UCO Alums to Earn Induction to Journalism Hall of Fame
UCO alumni Gene Triplett, left, Ralph Schaefer, middle, and Paul R. Lehmen are three of the nine journalists to be inducted in to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame on April 27, 2017. (Provided/ Terry Clark).
Since 1971, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame has acknowledged Oklahoma journalists who have “dedicated their lives to excellence in serving the citizens of our state and country.” Nine Oklahoma journalists will be inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Central Oklahoma during the 47th annual induction ceremony on April 27th, 2017.
Of these nine journalists, three of them are UCO alums who have made “outstanding contributions to journalism in Oklahoma and America.” These three alumni are Dr. Paul R. Lehman, Ralph Schaefer and Gene Triplett.
Dr. Paul R. Lehman earned his B.A. and M.E. degrees from UCO as well as a Ph.D. from Lehigh. He began his broadcast career with radio news commentary at KCSC in Edmond in 1967. Lehman went on to become the first African American newsperson in Oklahoma City in 1968 at KWTV-9. He wore many different hats here including that of reporter, photographer, writer, producer, weekend anchor and news editor. In 1969 he co-created and hosted an African American community affairs show entitled “Soul Talk.” He’s written multiple books and articles and served UCO as an English professor and dean of the graduate college. He continues his work as an author, consultant and lecturer with his website, www.paulrlehman.com, and his blog, America’s Race Problem. He’s listed in Who’s Who Among Black Americans and in American Education, as he has served on many state boards and councils and lectured throughout Oklahoma and other states.
Ralph Schaefer graduated from UCO in 1969 and began his journalism career at the El Reno Daily Tribune. In 1973, he moved onto Retherford Publications as an associate editor for Southeast News, Tulsa County News and Owasso Reporter. Schafer worked on all Retherford papers including the Skiatook Journal, Coweta American, Collinsville News, Broken Arrow Ledger, Wagoner Tribune, Bixby Bulletin, Jenks Journal, Sand Springs Leader and Mannford Eagle. From 1979-81, he worked for the Oklahoma City Journal Record. In 2013, he was named senior editor of Tulsa Daily Business Journal and the Tulsa Daily Commerce and Legal News. He’s had the opportunity to interview U.S. Supreme Court Justices and did a series on the Oklahoma Supreme Court justices. He was honored with the Liberty Bell Award, the highest recognition for a non-lawyer, by the Tulsa County Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Gene Triplett obtained his journalism degree from UCO in 1975 after his service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. His career in journalism began at The Oklahoma Journal in 1976, where he covered the Karen Silkwood lawsuit. In 1981, he joined the Oklahoman and was the papers longest serving city editor from 1989-1999. He helped to direct the coverage of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, and served as president of the AP News Executives board from 1995-96. He served as entertainment writer, editor and columnist from 1999-2013 and has won multiple awards including being one of the two journalists to ever be inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. He’s one of the founders of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and has interviewed dozens of celebrities, including Robert Redford. His first novel, “Wheel Man,” was published in 2016. He’s also been listed in Who’s Who in America.
Other journalists who will be honored at this induction ceremony include managing editor of the McAlester News-Capital, James Beaty; news director for the University of Tulsa NPR station, John Durkee; news manager and journalist for OETA Tulsa, Lis Exon; religion editor for the Oklahoman, Carla Hinton; and government-politics reporter for the Tulsa World, Randy Krebiel.