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Scripps dinner at UNR honors journalists from past, present and future
by Harry Spencer
Apr 11, 2008 | 2168 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Tony Contini - The Reynolds School of Journalism at University of Nevada, Reno, honored outstanding students at its annual Scripps Dinner on April 3.
Tribune/Tony Contini - The Reynolds School of Journalism at University of Nevada, Reno, honored outstanding students at its annual Scripps Dinner on April 3.
This area’s most prestigious annual event for journalists was held for the 44th time at the University of Nevada, Reno, on April 3.

Hosted by the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism, the event is held in honor of the memory of Edward (Ted) Scripps, II, possibly the most prestigious journalism graduate of the university. A scion of the family that created the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain and founded the United Press, Ted was often asked by we fellow students in those days at Nevada, “What are your chances of finding a job after you graduate?”

A quiet, introspective individual, I don’t think Ted realized we were putting him on and he would respond in the most serious manner: “I think I might apply at one of my dad’s papers.”

This year’s event at the university attracted as its featured speaker one of the top icons in the field of journalism: Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press.

Also new to those attending this year was the introduction of the recently appointed Dean of the ‘J’ school, Jerry Ceppos. Following Ceppos’ introductory remarks the perennial emcee of the Scripps dinner, journalism professor Warren Lerude, himself a Pulitzer Prize winner during his days at the Reno Evening Gazette, took over to introduce the speaker.

Prior to Deutsch’s remarks, the 2008 Scripps Howard and Scripps Family Scholarship winners at the University were introduced and they included: Kayla Dubchansky (a Sparks Tribune intern), Michele Hoover, Johanna Huybers, Emily Scott and Adam Varhachaikof.

Deutsch is such a respected newspaperwoman that she holds the title of AP Special Correspondent, one of only 18 reporters in the history of the AP to be so honored. Her forte is covering high-profile trials, such as the O.J. Simpson trial, the Charles Manson trial, the Michael Jackson trial, Sirhan Sirhan’s (Robert Kennedy assassin) trial and the recent high-profile Phil Spector trial.

Her talk was well peppered with memories and anecdotes of those famous outings. In addition to her long hours in the courtroom, she also covered the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as well as the assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford. In her 41-year career with the AP, she has won numerous awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment honor and its Fellow of the Society designation, as well as the AP’s Oliver Gramlin Reporter award.

A comfortable and interesting speaker, Deutsch held the audience extremely well and finished her remarks by saying there will always be a bright future for those entering the field of journalism. She then took questions from the audience and received the traditional Stetson cowboy hat from the ‘J’ school.

Some of the notable speakers that have preceded her at the podium over the years included the likes of John Siegenthaler, Helen Thomas, Charles Kuralt and Richard Reeves.

Celebrity corner

On April 18, the Reno area will be treated to an in-depth look at one of the top athletes of the latter half of the 20th century. His name was Jackie Jensen, who passed away far too young at the age of 55 in 1982.

The profile of the “Golden Boy” of sports, as he was nicknamed, will be delivered by his second wife, Katherine Jensen, who will be the featured speaker at the area’s Good Old Days club at noon at the Reno Elks Lodge.

Jackie, who was an All-American football player at the University of California, Berkley, opted to make Major League Baseball his professional sports career of choice. He once signed with the New York Yankees at the same time as Mickey Mantle. Since both “strongboys” played the same position, it was soon obvious that one would go and one would stay. It was Jackie’s luck that he went on to the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees’ arch rival, and while there he got to team up with the legendary Ted Williams. Jensen went on to win several MVP awards, RBI honors and stolen bases championships.

He retired early from baseball because he had an aversion to flying. Once he did, he made his permanent home at the north end of Lake Tahoe, at Crystal Bay. He and his first wife, Zoe Ann, who was a silver medalist in Olympic diving, raised their three children at the lake. Once he left baseball, Jackie went on to become a top amateur golfer, a TV sportscaster for the ABC network with Keith Jackson, a local TV sports editor at Channel 2 in Reno, a celebrity host for the Sierra Tahoe at Incline Village (now the Hyatt), varsity baseball coach at the University of California and, at one time, varsity baseball coach at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Having known the Jensens during their sojourn at Lake Tahoe, I was privileged to spend a lot of time with Jack at social events in Reno, on several high school radio broadcasts as his “color man,” playing tennis and squash as well as joining him in one of his favorite pursuits: bird-watching.

In his brief life he was awarded many honors and the great announcer, Curt Gowdy, listed him as the best athlete he had ever seen.

Always a credit to his profession, Jensen traveled the country delivering speeches and playing in many golf events.

Following his marriage to his second wife, Katherine, the couple relocated to Virginia where they became successful tree farmers until Jack’s untimely passing.

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.
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