Pulitzer Prize winner and OHIO alumnus Clarence Page addresses the audience after being inducted into the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame on Monday, March 24.
Photographer: Yi-Ke Peng
Ohio University students react to the words of wisdom delivered by Clarence Page at the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Page is the 30th person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Photographer: Yi-Ke Peng
Ohio University journalism student Malindi Robinson chats with Ohio Communication Hall of Fame inductee Clarence Page.
Photographer: Yi-Ke Peng
Mar 26, 2014
By Angela Woodward
Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication kicked off its annual Communication Week by welcoming home and paying tribute to one of its stand-out graduates.
Pulitzer Prize winner Clarence E. Page, a 1969 OHIO graduate who earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism, was inducted into the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame during a ceremony Monday evening in the Baker University Center Theatre.
Established by the Scripps College of Communication in 1993, the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame honors communications professionals who have ties to either Ohio or Ohio University for their lifetime achievement in the field of communication.
Page is the 30th person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Page’s career in journalism began when he was 17 years old and working as a freelance reporter and photographer for The Middletown Journal and The Cincinnati Enquirer. He joined the staff at The Chicago Tribune in July 1984, serving as a columnist and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. Page’s column is syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services. In 1989, Page won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He was also part of The Chicago Tribune team that won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for public service for an investigation involving vote fraud.
“The individuals (inducted into the Hall of Fame) have certainly made a national mark in the field of communication and really impact the field in many ways,” Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth said during his opening remarks at the induction ceremony. “They have not just made an impact in the field and in the discipline, but they have made a tremendous impact on their alma mater and their university. That is one of the things I think is so special about who we are inducting tonight.”
Page’s commitment to Ohio University has been demonstrated through his many returns to the Athens Campus over the years. In addition to serving as a trustee on The Ohio University Foundation Board, Page was OHIO’s 1993 and 2001 Commencement speaker and also spoke at the 2012 Schuneman Symposium.
Titsworth noted that Page’s impact on Ohio University likely began before he even stepped foot on the Athens Campus during the Scripps College of Communication’s formative years. As an OHIO student, Page was a reporter for The Post, the University’s independent student newspaper.
“I know from speaking to your contemporaries that your effect on what The Post has become has been significant – that you set a standard for the type of reporting, the type of content,” Titsworth said. “We thank you for that legacy. … We are so proud that you are an Ohio University graduate.”
Joining Titsworth in honoring Page were some of those contemporaries who reflected on Page’s contributions to the field of communication and to Ohio University in a video produced by the Scripps College of Communication, which is available here.
Andrew Alexander, a 1972 journalism alumnus, a fellow Ohio Communication Hall of Fame inductee and a Scripps Howard Visiting Professional at the Scripps College of Communication, was a first-year student at OHIO working at The Post when he first met Page.
“He was such an amazing writer,” Alexander said of Page. “I looked at his stories, and I thought, ‘I’m not sure I can do that.’ His writing had such energy. It was creative. To me, he arrived as a fully formed journalist.”
Fellow Scripps graduate Tom Hodson described Page as “all about the mission of journalism” and touched on Page’s commitment to writing about issues of race and inequality as well as his affinity for Ohio University.
“He was, back then, one of the few African-American reporters that we had at The Post. He was always in the vanguard of promoting equality and diversity and has continued to do that,” said Hodson, director and general manager of WOUB Public Media and Joe Berman Professor of Communication. “It’s a unique alumni member who wants to give of themselves not just financially but give of their time, and Clarence most assuredly does that every time.”
Page reaffirmed his feelings for OHIO when he took the stage to receive his award.
“I just want to say I love Ohio University,” Page said. “This is the only college I applied to.”
Page explained that his interest in journalism began 50 years ago this fall when he became a writer for his high school newspaper in Middletown, Ohio.
“I saw the media as being an opportunity to get beyond Middletown, Ohio, to see some of the world and events as they happen,” he said. “I got that opportunity thanks to Ohio University.”
Page said he was accepting his Hall of Fame award in honor of those who had made his accomplishments possible, including “a generation of journalists of color who had to distinguish themselves.”
In addressing the audience that included Scripps students and faculty both past and present, Page reflected on the future of journalism, saying, “I think journalism has a terrific future,” and declaring that “we are in a new digital media age now.”
Page spoke about how he has adapted to and embraced the new ways in which people are receiving information, citing as an example the video columns he develops in tandem with his written columns.
“I was multimedia before multimedia was cool,” he joked, noting his work experience in print and broadcast journalism, as an author, and his role in a Hollywood film.
“The technology may have changed, but the fundamentals of our business are the same,” Page said. “We are still the connective tissue that holds society together.”
Page also touched on some of the disappointments he sees in the media, warning of the dangers of media fragmentation and the continuation of pack journalism.
“Democracy depends on pluralism and diversity of media,” he said.
He also addressed the aspiring journalists at the event, saying that what gives him hope is talking to young people who really want to do the right thing.
“We’re depending on you,” he said.
Communication Week 2014 continues through Friday. For a complete list of events, visit www.ohio.edu/communicationweek.