ind. Schurz Communications, which is owned by the Schurz family, is the parent company of The Herald-Mail, Antietam Cable Television and other media companies.

Schurz is the second Herald-Mail employee in the Hall of Fame. Charles Neill Baylor was inducted posthumously in 1974.

A framed picture of Schurz will be hung in the MDDC Newspaper Hall of Fame in the next few days, said Mezzatesta, who is vice president and publisher of The Cecil Whig in Elkton, Md. The Hall of Fame is in the Journalism Building at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Other Hall of Fame members include former publisher Katharine Graham and former editor Benjamin Bradlee of The Washington Post, and social commentator H.L. Mencken of Baltimore Sunpapers.

To be nominated for the honor, the person must have made outstanding contributions to the newspaper industry and have been employed for a long time at a newspaper that is a member, or is eligible to be a member, of the press association, according to the event program.

Posthumous selections can be made.

"I would prefer this thing had been done posthumously," the embarrassed Schurz said after the Hall of Fame presentation ended.

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