Former Tribune-Star columnist Stephanie Salter will be inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame at the 54th annual ceremony on May 18 in Indianapolis.
“I’m humbled,” she said in a telephone interview Monday.
Seeing the announcement at the top of the Tribune-Star website on Monday “brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “I can’t think of a better place to have finished my career than back in Terre Haute at the Tribune-Star. It was just wonderful people that I worked with and for.”
Established in 1966, the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame honors media professionals with Indiana ties in its annual induction ceremony. It is a partner of the Indiana University Media School, which houses its archives and materials. The Hall strives to preserve the history and stories of journalism in Indiana.
Also to be inducted this spring are Nancy Comiskey, an Indiana University lecturer and Indianapolis Star deputy managing editor; Fort Wayne television broadcaster Richard Florea; reporter, editorial page editor and author Andrea Neal; and Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully.
Salter, a Terre Haute native, started her career fighting for parity for women sports reporters at Purdue and then Sports Illustrated. She was kicked out of a New York Baseball Writers Association “stag dinner,” yet ultimately became a card-carrying member of the national BBWAA while working at the San Francisco Examiner.
After switching to news – and before the Boston Globe’s investigation of sexual abuses by priests – she was part of an award-winning investigative team that exposed financial fraud and sex abuse in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Finishing her career as a Tribune-Star columnist in her native Terre Haute, Salter “was as much an artist as a journalist as she painted with ink on a newspaper palette,” said former Trib-Star Assistant Editor Susan Duncan, now regional editor for CNHI News Indiana in Jeffersonville.
During her tenure at the Tribune-Star, Salter believes among her most important work was a series of columns she wrote based on a 2006 tragedy involving a father’s abduction of his two children; the father, who remains in state prison, pleaded guilty to murder of one child and attempted murder of the other.
Salter’s columns took an in-depth look at what happened, including the flaws that existed at that time in the Amber Alert system.
“It’s that kind of journalism we need so much but it takes a lot of time,” Salter said. “It is a hard thing to free up reporters to do in depth investigations and stories that really are going to benefit the public.”
As far as being inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, Salter said, “It pleases me, especially, to be a Purdue alum receiving this honor because Purdue isn’t exactly the Indiana school people think of when they think, ‘journalism.’”
All the years she lived and worked in San Francisco, she often wrote about Indiana, “and those columns always generated wonderful responses from so many Hoosiers and other Midwesterners who were far from home. I was so lucky to grow up and get my values in Terre Haute.”